This post is by Chris Smith, a Campus Ministry Intern at St. Mary's. He and the other interns are guest blogging for us during Lent.
Over the past four years of my life I have staffed and attended numerous college and high school retreats. Over the course of the retreats there is always some type of witness sharing (also known as a testimony) whether it is attached to a talk or shared in a small group. The purpose of a witness is to tell about our faith in Christ and how He has helped change our lives. The amazing thing about a witness is that no one can argue against your experience. It is your experience with Christ and therefore cannot be rebutted. We are called to share our witness with those we encounter in daily life.
Below is a guideline of how to formulate your own personal witness:
Before: Give a short explanation of how your life was before you turned to God. Keep this part very brief and make sure not to glorify the sin or past life. Give all the glory to God!
How: Pinpoint the specific event and experience with Christ and how He impacted/changed your life.
After: Share how your life is different after your encounter with Christ. Give insight into something you learned during the experience or offer a challenge that will help you and others grow.
1. Remember to keep your witness to 2-3 minutes
2. Pray/reflect on the experience with Christ
3. Be confident in sharing your witness with others
If we take it one step further, we should challenge ourselves to have a new witness experience every couple of days. So Christ has not only changed my life during my freshmen year of high school, but continues to show me His amazing presence each and every day. Our relationship with Christ does not come from just one conversion, but a continual daily acceptance of His love, forgiveness, and graces.
Below is a brief example of a daily witness.
Yesterday my life seemed to be stretched in ten different directions. I was late for class, was assigned an intense group project, was trying to meet a deadline for work, and had five other things on my “to-do” list that needed to be completed by the end of the week. Needless to say I was not in the best mood and was allowing my negativity to take control of my day.
In the middle of my grey afternoon, I ran into one of my friends as I was rushing to class. She asked how my day was going and I could tell joy was radiating from her heart. Her joy was so contagious and she soon brought a smile to my face. God used my friend as His instrument to bring His joy into my “crazy” life.
After my experience of receiving God’s joy, my attitude towards my day quickly changed. I began to thank God for the gift of the beautiful weather, the blessing of my education, and the gift of friendship. I realized that even in the stressful, crazy times in life, God is always there to pick us up and remind us of His love for us. “Let everything that has breath give praise to the LORD!” (Psalm 150)
Let us challenge ourselves to always be praying/reflecting on our daily witness of Christ. He is always present in our lives, and if the opportunity arises, we are called to share our witness with others.
“Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16