Do You Have a Story?

At Every Believer a Witness, we love to train people how to share their story of how God saved them and transformed their lives by His amazing grace! When people write their story and work hard to craft it in such a way that it can be shared conversationally, there are some awesome things that take place!

Writing your story can provide you with the reassurance that you are saved, or it reveals the reality that you are not. Everywhere we go there are believers who are dealing with doubts about their salvation.

Many of us have doubted our salvation at one time or another. It could be because we are not walking closely with the Lord and not in tune with the Spirit of truth. It could be because we are under attack from the enemy to distract us from serving and sharing. Or…it could certainly sometimes be because the Holy Spirit is revealing that we may have gone through some ceremonially motions, but we’ve never been born again.

This is Jackson and Kara’s story. Jackson Stallsworth and Kara Vaughn attended our training revival at Quinton Baptist Church in Bronston, KY on March 24-27. Jackson is Pastor Jack Stallsworth’s grandson, and Kara has attended QBC faithfully and taught the women’s Sunday school class for years. On Sunday night while writing her story, God began to speak to Kara. She realized that she didn’t have a true salvation story because she didn’t have a relationship with Jesus. It really hit her when Jackson came forward to receive Christ that night. Jackson had made a profession of faith at a younger age, but he realized that night that he didn’t genuinely know Jesus. After talking more with Pastor Jack the next day, on Monday night, Kara put her faith in Jesus!! She humbly, yet boldly, stood before her church family that night as they celebrated her decision and praised God for her salvation! We thank God for Jackson and Kara’s salvation! God is so faithful to always guide us into the truth with His Spirit.

Are you struggling with doubts about your salvation? Maybe you truly know Jesus, but the joy has faded. Or maybe the truth is that you know about Jesus, but you don’t know Him because you have never crossed over from death to life. First, take some time to seek God in prayer and listen for His Spirit to speak to you through His Word. Next, write down your story (your life before you knew Jesus, how you came to accept Jesus as your Savior, and your life since Jesus came in). Finally, share your story with someone today!! We love you, and we are praying for you and with you!

Jon Burdette

Who Is Waiting To Hear From You?

Last month, I attended a Super Bowl fellowship with my son, Evan at First Baptist Church in Mount Vernon. My friend, Jesse Wright (who grew up in my student ministry years ago), serves as the student pastor there. Let me just say that I’m very grateful for FBC Mount Vernon for graciously allowing me to have my ministry office there (thank you so much)!

While eating some Super Bowl caliber party food, I was watching the game in the youth room and overheard an interesting conversation. One of the students was talking about a classmate who randomly messaged him about wanting to come watch the Super Bowl at the church. The student showed up a few minutes later and sat down right next to me. Immediately, I sensed the Spirit of God saying to me, “Talk to him about Jesus.”

To be totally honest, my flesh really started fighting it. I was tired and my mind was on the big game, not the Great Commission. Sad to say, I almost talked myself out of it. Almost. I casually started up a conversation with the high school student and led into spiritual things over time. Eventually, he made it clear that he had never made a decision to trust Christ for salvation. I strategically carried on the conversation with him throughout the entire game while praying for God to move on his heart and guide me. After the game, I asked if he could step into my office for just a moment (to get away from the crowd). There I got to share with him how Jesus loves him and paid the price for his sin by dying on the cross and rising again. I told him that he could receive the free and full gift of salvation by putting his trust in Christ alone.

When I asked him if that was something he wanted to do right now he answered with excitement and assurance, “yes sir!”

And right there, on Super Bowl Sunday, he received the greatest victory of all time as he called on the name of Jesus for salvation!

My team didn’t win that night, but a 10th grader from Rockcastle County did. To think that I almost talked myself out of sharing because I didn’t feel like it breaks my heart. That young man came there that night looking for something, not even really knowing yet what it was. God was drawing him, and he was just waiting for someone to tell him about Jesus. Lord forgive me for the times when I have talked myself out of it! May I never pass up the opportunity to share the Good News with anyone. Yes, people are out there hopeless and hurting, looking for the answer that we know to be Jesus. They are waiting for us to tell them. Who might be waiting to hear about Jesus from you? 

Jon Burdette

So, I’m an evangelist now…what does that mean?

What do you think of when you hear the word “evangelist”? Most of us probably think of someone who is really gifted in sharing their faith. When I was growing up, I also thought it was what you called the minister who preached revival for the week. It could be a pastor from the church down the street, but if he was preaching revival that week, he was the “evangelist”. I carried this idea of the evangelist into years of ministry. It wasn’t necessarily wrong (evangelists should obviously share their faith and they do preach revivals), but there was so much more about this role that I was missing. It was always laid out clearly in Scripture but looking at it through my own lens of assumption and surroundings, I had missed the part then that I have grown to love so much now.

Even though I had a limited understanding of the office of the evangelist, I’ve always had a passion for personal evangelism. I made evangelism a priority in my ministry through preaching, training, and event planning. In 2013, I was introduced to a ministry called Dare 2 Share, which took my passion and youth ministry programming to a whole new level. Dare 2 Share focuses on training students to share their faith and coaching and equipping youth leaders to keep evangelism central to their ministry. I was ALL in! I was so excited to have such an amazing resource and community that was so devoted to advancing the gospel through youth ministry. Ephesians 4 really began to come to life in me! It was through Dare 2 Share that God began to sharpen my understanding of an evangelist and prepare my heart for the call.

Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Evangelists, like pastors and teachers, etc. are called to equip the saints for the work of ministry! And what specific service might the evangelist specialize in when it comes to equipping God’s people? You guessed it…evangelism!!

In addition to my love for sharing my faith personally, I had realized a whole new world of joy in training others to do so as well. I then began to see that motivating and mobilizing people to share their faith was a common thread of constant fulfillment that I had experienced all through 13 years as a youth pastor, and 4 years as a lead pastor. I love people and I loved shepherding them, but the work of evangelism is my passion!

In November 2017 I met the founder of Every Believer a Witness, Dennis Nunn. He and I had an immediate connection in the work of evangelism. He is all about training people to share their faith and helping pastors and staff create and maintain a culture of evangelism in their church. I knew God was up to something big, even though I was also scared of it at the time! Now as the Next Gen Leader for Every Believer a Witness, I get to lead churchwide evangelism training conferences and revivals. I get to be friends with more pastors and partner with them all in the gospel.  Ephesians 4 says “Christ gave…evangelists, pastors…” Evangelists are gifts from God to the church, just like a pastor is a gift to the congregation (and vice versa). I believe evangelists are also gifts to pastors, and pastors are gifts to evangelists. We need each other for the work of the ministry, and for strong fellowship and friendship as leaders.

Dare 2 Share has had a major impact on my life and ministry. Founder and CEO Greg Stier has invested a great deal of time and energy in mentoring me over the years. God has really used him to prepare me for this calling, and I am grateful to call him my friend. I am also thankful to continue partnering with Dare 2 Share to see every teen everywhere hear the gospel from a friend. I am training and speaking at various events for them around the country, including the most impactful youth ministry event I have ever attended, Lead The Cause. It is such a joy for me to equip students to share Jesus with their friends, and also to train and coach youth leaders how to build a Gospel Advancing Ministry.

So, according to God’s Word and the calling He has placed on my life, I am an evangelist. That’s who I am, and that’s what I do now. I love telling people about Jesus. I also love teaching people who know Jesus, how to tell people who don’t know Jesus, how they can know Jesus! No wonder it’s so fulfilling, I get to constantly see lives transformed by the power of the Gospel! I am grateful for so many people (you know who you are) who constantly pray for me and my family and support us various ways in this ministry. Thank you!! We are in this together, and it all comes down to obedience to Jesus’s command to make disciples. How awesome is that? We all get to be a part of the greatest Cause on the planet!!

Jon Burdette

You never know how God will use your testimony: The Amazing Story of Jeff Pierce

I was very blessed to co-lead Every Believer a Witness with Pastor Mike Hamlet at First Baptist North Spartanburg, SC, for 7 Sunday mornings from June 2 through July 16. I am so thankful to Mike for having such a heart to equip his people to actively share the Good News of Jesus. Above that, the outstanding camera and technical people at First North captured all teaching on video that will enable us to train many more pastors, and train them much more effectively.

During the 7 weeks, numerous people shared the Gospel for the first time ever, and several, for the first time, led someone to trust Christ as their Savior.

However, the most powerful report from these 7 weeks involved a tragedy and a glorious praise. On Tuesday, July 11th, one of the godly deacons at FBNS, Jeff Pierce, was struck and killed while riding his bicycle. He greatly loved and served his Lord and others. Jeff served in youth ministry, Sunday school, and FCA. He was always caring and loving, willing to jump in and help people in any way he could, no matter what the need.

Jeff’s death obviously struck his wife, Renee, and his sons Alex and Chandler very hard. In addition it was a tremendous shock to many people at FBNS and the community who knew and loved and admired Jeff.

When Pastor Mike Hamlet went to the Pierce home to discuss the memorial service with Renee and the family, he was given Jeff’s Bible to look through. In Jeff’s Bible, Mike found many notes written, many sermon outlines, as well as the six weekly session notes Jeff had filled out in Every Believer a Witness. Included in these was Jeff’s handwritten testimony. Mike decided that he would let Jeff “preach his own funeral.”

The service to celebrate Jeff’s life was on Friday, July 14th. During the service Mike shared many of the notes in Jeff’s Bible that showed the growth that Jeff had experienced as a believer. In addition, Mike read Jeff’s own hand written testimony (with the Gospel in it) from his Every Believer a Witness notes, including when he had trusted Christ Jesus as his Savior while in college. Mike asked people to speak to him or the family after the service if they wanted to trust Jeff’s Savior as their Savior. Several did.

The most powerful one was when Jeff’s son, Alex, talked with Jeff’s brother, Steve, and Steve trusted Jesus as his Savior. This was a wonderful answer to prayer as Jeff had prayed fervently for his brother’s salvation, and had indicated during the 7 weeks that he wanted to share with Steve. Jeff did not get to share it while he was alive, but he did get to share it after he died.

I asked Renee if she was okay with me publicly sharing this. She was very willing as she and Alex and Chandler want to see God continue to use Jeff’s life story.

I pray this will be an exhortation to each of us to so live for Jesus that we can “preach our own funerals.” And please, please, remember that the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, and the most natural and biblical way to deliver the gospel is using your personal testimony.