“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.” Psalm 66:16
I read a book years ago called Almost Christian by Kenda Creasy Dean that made me realize something: We have been quickly losing the ability and skill of articulating our story with Jesus. How has Jesus saved us? What has Jesus saved us from? In what actual ways has Jesus set us free and changed our lives?
Sure, we may know the gist of it when we say He saved us from our sins and from death. Those are amazing truths that we should never take lightly. But as you look at your journey with Jesus, let me ask you, how has He saved you? What is your testimony?
Our testimonies are powerful tools in evangelism, and if we do not know how to share our stories to others, then we are limiting ourselves in ushering the Kingdom of Jesus in our homes, city, and world.
Last September, we went on a staff retreat where we prayed, dreamed, and meditated about where God was leading us to in the future of GPBC.
At the retreat we opened up our Bibles to Matthew 9:9-13 when Jesus called Matthew to follow him. After calling Matthew, Jesus sat around the table with sinners and tax collectors. As a staff, we asked questions like what did we observe in the text? Who was at the table with Jesus? Who wasn’t at the table? What did Jesus say he came to do? How can we lead our church to be like Jesus in this story?
In this rich discussion, we felt God was telling us as Jesus followers to use our tables as a means of evangelism, inviting people both in and outside the church to break bread with us, and at the same time, accepting invitations to be around other tables when we are invited.
The invitation to the table is a good start but there is more that needs to happen around the table, isn’t there? A question we wrestled with was how can we simplify mission and equip our church to be missionaries in their homes, city, and world. That is what leads us to the first half of the year for GPBC.
Our desire at GPBC is to help people follow Jesus together. How we are going to do that over the next few months is to have times of equipping each month on the Art of Telling Our Story to learn how to articulate how Jesus has saved and freed us. (The first being after church on Feburary 26.) Then how do we use our testimonies and the gospel to impact our homes, our city, and our world.
We will also have a Night of Testimony for some to share how God is moving in their lives and to celebrate Jesus in those stories on March 1.
To practice ourselves, each week to start staff meeting, when the new year began, a different team member has been sharing their testimony with the rest of the team. It has been amazing to hear all the different ways God has saved each one of us!
Here is my encouragement to you: Invite someone to your table. Break bread with them. Share your story and hear theirs. There is something spiritual about breaking bread around the table with others.
How many times did we see Jesus around the table? Who was Jesus around the table with? Remember the spiritual conversations He had around the table? (Check out John 13-17)
GPBC, in 2023, let our goal be to share our story of Jesus with people around our tables. Let us be a people that invites others in our homes and into the life of Jesus.