Stories of faith are compelling. Recent studies show that seekers and believers alike need to hear a friend’s faith story to help them encounter Christ or encounter him again in a new and more personal way. People are more willing to listen and be convinced by personal witness than by intellectual rationale.Pope Francis wrote in The Joy of the Gospel, “what you have come to realize, what has helped you to live and given you hope, is what you also need to communicate to others” (121).
When we share how God is working in our lives—how God has helped us through a difficult time—we give witness to the power of his mercy and unconditional love.
Stories of faith can be told in different settings:
- One-on-one: Each of us is on a faith journey, with experiences that have been uniquely touched by God’s grace through the power of the Holy Spirit. Each of these are potential witness stories that can reveal the Gospel alive in our lives. When we share these stories, we engage in what Pope Francis calls “the informal preaching which takes place in the middle of a conversation.” This kind of impromptu witnessing can be very powerful.
- In a group: Small faith-sharing groups are especially powerful settings for preparing and encouraging people to talk about their faith. With the mutual support of their small group, members become comfortable telling their faith stories to others within the group. This confidence can encourage members to speak with family, friends, and to speak in larger parish settings like retreats and parents’ meetings.
- In the community: Every parish also has a faith story to tell via word and action. Our witness in the civic community through outreach to people in need and advocacy for justice makes Christ visibly present to one and all.
Parish leaders can help parishioners develop their personal stories of faith, help them grow in confidence to tell those stories, and create opportunities to share their stories with others. It is just as important that the parish story be told as Good News in the broader community.
Want to learn more? View Sr. Terry Rickard's webinar with tips about how to tell your personal faith story.