Lay Witness Talk Introduction
The lay witness talk is the best stewardship “best practice” anyone can do. Sharing your faith in a joyful, sincere, humble, courageous manner is the most inspiring thing each of us can do to bring others to our Catholic faith.
Whether it is a planned speaking event in front of your fellow parishioners or a spontaneous conversation with family, friends or strangers, giving joyful witness inspires and encourages others to do the same.
Public speaking is the number one fear for most people. So, plan your talking points in advance and practice. Develop a five-minute version and a 30-second version.
Having talking points already in mind will help you be courageous when the opportunity arises. (How many of us have wished we would have spoken up when someone said something that wasn’t accurate about our Catholic faith.)
Components of a Lay Witness Talk
Effective stewardship includes public witnessing by people who are already practicing stewardship in their own lives. The Lay Witness Talk has two purposes: to inspire people to become good stewards and to share “daily life" examples of stewardship. The talk should be between 5 – 7 minutes, no longer than that.
- Tell people who you are, how long you have been in the parish and maybe a little bit about your other family members:
- Giving a definition of stewardship. (Stewardship is recognizing that everything we have is a gift from God, taking time to be grateful for those gifts, and returning a portion of those gifts to God – understanding that what God gave us He expected us to share.)
- Asking a question:
- Do you give from your “first fruits” or from what is leftover?
- When God asks you “what have you done with the gifts I have given you?” How will you respond?
- Do you put other “gods” (money, power, ego) before God?
- People love to hear a story. A story brings an idea down to earth and makes it real. Thus it is important that the stewardship talk include a personal story about how stewardship is real in your life:
- When and how you first realized the importance of stewardship.
- How stewardship impacts your daily life at home, at work, or in the parish.
- What joys you have experienced as a result of your stewardship.
- How you have overcome a challenge to your stewardship. (It’s okay to say that sometimes stewardship is difficult!)
- Scriptural Reference
- Stewardship is a concept that is as old as Sacred Scripture. Throughout the Old and New Testament God has clearly asked us to live as stewards, giving back to him a grateful portion of all the blessings that He has given to us.
- It is important that your lay witness talk include a reference to Sacred Scripture in order that parishioners understand that stewardship is not your idea. It is God’s request.
- It is critical that your talk gives parishioners the details of what your parish wants them to do. Compelling stories and beautiful scripture quotes are wasted if we do not encourage parishioners to take some action.
- Personally invite your fellow parishioners to commit to a life of stewardship:
- Invite them to reflect on their own blessings and personal gifts and to consider if their giving reflects their blessings.
- Stress that every parishioner has some gift to offer, some role to play in the parish community. Invite them to give that gift...to play the role God has planned for them.
- Invite them to try something new – a new parish ministry or a new level of giving. Remind them that they will never know what can give them joy until they try it.
- Ask them to go home and figure out what percentage of their income they are giving back to God. Remind them that God asks us to give as He has given to us and that throughout sacred scripture 10% has been set up as the guideline of how much we should return to God.
- Invite them to begin the journey to greater stewardship by increasing their financial giving by even as little as a ½ of a percentage point.
- Invite them to know the joy that comes from sharing their gifts.
- Invite them to be a part of all the wonderful work that happens in your parish.