Testimony - Ways to Practice - Ideas

i>I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace
of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way
you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind —
just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you.

— 1 Corinthians 1:4-6

•   Consider kerygma. Kerygma is the Greek work for "proclamation," meaning what is proclaimed as well as the act or proclaiming. Identify several dominant kerygma within our society, the messages that most shape our dreams, expectations, and values? In what form are these messages conveyed?

•   Watch selected television commercials with a group and discuss. Advertising is the platform for much of the public testimony we experience today. Consider:
- What is being sold, and to whom?
- What is the producer using to sell the product?
- What do you suspect this product will in fact do?
- What testimony does this ad give to the values and priorities of our society?

•   Compare your understandings of gossip and testimony. Can you think of times when speech that has been labeled "gossip" might be testimony that has not dared to go public for fear of reprisal?

•   Give testimony from marginal living. Invite people to meet with your group or faith community to give testimony from marginal living (migrant workers, refugees, homeless, ex-convicts, people of color, people on welfare). Where do these people see God active in their lives?

•   Plan for a "testimony" time. Using a recent bulletin, review a "typical" order of worship for your church. Mark places where there is opportunity for testimony - spoken, sung, and nonverbal. Plan for a "testimony" time during worship, connected perhaps to the prayers of the people. Invite members to speak about what they have experienced and seen, to testify to God's activity in their lives.

•   Ask each congregation member to choose a hymn that best expresses his or her faith. Use at least one of these hymns each week in a series of worship services, accompanied by a story of why the hymn is important in the life of the member who chose it.

•   Consider your gathered faith community. Preaching is not simply the personal testimony of the preacher, but is the public testimony for the sake of the gathered faith community. How does your congregation inform this weekly public testimony?

•   Write an epitaph for someone whose living and/or dying has been a testimony of faith. Or begin a goodbye letter for when you die, giving testimony to your faith journey, to your hopes for the future, blessing those you leave behind.

•   Jean Kilbourne is recognized for her pioneering work on alcohol and tobacco advertising and the image of women in advertising. She is best known for her award-winning documentaries Killing Us Softly, Slim Hopes, and Pack of Lies. Kilbourne is author of Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel (2000).

•   Visit The Center for Media Literacy, an organization that provides curriculum and training for analyzing and evaluating the powerful images, words and sounds that make up our contemporary mass media culture.

•   Learn more about the art of preaching by reading the Journal for Preachers. Write a letter in response to your pastor's Sunday sermon. Use the opportunity to testify to your own beliefs as well.

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