Consider how a first and perhaps negative impression of another person changes when you learn more about that person and his or her circumstances. Consider how hearing your faith story modifies a person’s impression of you as well.
Stories help us become acquainted with others and then to deepen our relationships with them. When people withhold their stories from each other, their relationships remain formal and relatively cold. Imagine growing together as a congregation when faith stories are shared.
Think about your answers to the following questions:
- When were you first aware of Jesus Christ as something more than a historical person?
- How did you come to embrace Jesus Christ as your Savior?
- What helps you live a Christian (Christ-like) life?
- What is most challenging or difficult about your life as a Christian?
Healthy Christians and healthy congregations can readily identify the moving of God in their lives. Christians and congregations that are stagnant or in decline struggle to identify stories of how God is moving; they may even actively resist doing so.
One of the best ways to reinvigorate faith and life—as an individual Christian, as a member of a local body of believers, and as a member of God’s worldwide household—is to bring our stories of faith to the surface. Tell your story. Invite others to share their stories with you. When our faith stories are front and center, we have a reason to celebrate the work of Christ, new fuel for vibrant worship, increased motivation to bring the first fruits of our income in worship, and deeper unity with our Christian sisters and brothers.
This stewardship story is from the I Have Called You Friends Companion Resource. The I Have Called You Friends theme is based on John 15:15. It springs from an understanding of the offering as a time to respond to God's grace. The offering is celebrated with joy. It becomes the expression of the Christ-centered community that is Christ-like in its compassion.
Use the Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation magazine volume 9, Theme Materials, and Companion Resource to create a congregational stewardship emphasis using the I Have Called You Friends theme.