I come from a church that very seldom has testimonies as part of our church service. That is a real shame because hearing what God is has done in someone’s life can be so uplifting and encouraging both for those giving the testimony and for those that are hearing it.
Let me give you a few examples:
For three years I have lead a youth mission trip to Nicaragua. The youth are from all over Ontario. These youth have all been a part of the All Ontario Youth Convention (AOYC). AOYC has partnered with World Renew to sponsor these trips. As part of the trip, each person, leaders and youth, is expected to give their testimony some time on the trip. The leaders often give theirs first to lead the way. On last years trip, a young lady spoke about how she really struggles with depression, anxiety, and negative images of herself, so much so that she had often complicated suicide several times and had even tried to end her life once. Her testimony was hard for her to give and hard for us to hear, but the effect it had was tremendous. Several of the other students talked to her later and confessed that they also struggle with some of the same things and it was a comfort to know that they were not alone.
Two months after the mission trip we had or yearly AOYC convention. At the convention we had a speaker, Brett Ullman, who came to speak about hurting, cutting, depression and suicide. Before Brett spoke, this young lady from our mission trip, stood before the 900 youth and leaders, and again told her story. That put a face to the things that Brett was speaking about. No longer was it, “some people out there suffer with these things”, but one of us stood up and said, “this is MER, I suffer from these things”. A few weeks ago this girl stood before her church and publicly expressed her faith in Jesus Christ, acknowledging in front of her church that she is still on her journey of healing, with God’s help.
In my town we have started a night of praise and worship the last Saturday of the month. This is a community wide event and is not held in any church, but at the local Youth for Christ center. At the last one, the focus was on hope, the hope we have in Christ to overcome our struggles. We heard two testimonies that night. One was from a young mother that had struggled with learning disabilities throughout grade school and high school. She tearfully told how no one knew how to help her until a new principal came in grade 7 and was able to diagnose her problem. She told how the next few years were still very hard for her, God helped her to overcome her limitations and now she is a mother and one of the praise team leaders at church.
The second testimony that evening was from a retired nurse who had suffered much pain from arthritis for the last 25 years. Just the week before, she had attended the CRC day of encouragement in Hamilton, Ontario. There she attended a workshop on healing. Someone who was attending the workshop with her, asked the leader if she would pray for healing for this retired nurse. She recounted how everyone gathered around her, laid their hand on her, and began praying. About two minutes into the prayer, something happened, and her pain was gone. She could now bend over and pick something up with no pain, and even run up and down stairs. As she told the story she was almost giddy with excitement about that fact that she no longer suffered from so much pain.
If you are a leader in your church, youth group, or any group that gathers, I urge you to encourage people to tell of the things that God has done in their lives. If you are a leader, you can show the way by telling your story. We all benefit by hearing testimonies of the great things that God has done, so jump out of your comfort zone and start sharing.