Through Lent we will be following the Church of England series ‘God’s story – Our story’ and looking at how we are witnesses to the work of God in the world and in our own lives. As part of this we would like to encourage you to write down your ‘Faith Story’.
There are a number of reasons why this is a useful thing to do, including providing an opportunity for self-reflection, looking back but also considering the learning that has taken place or actions needed. If you have done this before it is still good to update your story to keep it relevant, and for it to be as much about the present as the past.
Spending a little time writing your story is also good preparation for how you share your experience with other people. Being confident in our own story helps us to find the links and connections with people as you talk to them, and recognise shared events or similarities that, with their permission, offer an opportunity to tell them more about what you believe.
Keep it simple, authentic, honest, and because we know our God is there in all circumstances (struggles and high points), try to identify how He was at work and how you know this.
If you don’t know where to start here are a few ideas that might help,
- Think of your story as a time-line, writing the significant events in chronological order.
- Think of your faith in bursts. As you remember key events, write them on post-it notes over a couple of days, and then shuffle the notes round into the order of your story.
- Set a timer and give yourself two minutes to write down your Faith Story (focus on the really important/stand out parts and maybe use bullet points). Then go back with no time limit and reflect deeper on one or two parts.
- Draw three boxes, give them the titles ‘what I was like before I knew Jesus’, ‘how I came to know Jesus’ and, ‘what I am like now I know Jesus’. Make the boxes different sizes according to your age or how long you have been a Christian, for example if you became a Christian a long time ago you might need a bigger box for writing about your life since getting to know Jesus.
- Split your page in half and write on one side ‘before’ and on the other side ‘after’. Make a list of differences and similarities in your life before and after knowing Jesus as a starting point for writing your story.
- Answer some of these questions – How did Jesus come into your life? How has life changed since knowing God? What difference has knowing Jesus made? What does the Good News of Jesus mean to you? How is Jesus working in your life today?
- Or simply begin to write in whatever format you feel comfortable with, paper and pen/digital device, and feel free to doodle or illustrate some parts.
Once you have reflected on this you may want to focus in on one particular aspect or a recurring theme from your story.
Our witness or testimony is not limited to how we came to faith, it is an ongoing thing. Particularly if you have been a Christian for a long time, how you came to faith may be less important than how your faith has developed and what God has done in and through you.
Work on around 250 words and allow the word limit to help you focus in on the ‘big story’ within your story, and try to avoid using Christian Jargon, look for words that someone who does not yet know Jesus or have a Christian heritage will understand.
We are all unique and our stories are all different, no right or wrong, no less important, or valid than another, the one consistent thing is our loving God. If you feel able to share your story, please email it to the Rivers Team Office as we are hoping to record a selection of these ‘Faith Stories’ to enhance our online services during Lent.
Please be encouraged to take part in this, sharing your personal story in this way will be a blessing to the Church and great witness to other people.