But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. ~ 1 Peter 3:15-16, NIV
This past weekend, I had the great privilege of spending about 6 hours learning from Steve Gladen of Saddleback Church as he spoke at our local church’s “Go Conference”. With his unique wisdom and humor, Steve shared with us how to, in 3 minutes, share our salvation story with others. It was engaging, interesting and challenging. The mutually fostered growth continued through the lunch time in conversations with peers. And we were even presented with the opportunity to each share our own testimony in small groups.
I was particularly stretched in new ways as I shamefully realized that I had heard Steve Gladen teach when he spoke at our church years before, but never put into action what I was taught. The Holy Spirit awakened me to the realization that those of us who are in ministry have nothing if we are not always prepared to effectively give our own testimony. Pastor Gladen also brilliantly pointed out that each of us has more than one testimony to give. While I have my basic story of coming into an intimate relationship with Jesus, I also have my “God stories” of how He has moved in our lives through special needs, through repeated joblessness and through countless other situations. Depending upon who the Lord puts in my path, whether it be one of the parents we minister to or a volunteer or donor, that testimony may change. Regardless, of which story, a joyful sharing of the transformation that Jesus has created in my life must always be on the tip of my tongue.
So, it is not only worth writing out and practicing, but a personal 3 minute testimony is something that every person who serves in our ministries should be trained on giving. Those who are in contact serving others must be prepared to share the reason for their hope. I urge everyone to at least begin with Steve’s article “Making Your Small Groups Models of Evangelism“. In this internet download, you can begin teaching each person on your team how to share their personal story. Those are stories very much worth telling, and that is ultimately the real work of our ministry. Keep the main thing, the main thing!