Two weekends ago, I had the privilege of being asked to give my Christian testimony to the high school youth group at our church. I started hanging out with them last spring, when the youth director said they needed folks to come listen/talk/just basically be there for the kids. I’ve known some of these kids since they were 4, so it’s really a lot of fun to get to hang out with the now. Now, I’m the old lady they’re polite to, rather than the Sunday school or Pioneer Girl leader with all of the answers, but, hey, that’s life. They’re at least polite.
So, in 10+ years of being a member of our church and of being a Christian, I’d never been asked to give my testimony before. Our church does require that you speak with a deacon and an elder as part of the membership process and explain your faith, but I consider that a pretty friendly audience. Giving these young adults something was going to be something entirely different.
I’ll talk more about how it went and how I prepared for it in later posts (yes, that does mean I have the intention of posting more frequently than I’ve done of late), but this is just a post to talk about why I think it was important for me to prepare to give a testimony. Just to make clear how I’m using the word “testimony”, what I told the kids was how God called me to faith, where I had been, and how I knew that it was Him who called me. There are other kinds of testimonies, having to do with what God’s doing in your life, and probably other things, as well, but the “come to faith” kind was what I gave.
My path to faith wasn’t the same as most of these kids. For one, I never was in a Sunday school or youth group. I became a Christian as an adult. And mine wasn’t a lightning bolt experience, or a Paul on the road to Emmaus experience. God used people and circumstances to bring me to Him, but there was nothing I’ve ever recognized as a pivotal moment. Just a buildup to what became to me a natural acceptance of His plan and His glory. Sometimes I wish I had had the Emmaus moment. Instead, I got to wrestle with whether I was just going with the flow, or whether I was going with God’s flow. I’ve wrestled with that before, but in prepping my testimony, I got to revisit it, and see if the evidence I looked to was sufficient to be convincing to others, and/or if there was something in my path whose description might help one of the kids.
I was very glad to give my testimony, and very glad when the giving it was over. Turned out conveying it was useful to me, in terms of structuring my own thinking, and bringing to mind some things I hadn’t considered in a while. One of the layman leaders in our church occasionally gives sessions on how to structure and present your testimony. I’m planning on catching the next one that I can. Doing it was a real gift to me; I’m hoping being able to do it again will somehow help someone else. If NOTHING else, seeing other folks do it might give someone else the idea to think through their own, and have an answer ready if someone asks why they’re a Christian, and how it impacts their life.