At our recent Annual Conference meeting in Waco, we engaged a series of faith sharing exercises. They are simple tools or exercises that can be used in a Sunday School Class, a United Methodist Women’s group (UMW) or a United Methodist Men’s meeting (UMM). They are designed so that Youth groups can learn to share their faith. Taken together they can help us learn or relearn a central part of our faith sharing in the name of Christ. A good number of people asked about where they could get a copy of these exercises so I am sharing them in this blog. Allow me to encourage you to employ them and pass them on to others.
Exercise #1: Share with another person your answer to the following question: How did Christ become real to you? Reflection: All of us have a meaningful, powerful story to tell. Sharing this story is a basic way of living Acts 1:8.
Exercise #2: On a sheet of paper, write out briefly three things that are central to your Christian faith. Cross out two and share with a neighbor the remaining crucial aspect of the Christian faith in your life. (If time permits, go back and taking turns share the other two.) Reflection: All of us have a working theology [theology means to talk about God] with the ability to share how God in Christ through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit is active in our lives.
Exercise #3: On a sheet of paper, write out briefly three favorite Bible verses in your life. Cross out two and share with a neighbor the remaining verse. (If time permits, go back and taking turns share the other two.) Reflection: All of us have a working body of Scripture that we can share with other. In the sharing, elements of exercise #2 are engaged as well.
Exercise #4: We say ‘Jesus saves’, turn and share with your neighbor and answer the question, just “what does Jesus save me from?” Reflection: This engages us in a heartfelt religious witness in the most natural of ways. It invites others into similar self-reflection and engages us in theologizing together.
Exercise #5: Share with others your answer to the question: What are some of the barriers that keep you from sharing your faith? Reflection: This exercise helps us confront our fears (which are often irrational) and learn to engaging in living the biblical command from Jesus to witness and share our faith.
These are the five exercises we used at Conference. As you engage in them there are a number of others which you will think of. For instance, another exercise might involve sharing your favorite movie scene which had spiritual, moral, or theological point that impacted you. As you share, you will find that others will open up with similar sharing. It is great opening way of safely discussing faith issues. Practice of these and other exercises will give you confidence to share in appropriate and graceful ways will be a great blessing to others.