As we progress on a new Church year, we start again with the annual round of meetings. Our new President and Vice President of conference have chosen “A year of testimony” as their theme and we are being encouraged to tell our story. Story telling is a vital part of our existence, we love to talk about our experiences, talk about our holidays tell people our family news and just recently I have heard several conversations about cricket and football matches. We also love hearing stories, go to any coffee morning, ladies meeting or just in conversation after Church, we love to hear stories.
We are being encouraged by the President Rev Barbara Glasson to tell our story of faith. When I was a teenager, we would often have visitors to our Church in West Yorkshire, we had a lot of missionaries come and talk about how Christianity functioned in their own country and culture. I used to be fascinated as I sat and listened. We had groups come and lead worship from Cliff College and the service always included testimonies that fascinated and disturbed me. I listened to people telling about their dreadful lives and how God had turned them around.
Over the years I have come to discover some fascinating stories, often from people who would claim to have led normal, uninteresting lives. I’ve sat and listened to people telling me of their childhood in an age, very different to today and I love to hear their stories. When we use the word “testimony” we often assume that we need to tell an impressive story of how our lives were turned around by God and often, because of that we stay silent, assuming that nobody will be interested.
I am thankful that stories were so vital to the life of the early Church that the early disciples talked about their experiences with Christ and that those stories play a central part in our Christian journey today, The Bible is full of wonderful stories, both in the Old and New Testaments, they are stories most of us have grown up knowing and loving.
The most wonderful thing of all is that we are the people who are living the gospel today, unless we tell our story, share the amazing experiences of a God of love with others today, then sadly our stories die with us. Maybe as we are faced with potentially more Local Arrangement services appearing on the preaching plan, we could enjoy hearing stories from people we know and sharing the good news about what God is doing today.