One of the most exciting and interesting ways to share Jesus is to give a personal testimony. Your testimony is the basis of your witness. It is your story, your firsthand account of what God through Christ has done in your life.
Your testimony has authority. Many questions about the Bible you may not be able to answer, but you are the authority on your testimony.
This guide will help you learn how to report your experience with Jesus in simple language.
At the end of this guide you should be able to understand the importance of your testimony in witnessing and be able to share it with others.
You will achieve this goal by:
- Identifying the four points that should be included in a personal testimony
- Writing out your testimony
- Reading your testimony to a friend (or typing it up in e-mail to this site)
Read I John 1:1-3. In these verses, John literally shares his tesimony. Those things which had seen and heard, he was telling others. Many times the Apostle Paul effectively gave his testimony. Sharing your testimony is one the most effective ways to witness for Jesus Christ.
These are three basic characteristics of a personal testimony:
- IT HAS AUTHORITY. You may not be able to answer many questions about the Bible; however, you are the only authority in the area of your experience with Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
- IT COMMUNICATES. It reaches out and expresses to people your very heart and life. You are not talking merely in theological terms, you are speaking about the things in life with which you are familiar. You are telling others what you have experienced with Jesus Christ.
- IT RELATES. As you talk about your experiences with God you are relating with people whose lives are like yours and who are seeking to understand the change that Jesus has brought about in your life.
Paul gives his testimony in Acts 22:1-16 and 26:9-23. He says almost the same thing using a simple four-point outline. First, Paul says, "I have not always been a Christian, but God showed me my need of Jesus Christ. I committed my life to Jesus and now my life is different."
Read those passages and then list the four points in Paul's outline.
You should have something like:
- My life before Jesus.
- How I realized I needed Jesus.
- How I received Jesus.
- How Jesus makes my life full and meaningful now.
Review these four points. You will use them in preparing your testimony. Simple facts to remember are:
- Your testimony is important. If it is important to you, it will become important to other people.
- As you prepare your testimony, seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Because you will have a very brief encounter with each person, it is necessary for you to seek the Holy Spirit's leadership in preparing to share your testimony.
- God honors preparation. Carefully prepare your testimony so you can effectively share Jesus Christ.
- Remember the four points of a testimony. The first three points are past history. Once you verbalize those, you will be prepared to share them anytime, any place. The fourth point is current and refreshing – how Jesus Christ is dealing in your life now, how He is making life meaningful. Your sharing the growth and daily relationship with Jesus makes vibrant and meaningful what God is doing in your life.
- Keep your testimony short. It should be from one minute to one and a half minutes or about 275 words. Use short, simple phrases.
- Keep your testimony to the point. Remember, you are not describing the theology of how to be saved. You are simply sharing what Christ has done in your life. Yet you need to give adequate detail. You are expressing to a person an intangible experience. The simple details of your experience relate what has happened in your heart and in your life. As you share your testimony, you live it.
- A person might criticize, "Preparing your testimony is mechanical." Actually, as you share your testimony and relive the experience, God through the Holy Spirit can give your testimony a new thrust, a new dynamic and a new meaning, refreshing your heart and life.
- Avoid bragging or negative remarks. Bragging about personal accomplishments does not glorify God. Paul said in Phil. 3:7, "But what things were gain to me, those I counted as loss for Christ." Boasting should be about Jesus Christ and what he has done. Negative comments lead toward a negative discussion. Keep your testimony positive, pointed and simple. Ask yourself, "If I were a person without Jesus or outside the fellowship of the family of God, what would this testimony mean to me?"
- As you prepare your testimony, carefully consider your words. Use language people understand. Often these are unfamiliar words and unfamiliar church organizations. Phrases such as: "I walked the aisle for Jesus," "I was saved," "I was lost," or "I had a glorious experience" are meaningless to people who are unfamiliar with church vocabulary. Use words and phrases that will help others understand your testimony.
A SAMPLE TESTIMONY:
"As a young man I began looking, searching and longing for meaning and purpose in life."
I was born three blocks from the county courthouse in Fort Worth, Texas. My father left my mother before I was born. In my early childhood – during the depression – my mother sought security. She met and married a man whom she thought would offer the security she so desperately needed. I grew up in what I thought was a normal home, a home similar to other homes. But there was a noticeable void. My life lacked real meaning and purpose.
As a young man I began looking, searching and longing for meaning and purpose in life. For a while, I really did not find what I was looking for. Then I noticed a difference in the lives of some friends. That difference was Jesus. Jesus had made a change in their lives. I began to see in them what I wanted and needed.
After one of my friends told me how to become a Christian, I very simply turned from my old way of life and invited Jesus Christ to come and live in me. No Roman candles burst. No bands played. But in a very real way I knew that God had come live in me.
I cannot say every day since then has been beautiful and that I've been perfect. I'm human. But I continue to grow and develop and mature. One thing I know – Jesus Christ has always been faithful. He has helped, guided and blessed me. Now my life has real meaning.
Now please take the time and write your testimony out using the four points discussed earlier. Keep it to about 275 simple, understandable words. When complete, please e-mail it to Glen Stewart for inclusion in this online ministry.