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15 results for Testimony
article
Creating a Congregational Culture of Validation
This article reveals how validation fosters flourishing congregations and lists three ways leaders can infuse validation into congregational life.
For The CRG Created For The CRG
The Formative Power of Your Congregation

Many elements make you the person you are. You are shaped by your race, your geographic location, and your genetic structure. Your personality is formed by your family, your friends, and the choices you make along the way. You are influenced by education, social affiliations and friendships.

All of us are formed by the company we keep. The company we keep includes the congregation you attend. Whether you are aware of it or not, the activities of your congregation create certain thoughts, feelings and behaviors that make you who you are. In this way, your congregation has formative power.

Life together
I was reminded of the importance of being part of a religious community when a clergy person described a project happening in his congregation. He told me about a booklet being produced by the staff called Rule of Life. The Rule of Life is a guidebook outlining what it means to be part of the congregation.

The pastor says, “We want to encourage people to live a certain way of life.” Part of the guidebook is written as a catechism with answers to be learned and recited. Other parts of the guide describe specific practices in which one participates as a member of the congregation: at noon every day we are going to pray this Psalm.

If you read Psalm 23 every day, that Psalm is going to become part of who you are. The virtue of trust represented in the lines of the Psalm will more likely become part of your heart, mind and soul.

What elements are most formative in a congregation?
Of course, it depends on the particular congregation. I have observed and experienced the following activities having a positive impact on adherents:


  • Testimony, telling the story of their lives

  • Religious practices, particularly worship, prayer, singing, study of scripture, and rites of passages or sacraments

  • Reflection on practice: not just doing things but thinking about their impact with others

  • Relationships including across generations

  • Liminal experiences: pilgrimages, mission trips, cross-cultural experiences, spiritual retreats

Sharing stories
Here is an exercise to consider doing with a congregational board, team or class.

Remember a time when a congregational experience formed or reinforced a positive attribute in you. Write down the experience. Take turns sharing the stories out loud. Listeners are invited to ask open, curious questions to enhance group reflection. What themes are evident? What further growth might the congregation support?

Resources you can use
To consider this subject more, look at these resources: the books In Search of Wisdom, Community: The Structure of Belonging, and Living into Community.

 

book
Blessed Are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness, Family and Church
Based off the author's personal experience with mental illness in her family, this resource offers a sobering and encouraging testimony.
book
Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community
This resource presents the testimony of young activists and local clergy who joined forces in the wake of Ferguson, illustrating examples of moral influence and personal courage.
book
Hope For Children In Poverty: Profiles and Possibilities
This collection of essays, testimonies, and reflections offer inspirational and practical tools for congregations and individuals who feel compelled to fight against poverty.
book
Lives Entrusted: An Ethic of Trust for Ministry
This resource looks at topics such as misconduct, authenticity, testimony, vulnerability, and power within the context of trust --- how clergy and laity can build trust with intentionality and purpose.
web resource
Communities of Calling Website
The Collegeville Institute at St. John’ s School of Theology offers resources and programs to help people think about their individual callings (to people, places and work).
media
A New State of Mind - Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness
This hour-long documentary details the stories of everyday people while breaking through the silence, shame, and stigma related to mental illness.
organization
The Inner City Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru)
This organization partners with inner-city churches to develop new disciples while addressing the material needs of inner-city community members through resources and training.
media
Pentecost Journey DVD - A Planning Guide for Non-Hispanic/Latino Congregations
This comprehensive program is aimed at helping churches become more intentional with outreach to Hispanic and Latino cultures.
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