Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Making Disciples (part 10)

How do we teach God the Father’s, Son’s, and Spirit’s involvement in the discipleship process? Unbelievers and new Christians need to know about God’s involvement in our world and lives. This is a very real and tangible thing. Of course they can be taught about this in a Sunday school classroom, but the best teaching will come from real life examples. Those in the church who are mature believers need to be active in sharing God’s work in their lives. The most effective way others can hear about this is through testimonies. Here are several ideas for how testimonies can be done in our churches today.

§ They can be video taped. Ask for volunteers to be recorded giving their testimonies. You could play these as part of the morning worship service or as a prelude to the service. There might be someone in your church who is handy with video editing software that might love to work on something like this. This could be a great opportunity to get the shy and quiet personalities who would rather help out behind the scenes involved in the church. You never know unless you ask.

§ They can be written out and put on a church website or in a monthly newsletter. Our church has a website and every couple of months we have someone submit their testimony to be highlighted on the home page. Many churches distribute monthly newsletters that could include a member’s testimony. A good idea might be to put a picture of the person giving the testimony so people who aren’t good with names could put a face with the story. As a pastor you might want to edit and look over the testimonies first. If you are not good with editing ask someone else to do it. You could also take written testimonies and pass them out Sunday morning, mass mail them to the community, or ask the local newspaper to feature one (you never know!).

§ They could be given live during worship service. Not everyone will be comfortable with this idea, but you may be able to make things easier by giving them time to practice and helping them deliver it. Sometimes if you give a short time limit (e.g., 2-3 minutes) for the testimonies, people will more likely step up to the challenge. The main objective is to ask people to share and give them the opportunity to do it. You could also use poster board and have them tell their testimony with written words while a song plays in the background. This is a great way to get people who fear public speaking to share their testimony with others. A person could use very simple phrases on the poster board to tell their story (e.g., I was an alcoholic/1st poster board, then I met Jesus/2nd poster board, He saved me from myself/3rd poster board).

§ They can be given during small group times. Sunday school classes or small groups can be a great place for believers to share their testimony. Just be sure to plan ahead and invite unbelievers and new Christians.

§ They can be given through the sacrament of Baptism. Baptisms are a wonderful opportunity for people to hear testimonies. Any of the above means will work. Baptisms bring family members out of the woodwork and into church. If you make this a big deal and ask the person getting baptized to send out invitations you could easily wind up with twenty five or more people in the service. Pastors should strive to take advantage of this special opportunity. A special salvation message could be given at the end of the service to allow and call for new commitments.

Testimonies are the best way to teach others about God’s involvement in our world. A testimony is not limited to the story of how a person came to Christ. God is always at work in our world and we should announce this weekly to encourage one another and testify to the involvement of God in our lives.

Any thoughts?


Jon Howery said...

Good advice. Some people get very nervous about "on the spot" testimonies so this is a good way for them to tell what God is doing in their lives.

Tim Sheets said...

Hey man! Hope Fl is treating you well.

I just had someone that was very pumped up and excited to give their testimony live get really nervous and scared when it came to actually doing it. Public speaking can make a person anxious!

Good hearing from ya!

T <><