Sharing Your Faith Story

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15 ESV
Her name faded from memory years ago, but her story stuck with me.

I heard Susan, let’s call her, speak at the first women’s ministry event I remember attending. Her story wasn’t flashy or dramatic, but it resonated deeply with me. Susan spoke about growing up in the church and realizing as an adult she didn’t have a personal relationship with Christ. She knew who God was, but she didn’t know Him personally.

Susan admitted that she previously struggled to share her story of coming to faith because it lacked the drama and action of so many other faith stories she had heard. There was no earthquake moment. No tragic circumstance. No story that would bring an audience to tears. Little did she realize that her story had me fighting back tears!

As she spoke God connected the dots of my conversion in a new way. Hearing her story finally helped me put into words my own story. I, too, grew up in the church but lacked that personal relationship with God. I thought because I knew who Jesus was and I was a “good girl”, I was headed to Heaven when I died. It wasn’t until I was a young mom that I realized there was more to being a Christian. Knowing who God is and knowing God are two completely different things.

If you’ve ever struggled to put into words how God has been at work in your life, this article is for you! I’d love to be your Susan – to help put your faith stories into words so that other people in your life can hear about God’s faithfulness.
If you’ve ever been asked to share your “testimony”, you may be familiar with that feeling of dread and fear that often accompanies such a serious request.

A testimony is often defined as the personal retelling of the moment of conversion. It’s a story of an encounter with Christ, the moment of salvation. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines a religious testimony as “a public profession of religious experience.” While a testimony is and can be about the singular point at which we accepted Christ, a testimony can also communicate any experience we’ve had with Christ.

I’ve found swapping out that scary word “testimony” with “faith story” relieves a lot of the pressure we place on ourselves. Stories are familiar and stories are relatable.

Faith stories:
  • Give hope
  • Provide encouragement
  • Create connection
  • Model obedience
  • Provide testimony of God’s faithfulness and love

Sharing our stories can inspire other people to look for God’s fingerprints on their current situation and circumstances. While we may be tempted to keep our stories of God’s faithfulness and love to ourselves, scripture is clear that we are to tell our story to others.

We are to make known what God has done. 
“Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” 1 Chronicles 16:8 NIV

People cannot believe in God if they’ve never heard about God. 
“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14 NLT

Our stories give the reason for the hope that we have in Christ. 
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV

We can offer an eye-witness account of God in action. 
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NIV

We can comfort others with the comfort we received from God. 
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3–5 ESV
Yet, our minds often overcomplicate the sharing of our faith stories. What do I include? How many details do I share? How long should I talk?

John 9 offers a simple recipe for sharing our stories. Here we find the story of Jesus giving sight to a blind man. When asked what had happened, the blind man replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” John 9:11 NIV.

While our faith story might not be as short as those three sentences, the format is one we can easily follow.

The story consists of three parts:
  1. How I was 
  2. What happened
  3. How I am now

In John 9 we see:
  1. The man was blind.
  2. Jesus made some mud, put it on his eyes, and told him to wash it off.
  3. Now he can see.

As we think through what happened or changed in our life, we want to make certain our story focuses on what God did. And then as we share how we are different, we want to include the transformation God did in our life.
Read a devotional series about giving testimony in Issue 4 of Sweet To The Soul FAITH Magazine
I find these three C’s helpful in shaping what I am sharing:

  1. Current - Our stories should be current, focusing on a recent lesson (within the last year, if possible). Keeping it current reminds others that God is always at work!
  2. Concise – Our stories don’t need to be lengthy. Even if we’re sharing our faith story publicly, we’ve not been asked to be the keynote speaker or teach a Bible lesson. What we share should last between five and ten minutes, no more. Practice sharing it. Record yourself and listen to make sure your story is coming across as intended. If you’re speaking in front of a group, jot down a few notes so you don’t lose focus.
  3. Christ-centered – Our faith stories should be focused on what God has done, not on dramatic details. It’s about Him, not about us. We want others who hear our story to remember what God accomplished through us or the circumstance. When our eyes and words are focused on God, others see that and can learn by our example.

Faith stories that are current, concise, and Christ-centered will ensure the words we share give glory to God.

I’ve heard it said that we should speak from our scars, and not from our wounds. I’ve found these to be wise words as I’ve watched women share on a couple of occasions faith stories that were more about their feelings than God’s healing.

