Now, let's talk about student testimonies. I can tell you, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that one of, if not THE, most powerful and effective things I've done in YM is give students opportunities to share their stories from the front. There is nothing quite like a teenager hearing the Gospel and how God is working in a life from one of their peers. There's something validating in hearing this from someone who they can so easily identify with.
The "problem" with doing live student testimonies (and really live testimonies from ANY age) is the - and I hate to use this word - "control" factor. Once someone steps in front of a mic, they forget that they were only supposed to talk for 5 minutes, or only focus on what God is doing in their life. I have heard so many 5 minute stories of how a person came to know Christ turn in to 20 minute narratives of everything that's happened in their life since the 3rd grade.
That's why using video as an outlet for your students' testimonies is such a no-brainer! Don't get me wrong - I still use students up front a lot, but those are usually in more informal ways or after they've been heavily coached.
All you need, really, is a decent digital video camera (again, I love my Flip HD), a student who is willing to share, and a basic video editing program like Windows Movie Maker.
I like to sit with a student and ask a lot of questions - how did you come to know Christ; how has your life changed, how do you connect with God regularly; what is God doing in your life right now; what do you still struggle with; etc. I'll then take 15-20 minutes of talking and edit it down to 3-5 minutes of solid content, throw some instrumental music in the background, and a title screen with the student's name, and that's that!
I shot the video above to go with a series we did called "What do you believe?" The response was awesome, and it was a great experience for the students who were involved in making the videos as well!
Student testimonies are awesome - you should try this if you aren't already doing it!
- Tim B.