In 1st Peter 3:15, the Apostle Peter urges early Christians to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have”(NIV®). You do not have to be a Pastor or brilliant intellectual to do so. Instead, we can simply share how God has shown us his faithfulness and trust him to move through what we share.
At Cornerstone, we define Faith Stories as “A story of God’s faithfulness.” Every Christian has a faith story of one kind or another. It could be: A. your conversion testimony of how you came to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; B. a more general outline of your pilgrim walk with Jesus through life; or C. a story of God’s care for you through a circumstance, trial, or life event.
Option A: Conversion Story
In Acts 26, the Apostle Paul shares his conversion story in three parts: 1. Paul’s life before Jesus (vv. 4-11); 2. How Paul met Jesus (vv. 12-15); and 3. How Paul changed because of Jesus (vv. 16-23). Many of you will be able to break your story into three parts as well:
- Your life before Jesus
- How you met Jesus
- How Jesus changed you
Think about your story in chapters or blocks and bridge them together. Your faith story is not every life event, but those big events that stick out to you as times God used to convict you of your sin, lead you to repentance, and draw you into relationship with himself.
Part three should feel like a contrast to part one, describing how Jesus has transformed your life. This does not mean everything is great, we all have our ups and downs, but that you can see the difference Jesus has made in your life. Each part does not have to be equal in length. See the presentation at the end of this article for a further explanation of conversion stories.
Option B: Pilgrim Story
If you have been a Christian since an early age, you may not remember life before Jesus. You feel like you have always known him and have always been on the journey. That is wonderful! You can still demonstrate your faith and repentance, just over a longer period of time. You can also build your story through several stages:
- Your early memories of sin, faith, and Jesus
- A significant period(s) of growth in your walk
- Where you are now in your faith journey
Pilgrim stories demonstrate the benefit of lifelong discipleship. This can be a great encouragement to parents raising their kids in the faith (Deut 6:4-9, 2 Tim 1:5).
Option C: Life Event Story
In the early church, believers shared what God was teaching them (1 Cor 14:26). We also love current, recent, or memorable stories of God moving in believer’s lives. Do you have an example of God showing up? You may also be able to divide your story into three parts:
- The circumstances you faced and what it was like
- How God showed himself to be faithful through this time
- What you learned about God, yourself, and others
Life event stories are a great opportunity to encourage the congregation. God shows up in our times of need, teaching us to rely on him not just for our eternal salvation, but for our everyday.
Pray, asking God to help you, and start writing. In order to keep your story to 5 minutes or less during the worship service, please limit yourself to approximately 850 words.
Open by introducing yourself, your family, and where you live, then begin with an interesting hook, such as a question, statement, or experience that draws your audience in. End by inviting people to come talk with you about your story or theirs.
Please include 1-2 Bible verses that have spoken to you through your journey. Any more than that and you will begin to sound preachy. Use the translation you prefer.
As you write, try to show and not tell. You can do this by using descriptive elements, concrete images, the active voice, and avoiding passive language or adverbs ending in -ly.
Your story should be authentic, honest, and not embellish or dwell excessively on sin. Rather, we seek to enhance the reputation of Jesus. We are not here to praise ourselves or our church.
Refrain from criticizing or putting down people, groups, churches, etc. For example, if you experienced Catholicism negatively, you should be honest about your story but refrain from maligning the Catholic Church.
Please try to avoid clichés or terms and jargon only Christians get. We like it when non-Christians both hear and understand what we say. A unifying theme is also helpful.
Approval & Sharing
Please email a draft of your faith story to the Pastor or Elder overseeing faith stories. Expect both positive and negative feedback. Once approved, we will get you scheduled.
Please notify the Pastor or Elder if we can post your faith story online. We love it when we can, but understand if it is too private or personal. If yes, please give your faith story a title, send us a nice photo of you, and make sure you have filled out a photo-consent form.
Prior to, practice your faith story on family or friends. On the day of, make sure to bring a printed copy of your faith story and a water if you need it. Arrive at least 15 minutes early to check in with the Pastor and Worship Team Leader. During the service, someone from the worship team will call you up when it is time. Speak clearly into the microphone and breathe.
This presentation is a helpful resource for any who want to learn more about conversion stories.