As a Christian, being able to talk with others about what Jesus has done in your life is a powerful way to share the hope of the Gospel in a clear and non-threatening way. Any time I think of believers sharing their personal testimony, I am reminded of the Apostle Peter’s words: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15 ESV)
The following is a guideline for developing your personal testimony. This was a part of the curriculum for an Equip U class I taught on “earning the right to be heard” this summer at epikos church. It is adapted from Cru literature, with proper credit given below.
I want to lovingly but strongly encourage you to use this as a guideline in preparing your personal testimony. Be thoughtful, be patient and be prayerful as you do this. Then ask God to reveal opportunities for you to share your story with others and the courage to do so. I am praying that God will raise up an army of men and women who will boldly engage their friends and neighbors, proclaiming the amazing work God has in their lives.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV
SHARING YOUR PERSONAL TESTIMONY: How to prepare and tell your story
Before I Accepted Christ (or gave Him complete control):
- What was my life like that will relate most to the non-Christian?
- What did my life revolve around the most? What did I get my security or happiness from? (Often, the non-Christian is relying on something external to give him happiness)
- How did those areas begin to let me down?
How I Received Christ (or gave Him complete control):
- When was the first time I heard the gospel? (Or when was I exposed to dynamic Christianity)
- What were my initial reactions?
- When did my attitude begin to turn around? Why?
- What were the final struggles that went through my mind just before I accepted Christ?
- Why did I go ahead and accept Christ?
After I Accepted Christ (or gave Him complete control):
- Specific changes and illustrations about the changes Christ has made:
- Why am I motivated differently?
- Write the way you speak; make the testimony yours.
- Practice this over and over until it becomes natural.
- Shoot for short–3 minutes. At that length, it’s easily something you can put into a conversation without it becoming a monologue.
An example: Look at Paul’s testimony as you consider how to tell your story.
His life before (Acts 22:1-5):
- Paul describes what he thought and did before he became a believer.
- Your goal: to give specific, yet appropriate, examples of what your life was like (attitudes, needs, problems) before Christ.
- Remember that examples you give will establish you as a credible witness in the minds of non-Christians. However, avoid a religious focus. (You want to make it about Jesus and your need for Him.) Don’t spend a great amount of time talking about church activities or denominations before your life began to change. Likewise, avoid being explicit and sensational in speaking of drugs, immorality, crime or drunkenness.
How (Acts 22:6-11):
- Paul explained how he became a believer.
- Your goal: to allow the listener to walk away with a clear understanding of how you became a Christian and how he or she can trust Christ as the payment for their sins.
- Be careful not to use clichés and church language. Talk in terms they’ll understand.
After (Acts 22:12-21):
- Paul explained how becoming a believer changed his life.
- Your goal: to explain specific ways Christ has changed your life — to show that having Christ in your life really does make a difference!
- Avoid using general statements such as “I have so much peace now.” Be specific. It is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to draw someone to Christ, but you want to communicate your story in such a way to show the listener that your life is different and more meaningful with Christ.
Taken from: https://www.cru.org/train-and-grow/share-the-gospel/evangelism-principles/how-to-tell-your-story-worksheet.html