The Power of Testimony

Published on: December 1, 2011

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As spiritual leaders we know people want to make the world a better place to live. They want to be part of something that changes lives. When a Unity spiritual center shows its members how lives are being improved through its ministry, then the center gets support of many. We live our vision.

J. Clif Christopher writes in Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship that he gets frustrated reading newsletters (and bulletins) of church after church that talk about the men’s group breakfast on Saturday, the women’s bazaar next Thursday, and the youth dance next Friday after the ball game. Then over in the corner, usually separated by a bold line so that it stands out, there are the financial statistics, which usually indicate that a certain amount was needed and a lesser amount was received, and that there is a deficit of something, with a quote underneath, “God loves a cheerful giver.”

He writes, “When I see that I want to say, ‘What have I got to be cheerful about? Did you show me one life story in this newsletter about how the church has been making our world better? Is there one life-changing story in the entire document? Do you really just exist so that men can have breakfast, women a bazaar, and youth can dance? What is it exactly that you want me to support?’”

Churches are not in business to balance budgets or manage money. They are in the business to change lives. They have no other reason to exist. As a pastor for 24 years, Christopher knows that the church changes the lives of many people, but we are doing a really good job of keeping it a secret for some reason.

After reading J. Clif Christopher’s book, I decided to include five-minute testimonials in my Sunday service answering the question, “How has Unity of Evergreen made a difference in your life?” They are presented right before the offering. When members speak their Truth from their hearts, there is not a dry eye in the house. Last Sunday one member of my congregation remarked, “This was the best Sunday yet!”

With this in mind, we decided to run an advertising campaign in our local magazine, Colorado Serenity. The testimonials are interchanged with a short message from me. We end each article with a sentence describing Unity from our branding material. This is what’s going on at Unity of Evergreen:

I am Rosalind Rogers and I am Unity of Evergreen.
“Last year, numerous life-changing events launched me into a journey of self-discovery. With my life crumbling around me, I hit the lowest point of my entire life. Not knowing how to “fix” my situation, I turned to God and stumbled upon Unity of Evergreen. Within this community of people, I discovered an amazing support group of friends, healing, energy and strength. God replaced my void with a foundation from which to build a new life. People and circumstances appeared and moved me in directions I would never have thought to go. I am grateful for the opportunity to live my dreams and passion in this wondrous mountain community.”
Unity offers practical spiritual teachings that empower abundant and meaningful living, a message that deeply resonates in our unique mountain community. Join me at The Barn at EvergreenMemorial Park, Sundays at 9:30 a.m.  —Rev. Julie Armour, Unity of Evergreen

When we use the words “I am” we are claiming from the great Creative Intelligence of the universe an identity for ourselves. Here are a few positive statements:  I am love. I am abundance. I am peace. I am the Light of the World. So it is.

I am Jack Byrnes and I am Unity of Evergreen.
“My wife was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer on Easter, 2003. My family and I were devastated. Two years later, after a courageous battle, she died. My life then collapsed. I lost my business and home and I went bankrupt. I asked God, “What do I do now?!” Unity teaches Let go and Let God. Despondent and dejected, I told God, “I don’t care anymore; I give up; it’s all yours.” Incredibly, I felt instant relief and peace. From then on, a stream of miraculous events unfolded, putting my life back together, without my help, in ways I could never have imagined. Now I live a wonderful life, knowing I am never alone and every day is a gift.”
Unity offers practical spiritual teachings that empower abundant and meaningful living, a message that deeply resonates in our unique mountain community. Join me at The Barn at EvergreenMemorial Park, Sundays at 9:30 a.m.  —Rev. Julie Armour, Unity of Evergreen

These testimonials have changed my life. We all remember going to our first church thinking we will preach the word of God and love the people into wholeness. Then business takes over and we spend more and more time balancing the budget and attending to administrative work. The testimonials given at my spiritual center truly remind me why I am a Unity minister. I am here to change lives for the better and to create a world that works for all! I love what I do.

Julie Armour
Senior Minister at Unity of the Foothills
Rev Julie Armour is senior minister at Unity of the Foothills located at the entrance of the beautiful Red Rocks Park in Colorado. She is a former Board Chair of the Unity Worldwide Ministries Board of Trustees.

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