About a month ago, I was sitting in a meeting of Testimony HQ here in the Connection Center. We were meeting to talk about the Testimony HQ program and our Church. Being raised in a Southern Baptist Church, my idea of “testimony” was standing up in church and sharing your salvation experience! It was usually quite dramatic, and involved a lot of Amens from those in the crowd. So, when Pastor Nathan started talking about Testimony HQ, I suspected it involved standing up in Church and letting everyone know how I was saved. I was none too thrilled anticipating that experience. (Not that it was a bad experience.) Or even worse, going door to door in our community to share my experience. Waaaay outside my comfort zone.
Well, come to find out that’s not necessarily what Testimony HQ is about. You’ve heard the expression, everyone has a story. In this case, this is what “testimony” means. You are not expected to share your salvation story necessarily, just your every day story. What does your day look like with Jesus in your life? How does He have your back through every experience, bad or good?
Testimony is a good story that is also a God story. The Bible tells us that even Moses at first felt uncomfortable talking about God. The problem is people are not sure how to talk about God in today’s world. Here are some reasons people feel awkward: “I don’t know enough to talk about my faith; I haven’t had a lot of practice; I wouldn’t want to offend people; I let the Pastor do the talking; and I just try to show my faith by my actions.” Are one of these your stories?
The stories we tell inside the church community can spill out into our wider community where we live. Especially today, when people are longing to connect and reconnect, we need to be able to “speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
On that Saturday sitting in the Testimony HQ meeting I felt led to proclaim to the group that I was going to personally challenge myself. I announced that on Fridays, Pastor Nathan willing, I would take an hour to go over to the area where The Marketplace distributes food every Friday morning, and I challenged others present. We have literally hundreds of people coming to this church with a need. But, as I found out they all have a “story”. Lisa Henson took the challenge one Friday, and I was able to do it this last Friday. Lisa shared that her experience brought her to tears, tears of joy and tears of compassion. Lisa and I would approach people in the line and ask if they had a specific need that our church could lift up in prayer. Talking about “opening a can of worms”, the stories just spilled out: cancer, addictions, concerns for family, loss, grief, sickness, etc, etc., on and on. Now, I’ll admit, I was not able to share MY story at that time, but I did share the story of MY CHURCH. Jacksonville First wants to know your need, and then pray over those needs. Someone cares enough to pray about it. However, over time, I may have the opportunity to share MY story. Either way, your heart is full to overflowing!!
Now, I have some challenges for you. First, the Prayer Team here at JFUMC could use you as a prayer warrior. At the beginning of each week, you will receive a list of current prayer concerns that you can pray over. Easy! We can all talk to God, right? For that opportunity, let Jim Silvi know you want to be part of that Team. Second, Testimony HQ, speak with Pastor Nathan and see where you can “fit” into that program. It’s great. Third, got some spare time on Fridays between 9:30 and noon? Come to the parking lot behind the FLC and prepare to be blessed. Talk to the people, tell them you are part of this Church; and we want to pray for you. It will show them we care, and I promise you God will be right there with you, giving you words of encouragement and support. Just like Moses!
Jo Ann Silvi
and Finance Manager