Sharing my faith story part 3: longer stories

I have been a Christian since I was 8 years old, so my faith story is quite long. It is the story of everything that God has done in my life, but:

  • I don’t tell it every time I meet someone.
  • I don’t tell them everything that has happened.
  • Nor do I tell it to the same people over and over.

Like a fine wine, I keep my faith story to myself until the right moment.

Sometimes I will tell a particular moment that has stood out in my life that has influenced my faith in a big way. Occasionally I will tell the story of how I came to know Jesus. At other times I will paint a broad brushstroke of my life as a Christian.

This is the third article in the faith stories series. The first explained how you could share your faith using your short story. That is something that has happened to you recently. In the second article, I looked at how to discover many short stories.

This article is about your long story. What you might call ‘my faith story.’

The subject of our long story we cover in week 4 of the Talking Jesus Course which we run in the diocese. Why not join us on the next course (currently online but offline is coming again soon.  We will do both!). With others, you will gain the confidence to share your faith in a fun and relaxed atmosphere with others?

‘My faith story’ doesn’t have to be dramatic

Have you ever heard the story of someone who had a grim life before knowing Jesus? It might be because of what others have done to them, or their own life choices. Or because of hard circumstances. Their life is then transformed when they became a Christian. You could have heard the story at a conference, in church, or on YouTube.

Such stories are amazing, and I am so grateful that Jesus steps into the darkest of lives. I have friends who have such stories.

Wonderful as they are, not everyone has such a dramatic story. We should still celebrate such stories. But what if your story is more, what you might call ordinary? You might feel that your story is not worth telling.

I have had people say to me that they are ‘nothing special’. But you are. Jesus thinks you are worth it and died for you. And in the bible, we read ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ (Psalm 139 vs 14). You are truly special and unique.

Your story is YOUR story. One person’s story is not more important than someone else’s.

We all have a story to share. So be encouraged! Your story is worth sharing.

Putting my faith story together: how long should it be?

I tend to go on far too long, so I have had to really think through my faith story so that it doesn’t. Sometimes it can be hard to know what to leave out if you have known Jesus for quite a long time. Or if you feel it right to share more than only the moment when you decided first to follow Jesus.

A rough guide is around 3 minutes – so around 400 words is about right for a story.

What should I say?

Broadly speaking there are two different ways you could approach your faith story. It depends a little on whether you became a Christian earlier or later in life. Or it may be that you have never known a time when you didn’t follow Jesus. The following may help you think it through which is the most appropriate. That said, you don’t have to stick to just one way either, these are just suggestions to help you write your own faith story.

My faith story 1: when you can describe a specific moment you became a follower of Jesus.

In this example (PDF DOWNLOAD) of how I tell my story focusing on the moment I came to faith; I focus on what happened.

There are 3 parts to a simple story. Look for them in the example download.

  • the inciting incident
  • how the solution came
  • how that changed you as a person.

In a Christian faith story, there is one more point.

  • How does what you say point towards the good news and Jesus?

So, for me, ‘God has said I will never leave you or forget you.’ is the verse in the bible which summarises my entire relationship with him.

What might your story point to in the Gospel? What is THE most important bit? If you aren’t sure, why not talk it over with a friend?

As you read this version of my faith story, see if you can identify the key points above in my story.

My Faith Story 2: when you might want to describe your life as a Christian

So, what could you say if you have known Jesus all your life? Choose a moment when God has been especially real to you. Or you might describe when God has ‘been there for you’ when life has been hard.

Another way of looking at it is to think about what the most important part of your relationship with God is. As I have said, for me it is about my friendship with Jesus. For a friend of mine, it is the promises that God makes. For you, it may be the way you can trust him to care for you. Or perhaps something else?

In the bible, we can read Mary’s song: what is called the Magnificat. (Luke chapter 1 verses 46-55). Mary gives her testimony of what God has done for her, and then how her story relates to all those people who are in need of God.

It is a great example of testimony pointing to God.

In these cases, look for a moment in your life, which is a fitting example of what for you is the most important part of following Jesus.

Let’s say that for you the most amazing part of being a Christian is being fully known by God. You might then say,

“I have been a Christian throughout my life, and I could go on about it forever. But the most important thing is God knows me inside and out and knows just what I need before I ask for it. Here is an example that stands out for me…” and then tell your story.

Concluding thoughts

I hope that has helped you as you consider what to say in your own faith story.

Who to contact

Revd Andy Gray, Faith Sharing Enabler