Preparing Your Personal Testimony
One of the most helpful things a Christian can do is write out his personal testimony. This exercise will help you think through in your own mind what God has done in your life and will prepare you to share your story simply and clearly with others. Sharing how you became a Christian is one of the best ways of witnessing. It is particularly helpful in presenting Jesus Christ to relatives and close friends, usually the most difficult people to whom to witness.
In sharing the story of your experience:
1. Make it personal —Don't preach. Tell what Christ has done for you. Use the pronouns "I", "me", and "mine".
2. Make it short —Three or four minutes should be enough time to deal with the essential facts.
3. Keep Christ central —Always highlight what He has done for you.
4. Use the Word of God —A verse or two of Scripture will add power to your story. Remember that the word of God has a keen cutting edge (Ephesians 6:17 ).
Please note: If your testimony includes a previous negative church experience, do not mention the name of that church or denomination because it creates needless antagonism in those who are listening to your story.
Try writing down your personal testimony just the way you'd tell it to a non-Christian. Make the story of your conversion so clear that another person hearing it would know how to receive Christ. Tell a little about your life before you trusted Jesus Christ; then tell about your conversion, how you came to trust Him, and something of what it has meant to know Him—the blessing of sins forgiven, assurance of eternal life, and other ways your life or outlook has changed. If you have been a Christian for some time, be sure that your testimony includes some current information about the continuing effect of Jesus Christ in your life.
As you prepare your story, ask the Lord to give you opportunities to share it. Pray for two or three people whom you would particularly like to tell about Jesus Christ in your neighborhood, at work, or at school. Then take the first opportunity to share your testimony with them.
Follow a format similar to this:
Before I trusted Christ:
How I trusted Christ:
Since I've trusted Christ:
In conclusion, remember that you do not have the power in yourself to convince anyone of spiritual truth. The Holy Spirit convicts non-Christians of their need to know Christ (John 16:8). As you pray for those with whom you desire to share your personal testimony, be sure to ask God to honor the proclamation of His word, to convince people of their need, and to strengthen you as you share the gospel.
God has summoned each Christian to be a witness of what he has "seen and heard" (1 John 1:3). Witnessing is a style of living—you are a witness at all times. Loving others and showing your genuine concern for them are practical ways to communicate the Love of Christ. You also witness by your life. Actions are often more revealing than words. Your actions, however, are not sufficient to communicate to another the message of the gospel of Christ. You need to witness by your words—to identify openly with Jesus Christ and to tell others how they can be reconciled to God. One of the most effective means of communicating this to another person is the story of how God has worked in your life—your personal testimony.