The Adult Education Program is now in full swing – we recently completed a Faith Stories class, and a group of over 20 is participating in Rev. Shortlidge’s Enneagram Class. Soon to come is a class on discipleship in the gospels, led by Paul Dornan. You can find the schedule in NYAPC emails and on our website events page.
Telling Our Faith Stories
We in the PCUSA aren’t accustomed to telling faith stories – what might be called testimony in other traditions – but that doesn’t mean we don’t have stories worth telling.
“Many of us don’t consider ourselves having a story worth telling, but nothing could be further from the truth. We carry within our hearts and souls compelling stories, and it is in the telling of these stories and describing where, when, and how we came to know Jesus that we establish the platform from which we engage in the life and ministry of the church.” *
We share our faith in many ways – through action, through music and art, for example – but in this class Hillary Webster offered us a chance and a structure to tell our stories in words, out loud and in writing.
In our first class, small breakout groups shared brief stories of our faith, using guiding questions about how/why we believe in God, how we experience God, and how we nurture our faith. In the second class, we each wrote a story.
Want to try this on your own? Here are some guidelines:
Think about a significant faith experience in your life (e.g. the first time you realized your faith was important, a moment you felt close to God, a moment that might be described as a crisis of faith. etc.
- Where are you?
- What are the key events in your story?
- Who else is a part of your experience?
- •How is this experience significant for your faith and your relationship with God?
- What did you learn about God through this experience?
Write your story – being as descriptive and personal as possible. Create a title for your story using seven words – what seven words best summarize your experience? And end your story with the same seven-word title you created.
Tips: There is no right or wrong length – but ½ to 1 page works well (or 250-500 words). If a story doesn’t come to mind, you can also write about struggles or questions you have about your faith. Don’t overthink as you write – invite a stream of consciousness into your words.
Once you’re done, ask yourself – is there someone I can share this story with? As Hillary shared:
Every day, God moves through our lives, touching us in ways that we notice and ways that sometimes seem less obvious. Sometimes we share our faith stories with those around us, but many times we keep them to ourselves. When we share the ways that God has moved in our lives, we deepen our connections with others in a way that helps us experience God’s true community as we are meant to experience it.