We have all heard the story. A guest speaker/singer comes to share a testimony of his/her former life. They share an interesting and spectacular story of sexual exploits, drug abuse and running from the law. The audience is spell bound. The presentation finishes by sharing how Christ conquered his/her heart. The people leave impressed.
I don’t want to discount the value of such testimonies. They have their place. My only concern is that we become more balanced in our approach to sharing these types of stories. They are BUT ONE part of the kaleidoscope of experiences God used to rescue us.
So, here is my shout out to the “boring” ones. You are not. Your experience is valued by God. Consider with me the following three points:
- Real heroes.
In my eyes, it takes a lot more determination, willpower and spiritual fortitude to STAY in church all your life than to slip into a life of sin. You, the one who never left, the one who participated in church, who said yes when they needed volunteers, who raised your hand first when the bible question was asked and who took criticism for being to “churchy” from people both INSIDE and outside the church, you are my biggest hero. It’s a title you have never sought. You just served God because you loved him. That’s why you have earned it.
- Undue glamor.
I find it problematic to try to scare people straight. You don’t eradicate evil with evil. You don’t eliminate sinful tendencies by sharing how someone succumbed to it. In my teenage years I was a metal head. Do you know who introduced me to heavy metal? A pastor. We had an AYS meeting where the evils of rock and roll were presented, complete with clips of videos and parts of the music playing. The more I heard, the more I wanted to hear. It proves a principle that I have come to believe. Preaching focused on Christ produces Christians. Preaching focused on sin produces sinners. Your choice.
- Past identity.
I am not defined by my past. I can’t hide it. That would be dishonest. I also won’t glamorize it. That would be discouraging to the ones in the audience that do not have a special testimony like mine. Am I saying not to use these types of testimonies ever? No. Am I suggesting that people that have been rescued from the depths of sin have nothing to contribute? Nope. What I am suggesting is this:
- Use both types of testimonies. Intentionally
- Use the 33% method:
33% your life before Jesus
33% how you encountered Him
33% how he has made a difference
1% the book/dvd/cd you just finished.
Thoughts? Questions? Leave your respectful and honest comments here.