Lately I’ve been thinking about testimonies and their place in worship. The psalms are filled with historical testaments to God’s great acts from creation, through the exodus, to the psalmists own life. We see how the rehearsal of the testimony serves to bolster the psalmist’s faith during a difficult time and becomes the bedrock for worship itself.
As the years go by the testimony of God’s acts grows accordingly. Like the psalmist, those testimonies can serve to encourage us and lead us to worship. But, in my experience very few CRC churches include testimonies as a part of worship on a regular basis. We save testimonies for the brave people who may say a few words in relation to their profession of faith, or as a report from a service trip. But shouldn’t each of us when called upon be able to give account, to testify to what God is doing in our lives today? I’m not suggesting that we need to interpret each event as the working of either God or the devil; the working of the Spirit is much too complex. However, if we believe that God is at work we ought to be able to point to some evidence of it and what better place to share those stories then in worship, with God’s gathered people, where we can respond appropriately in praise and thanksgiving.
For those of you in churches where testimonies are shared regularly how are they done? How did you create a safe place for faith stories to be shared? On what occasions are testimonies given or do they happen more spontaneously? Does the size of the congregation influence whether a person is willing to share?