This past Sunday, after a year of special preparation, five teen-aged young ladies professed their faith publicly at Sycamore Reformed Presbyterian Church. Centering my preaching on Isaiah 44:3-5, where God promises the outpouring of His Spirit upon the children of believers, I reminded the congregation that what we were witnessing in these covenant youth was a powerful working of God. Though these young ladies have grown up in nurturing homes, my theme was that "the church needs to learn to anticipate and celebrate in the protective salvation of covenant youth in the same way it rejoices over a dramatic conversion." These young people were not justified by their family nor by their age. Rather, they have been justified by faith in Christ as the Spirit of God has worked in their lives according to His promises.
Because young people growing up in the church often have difficulty expressing their testimony, as the "normal" testimony paradigm is of a dramatic conversion, we have put together a "Covenant Child Testimony" worksheet to help them. Through interviewing their parents and looking at God's work through generations, it is designed to help them identify God's active influences in their own lives. We were greatly blessed hearing the testimonies of the five ladies who worked through this. I thought I would share below this worksheet in the hope it might encourage others.
When in the name of the Triune God we baptized these young ladies years ago as infants of believers, God was placing His name on them. In essence, God was saying, "You belong to me. I have put you in a Christian home and in the church. Thus, you are to walk in the way of your parents and inherit the blessings of My kingdom. You are to grow up and one day call upon Me. You are not to view Me as only the God of your parents, but as your Lord and God." That is what we witnessed Sunday. These young ladies were speaking from their hearts the words found in Isaiah, "I am the Lord's!"
How exciting is that! Centuries-old prophecy fulfilled right before our eyes!
COVENANT CHILD TESTIMONY _(For those whom Christ placed in a Christian home) _
Introduction to a covenant testimony. If you were brought up in a faithful Christian family, you may not remember the exact time of your conversion. You may even think that your testimony is “not as exciting” as one who was dramatically converted out of a godless lifestyle. Yet remember that God was working in your life even before you were born. As He tells us in Deuteronomy 10:15, “Yet on your fathers did the LORD set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you_ _above all peoples, as it is this day.”
Interview of Parents. The Scripture above from Deuteronomy reminds us that God can and does work through families and generations. Talking to your parents can help you to prepare a faithful testimony of God’s work in your life. Set up an interview with your parents and ask them the following questions:
1. Briefly explain how you became a Christian.** 2. ****What evidence are you aware of that God was working in the generations of our family before us?** ** 3. ****Have you seen evidence that Jesus Christ has saved me from my sin? What do you see?** ** 4. ****What are some definitive moments in my life when you have seen me learn to trust Christ and walk with Him?** ** 5. ****Do you think I am ready for the responsibility of coming to the Lord’s Table? Why?**
Personal Review of Your Life. Now jot down things that come to mind with regard to these subjects:** 1. ****Memories you have of the Christian training in your home (“We had family worship every night,” “We saw the Lord answer our prayers,” “We memorized Scriptures”). ** ** 2. ****Struggles with sin that Christ is helping you overcome, particularly ways you have seen yourself become less self-centered and more Christ-centered.** ** 3. ****Significant verses that God has used in your life.**
Writing of your testimony. Using the ideas gathered above, write out your story in such a way that a listener could understand how God saved you and what it means to believe. Try to keep this story around 5 minutes in length. Put in details that help aid the story, but avoid too many details that clutter it up.