In Spring 2019, the Luther Seminary community designed an experiment called Why Jesus?, a practice that helps Christians learn to share personal stories of faith as well as listen deeply to others.
Use this practice with congregations, adult forums, small groups, confirmation classes, and even informal gatherings of friends. Groups can be as small as three-four and as large as 30-50.
Why Jesus? is an excellent way to engage the following topics or goals:
- Community building
- Formation of Christian faith and identity
- Deep listening
Why Jesus? sessions can be comfortably completed within an hour.
- Gather a group together. This can be an adult forum or small group, or even something totally informal. Plan at least a few gatherings. Bonus: serve food!
- Begin with prayer. Ask someone to start off right by thanking God for those gathered and praying for the Holy Spirit’s presence.
- Each time you gather, ask one person to speak. Have them prepare a 15-20 minute testimony answering two questions: Why am I a Christian? What difference does Jesus make in my life?
- Get into groups of two or three and reflect together. Choose one question and go deep for about 15 minutes: What caught your imagination in the story you heard? Where did you see God at work in the storyteller’s life? What difference did Jesus make in your life this week?
- Come back together and share. Convene the larger group again for ten minutes to talk about the experience. Answer the question, What was this like to do?
- Hear podcasts of several of the testimonies shared at Luther Seminary. Speakers include Alan Padgett, Dwight Zscheile, Rolf Jacobson, Kelly Sherman Conroy, Katie Langston, Dave Scherer, Seth Biwul, and Lois Malcolm.
- Copy this infographic (below) that walks you through the entire practice.