This year, River City Church is seeking to capture 100 TESTIMONIES. These testimonies (or stories) can be about when we initially put our faith in Jesus or about God's ongoing faithfulness to us.
Capturing a testimony can look like submitting a written copy to a staff member, or home group leader, or submitting a copy digitally (keep scrolling to access our digital resource guide). Capturing a testimony can also look like sharing a story publicly on a Sunday morning, at a Home Group gathering, or by having it recorded to be shared via our social media platforms.
Sharing our testimonies takes preparation. We receive the exhortation from the Scriptures to “always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks [us] for a reason for the hope that is in [us]" with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). We hope that the resources below can help you prepare and practice to give a reason for the hope that is in you. Please keep in mind that writing out these stories may take you some time. We'd encourage you to set aside half an hour, or more, for writing a testimony of initial faith in Jesus. Testimonies of God's ongoing faithfulness can take less time depending the nature of the story you share. This may seem like a lot of work, but we believe it's important and necessary work for building our confidence in sharing about God's work in our lives.
OUR STORIES ARE SET WITHIN A MUCH LARGER STORY
When we see that our story is actually apart of God’s story of redemption, and that the hero of our story is not us, but Jesus, then all our stories become something worth telling. No matter how ordinary or spectacular, our stories are worth telling and they matter to God. As we share our story of initial faith in Christ, we want to help people see the goodness of God and the joy of trusting in Christ.
PRESENT POSTURE IS BETTER PROOF THAN A PAST MEMORY
As you think about sharing your testimony of faith in Jesus, you might not be able to point to a particular day when you realized faith in Christ began. Others of you will have a very clear memory of a moment in time when you repented and turned to Jesus. Neither is necessarily better than the other.
Whether or not you know exactly when faith in Christ began, what is important today is that you know you have trusted in Christ as your savior. Even if you don’t know what time the sun first peaked above the horizon line, you can know with confidence that it is shining brightly in the sky at noon. In the same way, even if you don’t know the exact time faith in Christ began in your life, what is important today is that you know your faith is shining brightly in the sky. As pastor and theologian Charles Spurgeon once said,
“'I hope I am saved,’ says one, ‘but I do not know the date of my conversion.’ That does not matter at all. It is a pleasant thing for a person to know his birthday, but when persons are not sure of the exact date of their birth, they do not infer that they are not alive. If a person does not know when he was converted, that does not prove that he is not converted. The point is: Do you trust Jesus Christ? Has that trust made a new man of you? Has your confidence in Christ made you feel that you have been forgiven? Has that made you love God for having forgiven you, and has that love become the mainspring of your being so that out of love to God you delight to obey him? Then you are a healed man.”
If you can say today that you have trusted in Christ as your savior and that you worship him as Lord of your life, then you have a story of initial faith in Christ to share.
GETTING YOUR STORY READY
As you get your story ready, it can be helpful to break it down into three parts. (1) Your Life without Jesus – Who you were before Christ, (2) Your Moment of conversion– how you came to trust in Christ as your savior, (3) Your Life with Jesus – your ongoing relationship with Jesus. These three parts create a basic template for sharing your testimony of initial faith, and the questions and outline, linked below, can help you as you articulate your story. However, this is not a rigid process that should feel restrictive. Let this simply be a guide, not a rule.
TELLING STORIES OF GOD'S FAITHFULNESS
We often see God’s faithfulness through the testimonies of God at work in people’s lives. Because God is always faithful, we will always have a story to tell of his faithfulness. It is often through the stories of God’s people that we see this most clearly.
If you were to do a brief study on the word “faithfulness” as it relates to God in the Bible, you’ll quickly begin to see the overwhelming amount of references in which the Scriptures continually remind us of God’s faithfulness.
However, the Scriptures don’t just remind us of God’s faithfulness so that we would know this truth in our heads, but rather, we would internalize this truth in our hearts.The Scriptures encourage us to share stories of God’s ongoing faithfulness for two primary purposes:
PURPOSE 1: WE SHARE THESE STORIES FOR THE GLORY OF GOD
Psalm 71:15–19 -  My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.  With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.  O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.  So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.  Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?
PURPOSE 2: WE SHARE THESE STORIES FOR THE GOOD OF OTHERS
Ephesians 6:21–22 -  So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything.  I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.
GETTING YOUR STORY READY
Similar to sharing your Testimony of Initial faith, as you get your story ready, it can be helpful to explain your story of God’s faithfulness in your life in three parts. (1) The Situation, (2) The Solution, (3) The Result. These three parts create a basic template for sharing your testimony of initial faith, and the questions and outline, linked below, can help you as you articulate your story.