Louisville—In a warm, friendly voice, a lady identified as Betty S. shares a gripping story about how she came to faith in Jesus Christ as a 12-year-old girl growing up on a farm in rural Kentucky in the 1940s.
The death of her 21-year-old brother, Butch, a soldier killed in action in France during WWII, caused her to think about where she would spend eternity when she dies.
“As I reflected on his life as a Christian, I realized he was in heaven with Jesus, but if I died I was not prepared to see him again,” she explained in an audio recording on the www.tellyourstory.today website, a joint initiative of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. “For the first time, I realized I was lost and a sinner.”
That prompted the young girl to pray to accept Jesus as her Savior.
“I can’t tell you how wonderful my life has been as a Christian,” she said. “Yes, I have experienced trials, discouragement, temptations and grief like everyone else does, but I had the constant presence of God’s Spirit who strengthens me when I faced all these things. God gave me hope and joy, and I look forward to seeing my brother Butch in heaven.”
More than 600 people have recorded similar stories about their salvation experiences through a cutting-edge evangelistic outreach that church leaders hope will spark revival in their Bible belt state and beyond. Some of the stories are heart-rending. Others humorous. All document personal encounters with Jesus.
“What we’re trying to do is make it the quintessential evangelistic tool in the state of Kentucky,” said Chuck McAlister, head of the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s evangelism team.
McAlister briefed the KBC’s Evangelism Committee on the Tell Your Story initiative in a meeting this month.
In the past year, he said, people from 25 states and five foreign countries have recorded their stories on the website. Nearly 20,000 people from all 50 states and 79 foreign countries have listened to those stories. And 264 have indicated they made salvation decisions after listening.
It would be impossible for anyone who listens to the stories not to have their interest in Christianity aroused by ordinary people talking about their encounters with Jesus.
A man identified as Emery R., like so many others who have recorded their stories on the website, said his outlook on life was forever changed the instant he became a Jesus follower.
“At that moment, I felt peace like I’d never known in my life,” he said.
The Kentucky Baptist Convention began the Tell Your Story initiative as a way to allow the unchurched to hear how regular people met Jesus and about how He changed their lives for the better.
McAlister said everyone is invited to record salvation stories by calling 888-564-7773. The recordings go automatically to the www.tellyourstory.today website.
Within 24 hours of the call, participants are texted a unique web address they can share with others on Facebook, Twitter and other social media or print on business cards.
“This is a simple way for ordinary folks in the pews to share their stories with lots of people,” said Andy McDonald, a KBC evangelism strategist. (KBC)