We need to film more stories with deep roots and thick trunks. Testimonies with some time on the tires. It’s good to celebrate professions of faith but we don’t need to rush a production for social media.
Everyone loves a good story of redemption. Our joy swells when we hear how someone came to believe in Jesus. Add some candid footage, spacey guitar riffs, and it’s gold. I love it. I’m sure you do too. But I have one bit of counsel when it comes to the video crew.
Slow them down.
Fresh sprouted stories come with a higher risk profile. It could derail before you know it. The story could be dead by next year. I’ve seen it firsthand.
We’ve filmed and shared a handful of stories—deliverance from drugs, conversion and commitment to Jesus—only to see these people shipwreck their faith. They are no longer committed to Christ, not a part of a local church, and are back doing their own thing.
Yeah, their videos were cool, but I wish we would have waited to film them. Maybe our pride, mixed the genuine excitement for God’s work, accelerated the production timeline. But now the videos are icons of sadness.
Why does this happen? Jesus tell us in the parable of the sower. The gospel message goes out (the seed) and it lands on a variety of people (the soils). Jesus says the rocky ground, this kind of person, “This is one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. But he has no root and is short-lived. When distress or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away” (Matthew 13:20–21 CSB).
This soil, this person, is ripe for a viral testimony video. They hear the word and spring up with joy and excitement. But there’s no root. It’s short-lived. They idea of Jesus and what he brings sounds great at the start, but when the forks in the road arrive, the strain of having to pick up a cross, and the decisions to die to self again and again—well, Jesus loses his appeal to this soil.
Be careful what soil you film. Thunderstorms and time will test the ground. Faithfulness, sticking with the Savior through life’s trials and tests, is not a second-rate story. See Hebrews 11.