The Miracle Of Two Delayed Dreams Finally Fulfilled In Nashville

The Bible says that the early Christians overcame the devil “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony . . .” I was an unbeliever when as a freshman in college I walked into a Christian testimony meeting on campus. As ordinary people shared about their experiences with Jesus, I encountered the living, resurrected Jesus, and I’ve never been the same.

I was a part of that meeting while in college and when I graduated I looked for a testimony based church. Although I never could find one, I kept dreaming that one day I would. Then, early in 2008, The Salvation Army asked my wife and me if we would like to start a “nontraditional church” in an empty chapel building in East Nashville. That was a dream come true and we started The Salvation Army Berry Street based on open sharing and testimonies. It has been such an amazing experience to see God work powerfully in and through ordinary people!

About 2 years later I learned that Berry Street was named after a famous Methodist evangelist and magazine editor named John Berry McFerrin. I googled him and discovered that he lived across the street from our building until his death in 1887. I found this quote where McFerrin describes his experience as a young man in testimony type meetings that the early Methodists called “class meetings“:

“The meetings were greatly blessed.  We read the Scriptures, we sang, we prayed, we spoke often one to another, and the Lord listened and heard.  Here I heard much of Christian experience, and learned to understand the wants of others.  Here I learned to give words of exhortation and comfort, and here I learned to appreciate the trials and temptations connected with the life of a Christian.  Fifty years have passed and the precious seasons that I enjoyed then are still fresh in my memory.   I regard class meetings as among the greatest providential means of grace ever instituted in the church.  They did much to keep me in the path, and gave me many encouragements through hearing the experience of older and wiser Christians than myself.  Class meeting is about the best theological school ever organized.  It was a sad day when it declined in the church; and I hope and pray the time may come when it will be revived in the church.”

McFerrin's book 2

I believe that God is answering John Berry McFerrin’s prayer and restoring testimony type meetings to the church.  God is up to something! Come and see for yourself every Sunday morning @ 10:45 @ 225 Berry St., Nashville 37207.

John Berry McFerrin young man

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About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @ http://amzn.to/2nCr5dP
This entry was posted in Berry Street, church, class meetings, History of Methodism in Tennessee, John Berry McFerrin, McFerrin Park, Methodist class meetings, organic church, Salvation Army, simple church and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Miracle Of Two Delayed Dreams Finally Fulfilled In Nashville

  1. Steve, Sherry and I met at a similar meeting as you described in your blog. The meeting was called “The Lighthouse”. The year was 1981. The venue was Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, IL. The format of the meeting was contemporary praise, a devotional, testimonies and praying for one another. This was the format I followed in China for the universities students that gathered with me on a weekly basis for 8 years. The Holy Spirit edified us and led us to give all the glory to our Savior Jesus Christ.

    Thanks for sharing your testimony. It was edifying and inspiring.

    • Steve Simms says:

      Thank you, Mark, for the encouragement! Open meetings are so powerful and life transforming. I believe we are going to see those type meetings expanding all over the USA and Western culture.

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