Let’s face it: life at BBC has changed! By this I mean in particular our decision to have Communion every Sunday evening (except on the final Sunday of the month) and our decision to move away from a centralised Wednesday evening meeting in favour of Grace Groups. These decisions have resulted in some appreciable change—specifically with reference to the flow of personal information that we were accustomed to receiving by way of personal testimonies.
Announcements regarding engagements for marriage and pregnancy, as well as other bits of encouraging news and information regarding specific prayer needs, used to be shared weekly on Sunday nights as people felt moved and were afforded opportunity during testimony times. These were special, and one would often be moved to tears—both of joy and compassion—as family members shared their lives with the household of faith.
This no longer happens—or at least not with the same sense of spontaneity and vibrancy it once enjoyed. The reason for this is explicit and obvious: We only have opportunity for public testimonies once a month now. Time during worship services is always limited, especially since as a congregation we like and appreciate the worship value of our special music items, and because we see value in being determined to hand over to the preaching of the Word by 6:30 PM on a Sunday.
So, how can we remedy this loss of public testimonies? One suggestion is that we make provision for it during the 5:30 PM prayer meeting before our Sunday evening worship service. The majority of the family are present then, and such bits of information can fuel our passionate prayers.
The second suggestion is that by a natural and socially intuitive process, such news will be shared in the Grace Group setting and can be sent out into the wider church community by emailing the details to Stuart for inclusion in the Friday BBC Weekly Roundup.
The third suggestion is to allow, in the interests of authentic body ministry as per 1 Corinthians 14:26 and Ephesians 5:20, for the freedom to be given for someone who has some news to share that they know will be God-glorifying and edifying and encouraging for the church family, to approach the elders before the service and request an opportunity at some suitable moment to bring their word of testimony from their seat. The prerequisite here is that the person must take the initiative to arrange this before the service. Such courageous conviction will itself enhance the testimony given.
The bottom line is that we are indeed interested in everyone’s news, but the testimony times that we had grown accustomed to have largely, of necessity, fallen away.