An important part of sharing the Good News of Jesus with people is your own account of how Jesus has changed your life. This is often referred to as your personal testimony. As we touch people’s lives with the gospel, they often want to know more than the basic Bible verses and gospel information. They are curious about what made you decide to follow Jesus and the difference it has made since then.
Composing Your Testimony
- Think through the circumstances that brought you to faith in Jesus. Were you raised in a Christian home, or did you find Christ from another type of environment? How has following Jesus made you different from what you might have been otherwise?
- Write out your story, aiming for no more than a page or two. If you have a brief passage of scripture to share, which will highlight some aspect of your testimony, that can be included. It is helpful to organize your story according to the following segments:
What life was like before I found Jesus. Relate your thinking, attitudes and lifestyle before Jesus had any meaningful place in your life. Were you sad, selfish, bored or just plain oblivious to the issues of life? If you came from a Christian home, was that helpful in finding Jesus?
How I found Jesus. What were the long-term, and short-term circumstances which brought you to personal faith in Jesus? Was it a friend’s attractive life? A Christian meeting of some sort? Your parents’ prayers? Etc.
My life since faith in Christ. Honestly describe the difference knowing Jesus has made. Have your thinking, attitudes or actions changed in any meaningful way? Has there been any power to change habits or resist sin? Have people noticed these changes?
- Refine your testimony. Make sure that the words you use to describe your experience communicate clearly to people who don’t understand Christian terminology. Make sure you are absolutely truthful in telling your story. Pray for clarity of mind and words as well as openness in people’s hearts.
- Watch out for these mistakes: A preachy or superior attitude; Negative remarks about specific types of churches or individuals; Christian slang words; Apologizing for what you believe are your poor speaking skills; Taking too much time and becoming a bore.
Remember, you are pointing people to Jesus, not to yourself. People need to see how great and merciful he is, not how amazing your story is.
Presenting Your Testimony
You will probably have many opportunities to share your faith-story over the course of your life. You may be asked to share in a service or meeting of some kind, or maybe the subject will be appropriate as you are talking with friends. It is best to have at least the basic outline of your testimony memorized so that you can make the most of these opportunities.
When asked to speak before a sizeable group you will want to carefully plan and rehearse what you have to say. Review your written work, perhaps even reading it out loud several times and then saying it without the aid of your manuscript. Aim for several minutes. Be respectful of whatever time limits your hosts may give you. Speak clearly and don’t rush through your presentation. Smile and show enthusiasm (if Jesus has changed your life for the better, it ought to show in a positive way). Pray that God will use you to bring blessing into the life of each person present.
Remember that this is your own unique story. There is no need for you to be like anyone else. Never be ashamed of how the Lord has led you through your life so far. His ways are always best. You can be an encouragement to others who relate to your story so that they may also find God’s plan and presence in their lives!