Witnesses

What is the Sharing Your Faith Story Ministry?

By Nancy Ward

In 1 Peter 3:15-16a we find our inspiration, motivation, encouragement and mission statement: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence.” (NABRE)

Why share your faith story?

  1. As baptized Christians we are anointed to be evangelists.
  2. Each of us is an unrepeatable expression of God’s presence in the world, with a unique story.
  3. The most effective method of evangelization is personal witness.
  4. We bring God’s presence to others through our story – and we bring them HOPE in a world that is losing hope.
  5. We encourage others tremendously—and ourselves because we are doing what we were created to do – proclaim the greatness of the Lord!
  6. Sharing our Faith Story is a big part of our continuous conversion that lasts a lifetime. Our story can be a big or little step in the continuous conversion of others.

How did Sharing Your Faith Story Ministry come about? Through prayer and journaling, I developed my faith story. I discovered three components of my faith story that apply to stories of conversion and renewal, as well as returning to the Church, healings and miracles. I wrote my story with three guidelines:

  1. Who were you before your conversion, renewal, healing or miracle happened?
  2. What God-moment happened to change you? Connect with the moment when your first met Jesus as your Savior and he loved you.
  3. Who are you now? How has your life changed?

To my written story I added some compelling reasons to tell my conversion story and my renewal story. I ended with Ten Tips for Sharing a Faith Story.

I presented it for a dozen women in my parish to critique, and changes were made.

Then we video recorded it for Catholic Conference for Catholic Mothers online conference.

Terry McDowell knew about it and soon arranged for a Women’s Forum on March 25, 2015, for the women of CCGD.

That day, on my way to Mount St. Michael, as I reviewed my presentation, that voice was back. The one who directed me to create the PTL newsletter 40 years ago. The voice I’ve heard a few other times. This time, it said, “Your not going to Mount St. Michael to give a couple of talks, you’re going to launch a new ministry.”

Do I did, surprising everyone -- myself the most!

The talks went well. In the workshop, during the breaks, the women begin to share their faith stories, confirming the message of the Holy Spirit. I was amazed!

I knew that the home base for Sharing Your Faith Story Seminars was CCGD. That’s where it would be tested. That’s where it needs to be. God’s message is to be supported, fanned out to the pastoral areas, share groups and ministries.

We produced a DVD as a three-part seminar for evangelization. We placed it on Amazon.com with a two-week blog tour and launched it locally through KATH at Sacred Heart Book Store.

We have 100% support from our coordinators. Each coordinator has a DVD to use in his area.

The Men’s Forum Feb 7, 2016, completed Phase I of the Sharing Your Faith Story Ministry Community-wide.

Most of you are now familiar with the basics of the ministry.

Many of you have experienced the fruit and joy of sharing your faith story in this way.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

Phase II – test and practice within our CCGD home base

  1. Familiarize yourself with the seminar and discern the best way to put this ministry into practice in your share group or Bible study.
  2. Clarify your faith story. Prayerfully use three questions to write it, organize it and prioritize experiences and events. This is precious time with Holy Spirit!
  3. View the video in your pastoral area. Alone or in a group, review the three parts of the DVD and use the written handouts. Discuss, practice and coach each other to give your conversion or renewal story.
  4. Practice your one-of-a-kind elevator speech with your share group, friends and among your ministry co-workers.
  5. Be ready to share with anyone, anywhere by knowing how to express how God worked in your life—and share it clearly and succinctly in a few minutes.
  6. Get help. Call on me for help in answering questions, shaping your story, providing handouts.
  7. Just do it! Be ready to give a ten-minute witness at Sunday Community Gatherings.

WHERE WE ARE GOING WITH THIS – Phase II prepares us for

Phase III – Taking SYFS Beyond CCGD Confident in the Lord, excited to share story – Some of you may be at this point now and ready to go!

  1. Publish your witness. Send your written story to ptleditor@verizon.net for posting on godsdelight.org
  2. Host a seminar. An area, Share Group or SLC can host a seminar for a parish or Catholic group. Join with others in your parish or combine two or more parishes, Bible study groups, ministry groups.
  3. Give talks. One or several of you can give the talks. Or I can do the basic talks with your witness to illustrate conversion or renewal.
  4. Let’s partner - I’ll take care of all the resources for presenting the seminar. As host, you would coordinate seminar within your group or parish.

This is a lot of information about a new outreach for our Community. Two important resources to help you right now:

  1. Sharing Your Faith Story Ministry Information Guide
  2. Flyer to promote Sharing Your Faith Story outreach in your parish or Catholic organization (available from Nancy)

What this new ministry needs:

Prayer warriors

People to prepare their story, practice it and be ready to share

Leaders to bring a support team together to host a seminar in their parishes and other ministry groups.

People to promote the seminars in parishes and Catholic groups by talking about it and distributing flyers. You can participate in this ministry by giving a flyer to your pastor, a Deacon, the Faith Formation Director, Bible Study leader or leaders of renewal groups such as ACTS or CHRP in your parish.

I invite you experience the Joy of sharing your faith story. Join me in holding high the banner that reads:

“Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence.”

Please put Sharing Your Faith Story Ministry on your prayer list. Thank you!

MINISTRY UPDATE: Since May 15, 2016, we've had a Ten-Minute Witness at the close of almost every prayer meeting each Sunday. The experience of clarifying our faith story and sharing it publicly has enriched the faith of the speakers profoundly while encouraging and building up the members of the body of Christ celebrating with us. Those talks and other CCGD witness stories are accesses in the link below:

More Witnesses