I was reading someone’s testimony this afternoon and it really moved me. In my twenties testimony was pretty much an every week experience at church. People’s faith was encouraged by sharing what God had been doing in their own lives – sometimes it is only when you look back and speak something out that you really see what has been happening. Faith was also encouraged in hearing what God was doing.
Quite often I start a day’s teaching by asking does anyone have anything to share with us which has happened since last we were together – some of the responses are inspiring and encouraging. This doesn’t mean that testimony has to be full of positive statements, sharing the faithfulness of God through difficult times or the faithfulness of friends at those times you don’t feel close to God still builds faith.
I was once asked to review a book which talked about testimony in one of the chapters – I like this quotation:
Testimony is an approach to storytelling with a long history and tradition and can be seen as a liberating and community building practice which helps [young] people “not to be ashamed of their experiences, but to share their experiences in the hope and knowledge that their stories will be received by an encouraging community, and will also serve as encouragement for others” (Wright 2008:195).
I like being part of such encouraging communities.
Wright, A. W. (2008). The Power of Testimonies. In M. E. Moore & A. W. Wright (eds.), Children, Youth and Spirituality in a Troubling World. St Louis: Chalice Press, 182-195.