Telling YOUR Faith Story by the Stages (with an example by Mike Johnson)

Before you start, keep in mind:

  1. Each person’s story is unique to their relationship with God. There is no one “right” story.
  2. People come to love God and grow in Him at different rates and in different ways.
  3. There is no need for embarrassment. There’s no stage that’s better or worse than any other stage – what matters is that your faith isn’t stagnant, and you are moving closer to a deep relationship with Christ.
  4. While your complete story might be quite long, for most purposes, your testimony should be quite short – 3-5 minutes.

Developing your faith story:

Now you can begin to create a testimony of your past and current journey through stages of faith. Use the thoughts and questions below to help you.

  1. Brainstorm what experiences have shaped your story and specific events or revelations that moved you into a new stage. Use stories as much as possible.

  2. Determine where you are today in terms of your stage of faith.
  3. Write or type your story. This will help you stay focused.
  4. Use your own creative gifts to develop a word picture, an image, a drawing, or write out the words of a song that symbolizes your unique experience up to this point on your journey of faith.

Helpful Questions for Each Stage

 The list below is meant to assist you in writing your testimony. They are suggested ideas or questions that are meant to prompt you.  Only select one to three prompts from each stage. One option to prevent overwhelm is to use a highlighter to quickly mark the questions that jump out at you.

Stage 1:  Exploring Christ

  1. Describe your life prior to your relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior.
  2. What word or adjective would best describe your relationship with God during this stage of your life?
  3. If you have not yet made a commitment to Christ, what are the questions you are wrestling with?
  4. How did God move in your life to warm you up to the Gospel?
  5. What events in your life caused you to come to faith in Jesus Christ?
  6. What were the circumstances around your coming to faith in Jesus?
  7. When and why did you make a commitment to follow Jesus?

Stage 2:  Growing and Serving in Christ

  1. Describe the most influential practices and people who have influenced growth in knowledge about Christ and your relationship with him.
  2. What word or adjective would best describe your relationship with God during this stage of your life?
  3. Who and what have you confidently relied on for answers to faith questions?
  4. Who makes up your significant circle for friendship, encouragement and what impact have they had on your faith journey?
  5. What are your spiritual gifts and how are they in play in your life and faith community?
  6. Who are the spiritual heroes and heroines that you follow?
  7. Where do you experience a sense of accomplishment in your spiritual life?
  8. When have you accepted a spiritual responsibility in a community?
  9. Are you working on any particular spiritual goals?


Stage 3:  Journeying deeper in Christ

  1. Have you experienced a significant faith or life crisis that has shaken your sense of spiritual well-being?
  2. Describe how your image of God changed from earlier times?
  3. If you felt like your faith was falling apart, describe how or what was causing it.
  4. Have you experienced a nagging search of personal meaning? How? When?
  5. Have you lived with a deep sense that there has to be something “more than this” in your spiritual life, or experience of God?
  6. Can you describe a “dark night of the soul” experience?


Stage 4:  Abiding in Christ

  1. Describe how you are experiencing God’s presence and guidance in all aspects of life.
  2. Have you sensed a new, more focused sense of calling or ministry?
  3. What word or adjective would best describe your relationship with God during this stage of your life?
  4. When have you been given more energy or stamina than you’d had previously to survive a crisis, illness, growth time (and not experienced burnout)?
  5. Do you have a glimpse of God’s purpose (vocation, call, ministry) for your life?
  6. How are you detached from self and the world and attached to God?

Congratulations! You’ve completed a very important step towards sharing your faith story to honor God and encourage others.

We encourage you to prayerfully consider sharing your story in a safe, intimate group of friends. Doing so will help you understand your own journey more richly and your shared vulnerability will open you to deeper, spiritual friendships.

If you are feeling bold, we’d love to see your faith stories online! Share a video or written story with the hashtag #MyFaithStory and tag us @ascendingleader (Twitter) or @ascendingleaders (Facebook) so we can celebrate your story with you!

Highpoint Bonus: Rachel Young on the biggest challenge facing the church today

spiritual-friendship-coverInterested in learning more about spiritual friendship? We recommend Mindy Caliguire’s excellent book on the subject.

Spiritual Friendship introduces you to principles of friendship that bring focus to your spiritual life. You’ll discover what it takes to have a rich, God-centered relationship that will nourish your soul. You use this book in small chunks of daily reading, covering the whole book in the course of four weeks. Also included are four guided group discussions for use with a small group or a spiritual friend.

