We all have stories. Stories that open up old wounds exposing the raw pain that lies underneath. Stories that make us feel unworthy, unloved and unwanted. Our temptation is to keep it buried, so we can avoid the hurt and emptiness. No matter what our story, the components of that story, whether positive or negative, form the fabrics that shape our lives. I know what you are thinking: If I share my story, what will people think of me?
But what if your story could change someone’s life? What if telling your story meant you could inspire someone to grow, change, or get closer to God?
Would you share it then?
Our stories are still one of the best ways to demonstrate God’s presence in our lives. As we share our testimonies we also share the Good news of Christ. As our means of evangelism have changed, our need to share the gospel has not.
2 Corinthians 3:2: “you yourselves are our letter, known and read by everyone, being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, written not by ink but with the Sprit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on the tablets of human hearts.”
Bob Hostetler in his article entitled “Who Changed the Cultural Channel?” said: “Focus your Christian witness on the personal. Today’s seekers are not so much asking whether the Gospel is credible; they are asking whether it is relevant. ‘Is it true?’ has been replaced by ‘Will it work for me?’ Thus, there has never been a better time to share our personal testimonies.” 1
In this postmodern world where truth is relative, younger generations have trouble accepting the bible at face value. Instead of reading about Jesus within its pages, they want to experience him in real and tangible ways. No matter how easy it is to argue the validity of the Bible, the one thing you can share without argument is your story, the personal parts of your life, whether positive or negative, which have shaped who you are today. But how do we share our stories without sounding preachy? Here are three key ingredients to sharing your stories, no matter how difficult they may be:
Authenticity– is the key to sharing our testimonies. If you are not being transparent about every facet of your life, people will see that and be less likely to accept your story. Your passion for what God has done for you should be evident. Our stories are how we communicate that passion.
Honesty- Honesty does not only involve being honest with others, but with yourself as well. If you are a pastor, share your failures as a pastor. When you are wrong, apologize. Demonstrate your humanity rather than a distant authority figure. Show your congregation that God is a loving, personal friend and father, rather than a distant entity ready to smite you for your next mistake. Sue Kline states, “Most postmoderns are interested in hearing people’s stories. If we listen with genuine interest to the stories of non-Christians, they will listen to our stories, which are just like theirs but with the added surprise of redemption.” 2
Vulnerability- In today’s postmodern culture, people are longing for relationships with those who aren’t afraid to share the heartaches and struggles of life with others. Life is messy. So is the church. Those who are willing to admit that can successfully point to others to the One who can fix that mess.
We all have a story to tell. Those stories together form the fabric of the tapestry that is the church.
Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, speaker, pastor’s wife and mother. She has been published over one hundred times in places such as Charisma Magazine, crosswalk.com and Christianity Today’s website Gifted For Leadership. She also teaches writers’ workshops for various places such as the Montrose Christian Writers conference. She is a member of the Christian Author’s Network and Advanced Writers’ and speakers Association. Her newest book, An Invitation to the Table explores the biblical concept of hospitality. For more info, please visit her website at www.michellelazurek.com