Here are a few other things to consider when sharing your story:
  • Please do not share anything that would embarrass someone or lead to gossip.
  • Protect your spouse, your family, and anyone who is a part of your story.
  • You want to be more general than specific, especially when sharing with a group.
  • Be prayerful and careful with details you share.
  • Whenever possible get permission and input from anyone that is a part of your story. 
For example, if you are sharing about a hard season in your marriage, your spouse needs to be completely aware and on board with what you are sharing. The specific details of that hard season are for you, your husband, and God to know. Hearing someone reflect on God’s faithfulness in difficult circumstances can be an encouragement.

What story is it that you sense God wants you to share? Do you need to tell how God has provided for you or your family? Is there something God has rescued you from? Has God healed a relationship or helped you to overcome a loss?

You may find it helpful to write down your story. Journal all the nitty-gritty details and then decide what parts are for public consumption and which stay between you and God.

I pray we’ll embrace the opportunities God gives us to be a witness (Acts 1:8), offer comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3–5), proclaim God’s power (1 Chronicles 16:8), and give a reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15).

Blessings Soul Friends,

Cyndee

Diving Deeper

  • What keeps you from sharing your faith story?

  • Which of Cyndee’s recommended 3 C’s do you need to focus on in order to become more comfortable sharing your faith story? Share your answers in the comments.

  • Then let’s all read through the comments and offer our prayers for all those who are struggling. Just imagine how joining together in these prayers can help multiply God’s Kingdom!

Resources

Read: A Bible Study Plan for Unpacking God’s Word
Designed to help you study God’s Word on your own using a simple four-step process – Record, Explore, Apply, and Do. In less than 20 minutes a day, you’ll develop healthy Bible study habits and go deeper in your time with God. Includes over 6 months of READ Worksheets.
LEARN MORE
Cyndee Ownbey, author of Rethinking Women’s Ministry, serves as a mentor to thousands of women’s ministry leaders through her website, podcast, and Facebook community, Women’s Ministry Toolbox. Pulling from over twenty years of ministry experience, Cyndee shares tried-and-true women's ministry tips and ideas equipping leaders to cultivate a Christ-focused community.

3 Comments


Cathy Steele - October 27th, 2023 at 11:35pm

Believe like a little child

Zeeta Tripp - January 16th, 2024 at 11:56pm

I would like to share my story and am all for suggestions 8n my circumstances first of all I would like to say I have always believed in the good Lord I was saved and baptized in 1994 and used to attend church regularly. I have always prayed but my life has become difficult to attend. church for years . Recently God has revealed himself to me through thunder and lightning events I used to be afraid of storms thunder and lightning until recently I had two trees struck down by lightning right beside my trailer and lughrning struck a power tool inside my trailor and next thunder rumbling circling my trailor It had me scared to death so much it seemed to be stalking me i was afrI called my mother and asked hee if i had been struck by lightning before in my life she told me i had not si i heard thunder which sounded in the distance so i prayed to god to please present himself to me through the thunder To my amazement thunder traveled straight to my trailorr going off right next to me the next day i was alone and thunder sounded off above me it was a sunny day My life has been different than ever before since i had a divine revelation witb god i have seen tbe world as i have never seen before i had this experience witb the good lord for he is good i had to share. my story thank you God I love him very much amen

Travis Dieter - February 3rd, 2024 at 11:36pm

I found out about this amazing truth the early church believed, and also it’s what the first language of the New Testament says, The original language of the New Testament confirms the truth is Universal Restoration, 1 Timothy 4:10 shows “savior of all men, especially of believers” this means we receive salvation from judgment in Jesus if we are born again and worthy, but everyone else will be saved and live forever as well, God reconciles them through the judgment, the reason the lake of fire is called that is because God called the slavery in Egypt an “iron smelting furnace” and it actually means pool of fire, like a crucible for refining gold, this is the fate of all mankind, if they are not born again and walking straight into life, they need to be refined but no one is lost forever, God said He will be all in all, and there is a New Heaven and a New Earth on the outside of the New Jerusalem, there are cities of people, Jesus speaks about giving someone 3 cities in the scriptures, and another 5 and 10, of course we want to go His way it will be more rewarding, but again everyone lives forever, as in adam all die so as in Christ all will be made alive, there is no forever separation from God, in large a big misunderstanding came from the Greek word “Aionon” it means an age for punishment and was never supposed to be understood as forever with punishment, and God’s punishment’s are always rooted in His nature of love and goodness they are also seen on the “Outside” of the Kingdom after the lake of fire, God is Love, Google Universal Restoration

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