#StartWithaSmile at for your holiday gifts and Amazon donates to Ascending Leaders.

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DiscipleshipDare: John 21 Imaginative Entry


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“You’re Not Alone, Rachel”

An Interview with Rachel Young, Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation6 mission icons
Clear Lake Presbyterian Church, Houston, TX

Rachel Young profile

Seven years ago, Rachel and Josh Young received a phone call during their honeymoon that would lead them from Hollywood to Houston. As newlyweds and recent graduates of Fuller Seminary, they had been praying for an opportunity to minister in the same church. So when the call turned out to be a job offer for Josh from Clear Lake Presbyterian in Houston, and there was a position open for Rachel as well, it felt like a blessing from God. They both still serve at Clear Lake, though their roles have changed over the years and Rachel has shifted to a part-time position with a focus on adult discipleship in order to spend time with their just-turned-one son, Ezekiel.

Rachel first crossed paths with Ascending Leaders three years ago, during a time of significant burn-out. At work, she was lost in the middle of a visioning process at church that was getting bigger and bigger, to the point where the process became entirely overwhelming. It seemed like they were maintaining a lot of “stuff”, without knowing way. In short, she felt stuck—personally and in leadership. Read More ““You’re Not Alone, Rachel””

Mike’s Note – 2016 Fall Highpoint

Dear friend,

At 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday this past June I was standing on moist gumbo (clay) between the floor joists of a mobile home in 95ᵒ heat/75% humidity, cutting away muddy insulation clinging to the joists. Others had already spent over a day ripping out the drywall and insulation. This is what those in the flood relief world call “mucking.” It’s what is left to do after the Brazos River, which meanders through the county my family has called home for the last 26 years, floods 5 feet higher than ever before.

I drank as often as I could get a break to stay hydrated, and struggled with many thoughts that ran through my mind. The enormity of the recovery task—1,600 homes, and just this one home required a full day with a crew of seven. The sheer heat; I wouldn’t normally mow my own lawn in this heat. The realization that these people had lost their home and all its contents, with no time to prepare. The temptation to judge the owners for not purchasing flood insurance on their homes…of course even if they had, they likely could not find quality contractors to do the work before black mold set in.

Later I found out that this trailer had been home for a retired couple who had raised their family here. They shared with us their story of 40 years of work fixing up this trailer, one major project at a time. Their insurance company, after all these years, recently stopped covering mobile homes. They were meaning to find a new flood insurance company, but had not gotten around to it—so much energy had gone into insurance work surrounding critical health issues.

Amidst all this physical need around us, is also the acute need for churches, disciples and leaders across the U.S. and around the world to flourish. When not mucking out houses, we have been responding to requests from Arizona, various parts of Houston, Michigan, California, Georgia and other states to help churches. Read the Fall Highpoint to see how you can make use of Ascending Leaders’ help or how you can help us help churches, disciples and leaders flourish.

In His service,






Dr. Mike Johnson, Founder and Executive Director


DiscipleshipDare: John 21 Imaginative Entry

North American evangelical Christians live in a culture that doesn’t encourage the use of imagination in our spiritual lives. This is changing as more churches begin using drama, dance and an array of music and other art forms which all engage the imagination. But the current “intellectual” approach has deprived us of a powerful tool that God has placed in us for knowing and worshipping Him. Using imagination to experience a Biblical story is a method first developed by Ignatius of Loyola. He encouraged his friends to imagine what they would see, hear, smell, touch or taste if they had been present in the Biblical scene.

The title “Imaginative Entry into Scripture” gives away the heart of this approach to meditation. We use our imagination to insert ourselves into the story. An easy way is to imagine that we are one of the characters in the story. Then follow Ignatius’ suggestions to “see, hear . . .” the story as that character. It is possible to be even more creative. For example, one might imagine what it is to be the storyteller or the recipient listening to the story in the ancient context, or a bystander observing the scene. It should be noted that this approach is most effective when the passage is a narrative with characters and interaction.

Mike: When I am introducing groups of people to “imaginative entry”, I often use the passage John 21:1-14. At times I have imagined myself as Peter and other times as John, Jesus, one of the other disciples or someone on the shore witnessing this all. Each time, God has seemed to have something a little different that He wants to say to me. One participant shared with me that God was calling her to make a change in her actions—to fish on the other side of the boat. Another heard God saying it was time he jumped into the water of life. The possibilities for the way God can use this passage to speak to your situation are endless.


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