Q Last week a worship team from our local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter led our service. The worship was very moving, filled with testimonies of the Spirit's transforming and healing work, as well as great singing and preaching. But later I wondered, Why don't I have similar testimonies concerning the Spirit's power in my life?
A Your question is not surprising. In the two years that I’ve served as team leader of Faith Formation Ministries, one of the most common requests I’ve received from every corner of our denomination goes something like this: Our congregation really struggles with sharing its faith stories. Could you help us take steps to strengthen this practice? I see four reasons for this question arising:
1. The most common form of testimony is the “gutter-to-glory” narrative, the kind often shared so beautifully at AA. But many of our lives do not fit this pattern, leaving us wondering if we have a testimony at all.
2. Our Reformed theology cautions us against self-glorification.
3. Our Reformed DNA is more comfortable sharing opinions than faith stories.
4. We are recognizing that passing on the faith to both the next generations and our neighbors requires learning how to share our faith stories.
I once ministered in a community where every week’s worship included a three-minute faith story that went like this: a member read a psalm (or excerpt) and then described how this Scripture played a significant role in her walk with the Lord. The cumulative effect of this was a celebration of God’s faithfulness, an awareness that we all do have faith stories, and a greater capacity to see each other as pilgrims on the way. And it was a simple step to take!
For more ideas for strengthening your church’s faith sharing practices, check out Faith Formation Ministries’ new Faith Storytelling toolkit (available September) at crcna.org/faithformation/toolkits.