Testimony (July 29)

John 4:28-30, 39-42

Comment


There are many levels of storytelling in this chapter of the Bible. On the one hand we have the disciples. In this story, the disciples have been in town themselves, but the Scripture doesn’t mention that they bring anyone from the community to meet Jesus. Don’t you wonder what kinds of stories the disciples were telling—or not telling—while they were in town? On the other hand, Jesus uses storytelling to reach the woman. In turn, the woman uses storytelling to reach her community and context. Thus, the story ends with a response to the woman’s story. She uses her story to get them to come meet Jesus.

(Jeffrey A. Johnson, Got Style? Personality-Based Evangelism, Judson Press, 2009, p. 65)

Anytime, Anywhere: Sharing Faith Jesus Style

William Turner has a chapter in his book on Jesus’ encounter with the Woman at the Well (chapter 2).

Reading the Scripture


Here are some ways you might read the scripture or tell the story:

•    Audio:
o    The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible (“presented by a stellar ensemble of today’s top-name actors, musicians, clergy, directors, and award-winning producers.” Available from Keith).
o    Faith Comes by Hearing: You’ve Got the Time (Dramatized New Testament we used a few years ago during Lent. Available in the church office.)

•    Video:
o    The Gospel of John: The Visual Bible (Dramatized video movie, word for word from the NIV text. The Gospel of John is the best of the visual Bible series. Available from Keith or this web page).
o    WatchWord Bible, New Testament on DVD is available in the library. (These videos display and read the text in Contemporary English Version with background pictures, video and sound. Not exactly dramatized or all that exciting, but could be another way to read the text.)

Teaching Suggestions

•    The Formations Study Guide mentions a Tony Campolo story about a birthday party for a prostitute. This is a terrific and moving story and one of my all time favorites. Everyone should hear Tony Campolo tell it. A clip is posted on the webpage.

•    Share testimonies
o    Share your testimony with the class.
o    Invite class members to share testimonies.
o    Ask the class to pair up and share testimonies with each other.
o    When you hear testimonies and faith stories that should be shared with the congregation (worship, prayer meeting, newsletter, etc.) let us know.

•    Consider allowing time for class members to write their testimonies. Becoming a Contagious Christian (pp. 50-52) offers an outline and questions that could help your class members write their testimonies:
Before Christ
1.    Where were you spiritually before receiving Christ, and how did that affect you—your feelings, attitudes, actions, and relationships?
2.    What caused you to begin considering God/Christ as a solution to your needs?
Conversion
3.    What realization did you come to that finally motivated you to receive Christ?
4.    Specifically, how did you receive Christ?
After Conversion
5.    How did your life begin to change after you trusted Christ?
6.    What others benefits have you experienced since becoming a Christian?

•    Evangelism Styles: “Suggestions for Using and Developing this Style” (from Becoming a Contagious Christian: Participant’s Guide, p. 30) - Testimonial
o    Practice so you will be able to tell your story without hesitation.
o    Keep Christ and the Gospel message as the centerpiece of your story. This is an account of how He changed your life.
o    Keep your story fresh by adding new and current illustrations from your daily walk with Christ.

•    Concentric Circles of Concern: Use the Concentric Circles of Concern to help class members identify person within their sphere of influence with whom they could share their testimonies (See attached sheet from the first session).

Resources

I have set aside a shelf in the library with resources for Sunday School teachers. I will place there resources of general interest and some specifically applicable to current lessons.

•    For additional commentary on the text see these commentaries in our library:
o    Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
o    Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)

•    Evangelism Resources:
o    Anytime, Anywhere: Sharing Faith Jesus Style, William L. Turner (Judson Press, 1997) see chapter 2, “At a Rest Stop”
o    Becoming a Contagious Christian, Bill Hybels & Mark Mittleberg (Zondervan, 1994)
o    Becoming a Contagious Christian: Participant’s Guide, Mark Mittleberg, Lee Stobel & Bill Hybels (Zondervan, 1995)
o    Got Style? Personality-Based Evangelism, Jeffrey A. Johnson (Judson Press, 2009)
o    Concentric Circles of Concern: From Self to Others Through Life-Style Evangelism, W. Oscar Thompson, Jr. with Carolyn Thompson (Nashville, Broadman Press, 1981)