“Conversational Testimony” Gives Laity a Voice to Share Their Faith

By Jane Boatwright Wood, President

As the young man approached Professor Jack Jackson, I could sense the earnest need to ask the question driving him forward. He began by relating a situation so many of us will find relatable, “I am asking my friends to say yes to Jesus, but they have not said yes. How am I failing?”

On a Saturday afternoon in March 2023, 500 passionate Christians gathered at Good Shepherd Methodist Church (Seoul, Korea) to participate in an afternoon of learning called Conversational Testimony. This event was the culmination of the partnership between professor and author, Rev. Dr. Jack Jackson, Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Dawe “David” Kim, and the Foundation for Evangelism. Professor Jackson has honed his research on REVEAL – a laity approach to sharing the story of Jesus – in several North American congregations, but the partnership with Good Shepherd offered a way to refine the training further. In addition to translating the material with the help of Rev. Dr. Young Ho Chun, Jackson refined the process to work in everyday conversations.

The key is loving relationship. Jackson shared his own testimony during which he confirmed that he said “no” for years before finally saying yes to God, but the friend who walked with him through this process never stopped loving or being in relationship with Jackson. It is the tenacity of Christian love that grounds every evangelistic ministry.

For Jackson the transformation led him to ordained ministry and ultimately to training clergy and lay leaders who share the Gospel story around the world. For the 500 gathered at Good Shepherd, they came to understand their reason for saying yes to God, and then began to translate that understanding into relationships that will now become invitational conversations based on their own testimony.  In that afternoon, they became evangelists capable of replicating their stories. They shared stories like transitioning from Buddhism to life in Christ, being saved from the influence of cults to enjoy the grace and love of God through Jesus, and finding the deeply Christ-centered faith that comes from living as a follower of a minority religion.

The partnership between The Foundation for Evangelism, Good Shepherd Methodist Church, and Professor Jack Jackson was made possible by a generous gift from the YS Mae Foundation (California). The YS Mae Foundation’s vision is to equip evangelists to share the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout Korea, honoring the faith and ministry of YS Mae, a lay woman in the Methodist tradition credited with supporting new churches and pastors in her native country, and whose passionate faith inspired the concept for this laity faith-sharing initiative.

Rev. Dr. Jack Jackson is a visiting professor at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. He previously served as the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Claremont Theological Seminary in Claremont, Ca. He is a Wesleyan scholar whose research centers on the theology and practices of mission and evangelism both in global contexts in the increasingly post Christian West. Dr. Jackson has extensive experience in global Christianity and Methodism having studied, taught, or made presentations in England, South Africa, South Korea, Israel, China, Costa Rica, Honduras, Brazil, and Colombia. Dr. Jackson is an Elder in the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church, and has served a number of churches over his fifteen years in pastoral ministry.

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