I love hearing stories of God doing the miraculous. People being set free from addiction. Incredible financial provision. Supernatural healing. Stories of God’s power breaking into our fragile lives.

Acts 16 is one such story as Paul and Silas, imprisoned in Philippi for freeing a young lady from an evil spirit, experience a violent earthquake that shakes the prison’s foundations, causing the prison doors to fly open and everyone’s chains to come loose. Just imagine being there.

But, just a few years later, there is a very different story as Paul writes to the Philippians, the same people who had witnessed the miraculous prison-break. This time he is under house arrest and in chains. There is no miraculous escape. No apparent divine intervention. I wonder if the church in Philippi was asking, where is the power of God?

I have listened to many evangelistic training sessions over the years, and I have helped train churches around the UK on how we share our faith. One of the most simple and profound methodologies has been helping Christians share their testimony.


Very simply, various training courses help Christians break down their story into three segments: what life was like before knowing Christ, the moment or season they came to faith, and what life is like now. I will often then encourage Christians to practise sharing their stories, keeping them short and succinct.

It’s interesting that, as we edit our stories to keep them short, we often focus on the spectacular and the incredible. We might focus on the moment we experienced God’s power freeing us from a sense of despair, or the moment we experienced the joy of knowing a prayer for a sick loved one had been answered. The problem is that our testimonies then end with something along the lines of, And then I became a Christian and everything has been great”.

In this season, I have been challenged that we need to stop heavily editing our testimonies. I believe we should be more open about the moments when there is an ongoing struggle, otherwise our lives can seem glossy and fake in the midst of a very broken world. This pandemic has shown us all afresh the pain of death, the fear of sickness, the challenge of uncertainty.

If we want to connect with people as we share our stories, so that they may ultimately connect with Christ themselves, let’s stop sweeping the hard knocks of life under the carpet. Let’s stop pretending that we have everything sorted and that we have all the answers. Let’s be honest about the challenges we all endure.

Thinking this through practically, might we benefit from having a new formula’ for how we encourage our congregations to share their testimonies? We could share about before we came to Christ; we could share what happened to bring us into relationship with God; we could share what life is like now; and then we could share how we deal with the brokenness that we witness and experience ourselves.

It’s when we encounter Christ and adopt the bigger narrative of the Christian story, that we come to understand that the world we are living in is not the way it was meant to be. It’s from this position that we share about God’s peace in the storms of life, talk about the comfort we receive when we grieve, and explain that the Psalms give us a template for how we can be real with God even as we experience anguish and sorrow. It’s from this position that we share how we have a hope, despite all the challenges – because in this bigger story we know how it all ends, when every tear is wiped away.

Paul, writing to the church in Philippi, had not seen the power of God breakthrough in such a way that his chains fell off, but even from his cell, he had experienced God’s power as he writes: What has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel” (Philippians 1:13).

"Let’s stop sweeping the hard knocks of life under the carpet."

Great Commission

The Evangelical Alliance’s Great Commission hub exists to help you and your church witness to Jesus. Explore eauk​.it/gc and see how a wide range of stories, tools and initiatives from Share Jesus International and many others can facilitate you as you make Jesus known.