1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV) Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience…
Preparing your testimony
This is the account of how God entered your story when you were led to become a committed follower of Jesus Christ.
The aim is to create a framework that you can use in different situations when the opportunity arises to share about your faith. Be sensitive to those you talk with and consider what their previous experience of Christians and church, if any, has been. The most important thing is to ask God for opportunities to tell your story and to be sensitive to the person at that time – listen for guidance from the Holy Spirit as you speak. Don’t worry if you cannot share your whole testimony in one go – it may be that just a part of it will be relevant at a given point.
Read Pauls testimony in Acts 2:1-15 and Acts 26:9-20 for inspiration
Framework for writing your testimony
WARNING!!! – You may find this is quite a challenge in some areas of your life as a Christian – embrace it all and use it as a prompt for prayer and spiritual growth!
Writing your testimony carefully will take some time! Pray before you start and consider working on your testimony together with a friend for encouragement and feedback.
This is an outline of how you might put your story – your testimony – together:
- My life and attitudes before I followed Christ
- How I realised that God was real and / or speaking to me
- How I became a Christian
- What being a Christian means to me
- It can then be good to have some questions ready to follow up with after you have shared your testimony – questions like:
- Has anything like this happened to you?
- Does it make sense to you?
- Have you ever thought you would like to have a peace like this?
- Do you know for certain that you have life for ever and will go to heaven when you die?
- It’s not a sermon – keep your testimony short! – it should take a maximum of 3-5 minutes to tell
- Try and avoid churchy or theological jargon – for example, instead of a using a word like ‘righteous’ maybe use a phrase like ‘right with God’
- Make no negative or critical remarks about others – keep everything focused on your experience
- Put yourself in the listener’s place – what would be interesting or meaningful to them?
- Practice telling your story
- Be real – don’t give the impression that becoming a Christian makes life perfect!
- Adhering to a timeline can help people understand and follow you – maybe use a ‘before, during, after and now’ model
- An alternative approach – use a theme, need or problem as a starting point and show how things changed
- Be honest! We still struggle! Temptations and doubts continue…
- Write stand-alone sections – ‘pick’n’mix’ – this can help clarify your experience and make it easier to share elements when it is not appropriate or possible to share the full story
- In everything you write, ask the Lord to help you so it tells ‘His story’ in your ‘history’
- Acknowledge Him and that it all happened because of Him
- Remember, the greatest testimony of all is found in the Bible – your story does not need to achieve everything in one go, it only needs to encourage people to engage more with God’s big story
Guidance for writing different sections
Below are a list of suggested sections your testimony could be broken down into, each able to be shared alone. With each suggested section, there is a list of prompts that will help you reflect on what you might like to include – not every prompt will be relevant to your story.
- My life and attitude before I followed Christ:
Good and bad things
Where you lived
What you did
Interests and hobbies
Explain your need for greater meaning or purpose
Share an inability to overcome failings – but remember, this is a story, not a confession!
- How I realised God was speaking to me
How, when and where did God first get through to you?
Which people, books, social media, films, scriptures, TV, etc did He use?
Did you become aware of His presence in a particular place or at a particular time?
- How I became a Christian
Include the process of how you received salvation and made a commitment
See below for some of the stages you came through, even if at the time you could not have put everything into words like this
(NB if you aren’t sure you have been through these steps yet, then please go to the How to become a Christian section below)
- A) Sin – my life was controlled by what I wanted instead of God
- B) Sin’s penalty – as a result of sin, I was separated from God for eternity
- c) Christ paid – penalty for my sin was paid by Christ on my behalf when He took my sin to the cross, accepted the judgement and made it possible for me to be accepted as an adopted child of Father God
- d) Receiving Christ – accepting the above three statements as true – wanting to change your life from being controlled by what you wanted to what God wants, being sorry about the past and accepting what Jesus did for me, receiving Him as Saviour and Lord
Sensitivity needed here – don’t use churchy jargon – check in with people in case they have had a bad experience of church
- What being a Christian means to me
What lifestyle changes have you made since becoming a Christian?
How are your relationships with family, friends and work colleagues different?
How do you now use your money in different ways?
What do you live for now?
How do you view death?
Do you experience new depths of friendship with Christian brothers and sisters?
How you deal with problems – frustration, failure, stress, illness, etc
How to become a Christian
Romans 10:13 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved
If you are ready to make a serious lifelong commitment to follow Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, then this is a simple prayer to follow:
“Dear Jesus, I believe in You. I believe You are the Son of God, that You died for my sins, and that You were buried and rose again as written in the Bible. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done that hurt You. Forgive me for all my sins. Come into my heart, take charge of my life and make me the way You want me to be. With Your ever-present help, I renounce all my sinful practices of the past. Cleanse my heart with Your precious blood. Write my name in Your Book of Life. I confess You now as my Lord and Saviour. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Thank You, Jesus! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Congratulations and welcome to the biggest family in the world!
Email us to let us know info@Hope1513.com and we will connect with you.
Jane Everitt Radbourne trained as a lay evangelist early in her journey as a Christian and was involved in the discipleship of young women. She has been active in all areas of prayer ministry for many years and is a leader in her local church focusing mainly on prayer ministry.
MasterLife 2: The Disciple’s Personality (Avery T. Willis Jr., LifeWay Christian Resources, 1996)