Over two decades ago I was sitting in a chapel service at a Christian university. A young man, barely twenty, walked tentatively to a microphone and stared out at the gathered crowd of 5,000 students and faculty. He cleared his throat and began to speak.
"There a lot of things I could say to you today. I could tell you about the times I did drugs and nearly died. I could tell you about things that should have landed me in jail. I could tell you about running away and living on the streets at fourteen."
He paused dramatically and continued.
"I could tell you all those things, but they wouldn't be true." Then he and the audience burst out into laughter. He continued saying, "I grew up in a Christian home and never experienced any of those things. God blessed me to avoid many of the pitfalls that my friends experienced."
Faith Sharing: Spectacular AND Common
Faith sharing -- in some church contexts it seems that only the spectacular testimonies are aired for public consumption. The young college student's testimony demonstrates the equal power resident in a presumably nondramatic Christian experience. Both the spectacular and the common Christian testimony carry the potential for inspiration and affirmation of faith.
Still, many people cringe when asked to share their faith stories. There is a remedy for this. I found a helpful teaching process in Your Church Can Thriveby Harold Percy. As Percy notes, there are generally two groups of Christians: (1) those who can name the day, hour, and moment they accepted Christ and (2) those who can't remember a time when they weren't Christians. Thankfully, there is a simple three-step process that helps people learn how to share their faith stories.
Easy as 1-2-3
Share your faith stories in three chapters.
Group 1 (Those who can name the day, hour, and moment of salvation):
Chapter 1: Your life before Christ
Chapter 2: How did you come to faith in Christ?
Chapter 3: Your life since accepting Christ
Group 2: (Those who can't remember a time when they weren't Christians.)
Chapter 1: Your life in a Christian environment
Chapter 2: When did you claim the Christian faith for yourself?
Chapter 3: Your life since claiming the Christian faith.
Introduce this process to people in your church and discover how easy it is to share your faith stories. It's as easy as 1-2-3.