Sharing your testimony can feel daunting. How do you sum up the story of God’s work in your life in just a few minutes? How do you lay out your faith journey in a way someone else can follow and relate to?
What Is a Testimony?
First, it’s important to understand what a testimony actually is. In a court of law, a testimony is a personal account of events that someone has witnessed. In the same way, a testimony in relation to your faith is a personal account of God’s work in your life and the story of how you came to know Christ as your Savior.
While that may seem intimidating, a lot of the pressure may reside in the way we phrase the process: sharing your testimony. We put so much emphasis on ourselves in the story that we feel like it needs to be super compelling or dramatic or showcase a huge transformation. But it’s not about us. Your testimony is less about you and all about God and what He has done in your life. If you’re the hero of the story, you’re doing it wrong.
Why Should You Share Your Testimony?
So why should we even share our testimony? For starters, God asks us to! 1 Peter 3:15 states that we should always be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” One of the easiest ways to share that hope is by using our own lives as evidence.
Second, everyone loves a story! We as humans are obsessed with storytelling – from movies and TV shows to fairytales and novels. We connect through stories. It’s such a relatable way to share the gospel with someone. We also learn through stories. They are a major tool God uses to communicate His truth. The Bible is bursting with stories of God’s people, and Jesus Himself spoke in parables (aka stories) all the time.
Lastly, no one can argue with the story of how God changed your life. They may not agree with the Bible, your faith, or your morals, but they can’t disagree with what Christ has done in your life.
Thankfully, Paul’s testimony in Acts 26:4-23 provides us with a model of how to present your personal testimony: before you met Christ (verses 4-11), how you met Christ (verses 12-20), and after you met Christ (verses 21-23).
1. Before Knowing Christ
When developing the “before Christ” portion of your testimony, think through your life before you met Jesus. Most people’s actions stem from an unsatisfied inner need, like loneliness, lack of peace, lack of purpose, a desire to be in control, or feeling like something is missing. What were you marked by? Anxiety, ambition, addiction? Choose a few defining characteristics of your life apart from God and describe how your sin was destructive and unfulfilling.
2. How You Met Christ
Explain the circumstances that led you to consider Christ as the solution to those deep inner needs, then talk about the event or period of time when you accepted Jesus Christ as your savior. Even if you never had a rock-bottom moment, every believer comes to a point where they realize they are a sinner and are separated from God. This is the perfect time to clearly and briefly include the gospel: Jesus is God’s Son who came to earth, lived a perfect life, died an awful death on a cross to pay for our sins, and rose from the grave three days later. If you believe in Him, you will be saved from the death you deserve and live an eternal life with Him (John 5:24). Share verses like Romans 6:23, John 3:16, and Ephesians 2:4-5.
3. After You Met Christ
State how God filled and is filling the inner needs you addressed in the “before Christ” part of your story. Have you found freedom from specific sins? Are you able to feel peace and purpose where you couldn’t before? Pick a few characteristics of your life that have changed now that you follow Jesus. Don’t forget to include how the Holy Spirit works in your life today and how the world can still be tempting, but ultimately only God can satisfy. Let them know that you aren’t perfect and life can still be challenging, but you have found joy in the hope God offers.
Try to conclude with a statement that reflects on the truth of the gospel, like “now I know with absolute certainty that I have eternal life.” People tend to comment on the last thing you say, so it will guide the conversation toward the gospel.
Keep it simple. Don’t use big Christian words or cultural Christian lingo that people outside the faith won’t understand. While “sanctification” and “fellowship” may be part of your story, those terms might confuse your listener and distract them from the truth of your message.
Don’t glorify sin. Avoid sharing too many details of your pre-Jesus life and instead focus on how Christ has changed you. The miracle of your testimony is in who you are now, not the person you used to be!
The Bottom Line
The most important thing to remember when sharing your testimony is that God wants to use you and your story to bring others to Him. Your conversion may have been radical and extreme, you may have come to know the Lord at a young age, or it may be something in between. All stories illustrate God’s love and mercy, because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Every testimony is a good testimony because it points to a good God.
If you’d like to take the next step in learning how to share your testimony and the gospel, check out Unashamed, Watermark’s in-town evangelism trip.