In a short biographical work on Robert Murray M’Cheyne, the Scottish preacher (who died at 29), Andrew Bonar, wrote this about him: “His preaching was in a manner the development of his soul’s experience. It was a giving out of the inward life.”
In Koinonia, during our weekly service, we have a time dedicated to Testimonies, or, as we sometimes call it, Sharing your story. During this time we invite people to share with the fellowship what God has done in their lives during the week. We also encourage them to share prayer requests, answered prayers, the joys and the sorrows of their walk
with Christ – in a city like Aalborg, especially for a student who believes in Christ, who loves Christ and pursues holiness, the challenges are many.
So … why does Koinonia believe that this is an important time during the service, and why do we do it?
In 1 Thesallonians 5:11 Pauls says: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” The author of Hebrews says in Hebrews 10:24: “… let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works …” Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:26: “When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” Paul again in Romans 14:19: ” … let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Or Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Koinonia, just like Paul and the author of Hebrews, believes in the mutual upbuilding of the members in the body. We believe, that as professing christians, we all have something to share. We believe in the power of encouragement and in the strength that is contained in stirring up one another to love and good works.
Just as Andrew Bonar was writing about Robert Murray M’Cheyne, we believe that what we share with one another are the riches of our soul, the riches that Christ has laid there, through his Word and His Spirit. It is from our “inward life” that we share, from the soul’s experience, as Bonar called it. It is out of the riches of our heart that we speak, that we encourage, that we bring a word to our brothers and sisters.
Koinonia believes in the importance of testimonies because they open hearts and minds, they move the affections to new territories, make us acknowledge challenges that we have not yet encountered, or joys that we have also, so vividly, experienced, testimonies remind us that we are not alone, and that we should not be alone. Only iron can sharpen iron, and so we are reminded that we need to be sharpened. We are reminded in new ways of the grace of God and His love. We are reminded that even though challenges are many, we are to rejoice in the midst of them. Testimonies should stir us to pray more. They should stir us to think of others more. They should push us to speak to each other more, and more often. And, since I mentioned the inner riches, testimonies should make us enrich our souls with grace and Word so that we would be stewards, good stewards for others of these riches of Christ. Testimonies are one of the best tools to point the eyes of brothers and sisters towards the cross and towards heaven.
Probably the words to best describe the weight and the importance of testimonies in Koinonia are found in what Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 :
“… being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”
So, we invite you every Sunday, at 17:00 o’clock, at Karmel Baptistkirken, Petersborgvej 35B, to come and Share your story.