Tell It Like It Is: Reclaiming the Practice of Testimony

Overview

Lillian Daniel shares how her congregation re-appropriated the practice of testimony one Lenten season, a practice that would eventually revitalize their worship and transform their congregational culture. The experience strengthened lay leadership, fostered more intimate community, and drew the congregation closer to God. The book features the testimonies worshipers heard and reflections from both those who spoke and those who listened to these stories about God at work in the ...
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Tell It Like It Is: Reclaiming the Practice of Testimony

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Overview

Lillian Daniel shares how her congregation re-appropriated the practice of testimony one Lenten season, a practice that would eventually revitalize their worship and transform their congregational culture. The experience strengthened lay leadership, fostered more intimate community, and drew the congregation closer to God. The book features the testimonies worshipers heard and reflections from both those who spoke and those who listened to these stories about God at work in the world.
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Editorial Reviews

Wes Avram
Already an enormously gifted writer, preacher, and pastor, Lillian Daniel has done in this book something quite audacious—and wonderfully welcome. She's had the good sense to think about the church with the aid of the people who actually live it and make it. This wisdom comes as a book about how recovering a homegrown practice of testimony helped transform one congregation. But in her hands the story becomes an enticing and full ecclesiology rooted in experience and empowered by hope. She hears and speaks the church into being here, and it's a joyous discovery. Testify away!
David Bartlett
This is practical theology at its best.

The book is theologically grounded, reflects on actual practice, and provides a useful model for all our churches. We learn that the gift of testimony not only strengthens worship and community caring, testimony can even reshape administration and committee meetings.

The book is itself the testimony of a gifted and wise pastor, and like all faithful testimony, it convicts us and changes us, too.

J. Brent Bill
While many church members sing “I Love to Tell the Story,” the sad truth is that too few do. Many either don’t tell the story or, when they do tell it, feel anxious or fretful, making it a far from loving experience. Lillian Daniel’s book offers wise advice about engaging a congregation in the practice of testimony—sharing stories of faith that enliven both the hearers and sharers.
Daniel offers us a new look at an old tradition that many mainline congregations have abandoned. And in doing so she shows how testimony, bearing witness, breaths new life into people and the congregations they love.
Martin B. Copenhaver
This marvelous book by Lillian Daniel is so much more than a book about testimony. The book itself is a testimony to the powerful ways God works when people are invited to tell others what they have seen and heard and touched of God’s presence in their lives.

These pages are populated with real people who may have more questions than answers. And yet, by speaking from the heart, they point us to the mysterious reality that crackles just below the surface of life. Without question, this book has the power to transform congregations, as Daniel’s own congregation was wondrously transformed by the practice of testimony.

Thomas G. Long
In this beautifully written book, Lillian Daniel describes the practice of testimony: people standing up in community worship and telling stories about how they have experienced God. A simple definition perhaps, but Daniel movingly and thoughtfully shows how complex, powerful, risky, and life changing testimony can be. In these pages, people speak with wonder, joy, and astonishment about the places where the pathways of their lives have intersected the trajectories of God's presence and grace. With candor, theological insight, and pastoral wisdom, Daniel describes how testimony can deeply affect, and finally transform, the life of a congregation. Prepare to learn here about the practice of testimony, but prepare also to be touched by the courage and honesty of people speaking aloud their experiences of faith.
Anthony B. Robinson
This is exactly the kind of case-study of practices in congregations that is needed at this time. Lillian Daniel tells the story of a New England, Congregationalist church's remarkable engagement with the practice of testimony in a very loving and engaging way.
Mary Sellon
Great worship is alive and a bit unpredictable. It wakes us up. And drawing us to the edge of our seat, it draws us over the edge of how we’ve always thought about things, how we’ve always thought about the people sitting next to us.
Daniel’s book tells the story of one congregation who learned that the power to make their gatherings alive and transformative lay not in a program or in technology, but in themselves—their own simple and profound stories of how they met God in various disguises and the difference it made. Oh, that more pastors and congregations could learn the same!
Tom Long
“In these pages, people speak with wonder, joy, and astonishment about the places where the pathways of their lives have intersected with the trajectories of God's presence and grace. With candor, theological insight, and pastoral wisdom, Daniel describes how testimony can deeply affect, and finally transform, the life of a congregation.” —Thomas G. Long
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566993180
  • Publisher: Alban Institute, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/2005
  • Pages: 166
  • Sales rank: 554,368
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Pastor, writer, and teacher, Lillian Daniel has served as senior minister of the First Congregational Churchof Glen Ellyn, IL since 2004. She is an editor at large for theChristian Century Magazine and a contributing editor atLeadership Journal, and has taught preaching at Chicago Theological Seminary, the University of Chicago Divinity School and at her alma mater, Yale Divinity School. She is the author of When Spiritual But Not Religious Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church and co-author ofThis Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministerswith Martin B. Copenhaver. You can visit her website at http://www.lilliandaniel.com/.
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Table of Contents

Foreword, Diana Butler Bass
Preface
Introduction
Chapter 1: The Household of the Heart
Chapter 2: To Join or Not to Join?
Chapter 3: Money: We Need to Talk About It
Chapter 4: The Gift of Time
Chapter 5: Honoring Our Elders
Chapter 6: Making Connections
Chapter 7: Preaching and Testimony
Chapter 8: Children and Youth
Chapter 9: Speaking of Grief
Chapter 10: Building Stronger Leaders
Chapter 11: Listening to Testimonies
Chapter 12: The Testifiers Reflect
Chapter 13: Speak the Vision
Notes
Bibliography
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