I’ve just attended our yearly church camp where I had the privilege of teaching about Jesus stories (video above). Every Sunday we share Jesus stories in my church – testimonies about what Jesus is doing in our lives. We also try to share them on our website (although it needs to be updated). And of course I love to share them on this blog as well, on the streets – everywhere really.
Even if I know of many other churches that are doing likewise, it is not the case in most of them. These neither share testimonies in their services nor on their websites. Why?
First of all, perhaps not so much is happening! Secondly, the church has not viewed it as something important, having a tradition where testimonies are absent for a long time. And finally, I’ve actually heard people arguing biblically for not sharing testimonies – they point to the fact that Jesus sometimes told people that He had healed not to tell anyone about them.
The problem with that argument is that all those events have been recorded in the most-read book in the whole world, so they did indeed tell someone! The command not to tell was a temporal one. Likewise, Jesus many times forbade people to tell others that He was the Messiah, but today we shout it from the roof tops and use Christ as His surname. Our default position should always be to proclaim His Messiah-ship and His miracles. Psalms 145:4-6 says:
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness.
Thus, we should declare the mighty acts of our Lord. Here’s three reasons why it’s important:
1. It brings encouragement and clarification. In Acts 15:12, the apostles makes a pause in their negotiations about circumcision to listen to Paul’s and Barnabas’ Jesus stories. Not only because it’s so fun to listen to, but because it has a theological significance – God is doing miracles among the uncircumcised as well. Testimonies can and should never replace Scripture, but they can bring clarification and illustration.
2. It’s a tool for evangelism. John 4:39 tells us that many believed as the Samaritan woman testified about Jesus’ prophetic gift. When people here testimonies about what Jesus is doing today, it is easier for them to believe in Him. When I was in South Africa a month ago, I lead a girl back to faith in Jesus through combining Bible study with testimonies.
3. It challenges us to seek more of God’s power. When I know that we share Jesus stories in church, I take more risks in ordinary life to pray for people and share the Gospel. It inspires me to seek the gifts of the Spirit even more. I believe all Christians have a great story to tell, but we can always seek more glory and experience to have even more to share about the awesome deeds of the Lord.
To conclude, let me give you a Jesus story! I was chatting the other day with a Hindu girl from India on Facebook. She asked me how my Africa trip was and I shared what Jesus had been doing. At first she seemed a bit uncomfortable and started to talk about a Hindu festival she enjoyed, but I responded that Jesus wants to invite her to an even better festival and shared how I met a man in South Africa whom Jesus raised from the dead. She was amazed, and when I asked her if she wanted to receive Jesus, she said yes. I showed her how to pray and gave some tips about how to learn more about Jesus. Of course the process is far from over, but it is a testimony about the power of the testimony that I wanted to share so that you will be willing to share your testimony. 🙂