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Learn to Testify and Tell your own God Story

Australian Christian author and speaker Naomi Reed loves storytelling. After returning from Nepal, where she and her husband Darren were missionaries for six years, Naomi began a speaking ministry in Australian churches, telling the same message of the Gospel in a new way.

“I became aware of a bit of a ‘ho hum’ attitude towards the Bible stories, and that Christians were a bit bored with the message, because it’s not new. But the Bible was never meant to be a boring message! So I focused on telling the story, the gospel, the answer, in a fresh way,” she says.

This year, Naomi will run storytelling workshops around the country to pass on what she has learnt to others.

Focusing on the narrative in Scripture has helped Naomi’s own approach to the Bible. She says, “I can also read it, thinking, ‘I already know this story’ – but to push ourselves into the narrative, and think, ‘What was God saying then? What is he saying to me today?’ is so important.”

Naomi says, “What I’ve enjoyed is taking a Biblical narrative, taking it from a different perspective, and trying to tell the same story and the same message. I’ve enjoyed using my imagination and trying to bring to life the white bits in between the black type on the page.”

From her own life, her speaking ministry, and as the author of several books, Naomi believes in the importance of narrative in understanding and sharing the Bible and our Christian faith with everyone we come into contact with.

She says she is excited to be running her storytelling workshops for Christians interested in honing their storytelling skill, motivated to run the workshops in response to many requests from people asking for help in telling their own stories.

The workshops will include an introduction explaining why stories are good, what makes a good story, and what makes stories work. Participants will then explore how to take a biblical text and tell it well.

The day will also cover how to tell a Bible story in the first person, which according to Naomi brings different advantages, including an immediacy and an emotional connection with the characters in the story, making it come alive using all the senses.

“Initially I thought that the workshops would be for those who lead beach mission, teach Scripture or are in ministry positions where they have lots of opportunities to share their Christian faith and the Bible. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that we all have opportunities everywhere to share our stories – how we’re walking with God and the truth of his love for us.”

“I’ve met so many Christians who are under the impression that to tell your own faith story you have to use a set recipe where you must use certain key words: like rebellion, sin, Jesus as a sacrifice for my sin, confession and more. That’s true in some ways – there are definitely key parts in telling a testimony.

“But there are so many different ways that we can describe our state, and ways that actually reflect what it was like for us before we became Christians. Even in the Bible, there are so many metaphors used to describe our sinful state, like carrying a burden and being in the darkness.”

Naomi reflects on the fact that when Christian speakers address an audience with people who are not yet Christians, they think carefully about the needs felt by those people, who are all coming from different walks of life and experiences. Telling our stories in a less formal manner should include the same consideration. “We all come from different entry points into the Christian faith,” she says. “It’s so important to think about our own story.”

“Being real is important now in sharing our Christian faith. It used to be all about the truth of the Bible. But now people want to know, ‘how does following Jesus work out in your life?’ That suits as Christians. But how do we do that well?”

Naomi wants to give people permission to tell their own story of coming to faith in a way that is genuine and true for them. “Let what is real within us bubble over and find what is true,” she says emphatically.

Visit naomireed.info/storytelling-conferences for more details and to book.

Naomi’s first Storytelling workshop is on Saturday March 23 at Rooty Hill in Sydney. Registration closes at 9am on Friday 15th March 2013.

Other conference dates and locations:
Saturday 18th May Sylvania, Sydney
Saturday 8th June Launceston
Friday 2nd August Gosford
Saturday 19th October Melbourne
Saturday 9th November Tamworth

Featured image: flickr_dixieroadrash

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