The way I read the Bible, there’s a death to life moment in every Christian’s life – from God’s point of view. From our perspective, however, that change may be crystal-clear, or it can be a little blurry.
In the course of their college ministry experience, it’s common (or should be) for your students’ testimonies to come up. This may happen most often in sharing one’s testimony publicly or in small groups, but they may also tell their personal Jesus story when celebrating spiritual birthdays (as I discussed Friday) or talking about their faith with their leaders.
But not all of our Christian collegians are certain of the exact date they came to Christ, nor does everybody remember the entire story (including what they were like before their conversion). For some, the “change” itself might seem rather blurry: They weren’t drug dealers at the age of 6, so finding Jesus at the age of 7 might not have seemed to produce incredible life-change. Some students’ timelines may be ambiguous altogether: “Did it really happen back then, or when I ‘re-accepted Christ’ as a teenager?”
So it’s wise and kind for us not to leave any of these folks out as we speak of testimonies and conversions. And we can help our students not legalistically worry about unimportant details. Here are some quick thoughts on handling this common issue:
- Don’t hide this as an issue. Help people see the unnecessary parts of their Jesus story, as well as the vital parts.
- Highlight the fact that their present faith is the most important thing. If they’re presently a Christian, then they’re presently a Christian.
- Help the people with “less dramatic” testimonies to see two things: (1) Their testimony is still true, and they don’t need to shy away from telling God’s work in their lives exactly as it happened. (2) Their testimony is extremely dramatic from a spiritual point of view! Whether at 4 or at 40 or at 104, every single Christian has gone from imminent wrath and walking death to friendship with God and life life life!
- If you want to help students commemorate their conversion (like I’ve been discussing) but they don’t know the date, just have ’em pick a date! They can still annually celebrate their “Rebirth Recognition Day,” regardless of whether it’s the true date. (That’s what we do with Jesus’ birthday at Christmas, right? If it’s good enough for Him…)
- This whole discussion may open opportunities to help students be assured of their standing before God. That’s a good thing!
The blurry pic at the top was taken from a moving car at OU (the Oklahoma one). And I blurred it a little bit more.