Testimony

Testimony to Christ’s Power

Your Story in Your Words

One Aspect – Before and After

Practice and Present

You carry within your soul a story of transformation. That true story is evidence of the love and power of Jesus Christ touching a life. Writing your personal testimony will reveal that God makes a difference in how we can live.

An event in writing is history preserved.
– Toad

Overview: We are suggesting a procedure to follow; a process to help you get thoughts into writing. To prepare for communicating your testimony, write down a select few behaviors or feelings that have changed since you became a Christian. From that list choose one. With that idea you can write out a short, +/- three paragraph account of how you became a Christian and what that has meant in changing who you were. Share your writing with someone to get some comment and feedback. Make improvements to your work. Then practice and present your testimony. This exercise will prepare you to speak directly. Note that this may require some concentrated effort.

Coming to One Focus

It is not until we get to heaven that listeners will have unlimited time for you to share every nuance and detail related to how God worked in your life. Therefore, you need to make some decisions. You will have to leave out some details and adjust your presentation to the constraints of your listener’s available time and level of interest. Tell less, not more. Share just one aspect of your transformation.

Format of a testimony focus statement: I was “a”, but now I am “b” because of “c”. Reveal the past, announce the present, share the because (the why) the change occurred. Example of a focus statement: I was always angry but now I can show patience because I realize Christ is patient with me.

Write a few statements about your story and then choose one to expand on in the next section.


Three Paragraphs and Closure

The story you tell is to be about you. Although it is a spiritual journey, it is not meant to be a pretext to preach at people. You may use space at the end of this document to compose your story. Each paragraph expands one part of your focus statement in chronological order.

(The one idea from the past.) The first paragraph should be about who you were, along with your actions, condition, and feelings, before you received Christ. It should be short and focus on one idea. For example, maybe you felt a specific fear or struggled with a specific sin before you became a Christian. This is not the place for your whole life story; hone in on one or two key points that defined who you were before salvation. Use terminology that non-Christians will understand.

(The because, why, how, where the change occurred.) For the second paragraph, explain the pivotal point or circumstance of when you accepted Christ. What led up to being born anew spiritually? What was the critical revelation, the ah-ha moment, the key that turned you toward Jesus? Be concise and try to avoid using worn-out jargon such as “decision for Christ” and “letting Jesus inside”. What did your conversion experience mean to you? What were you thinking? What did you do?

(The now paragraph; present.) Now, write a third paragraph that refers back to your old life (paragraph one) and shows how you are truly different now. Be simple, concrete, and try not to use clichés. Don't use language that unbelievers will not understand. Show how the sin or fear that you most struggled with before salvation is being overcome and conquered now. Give your listeners a reason to want Christ. Make sure to always stay with your own personal story; don't go off into theological discussion or speculation about others.

You may end with a heartfelt call to your audience. For instance, “If you are fighting to overcome lying, or any other type of evil, I know from my own life that there is help. Jesus made it possible to change my life. If you wish, you can ask Him to help you.”


Writing Tips

Here is an outline example for your testimony – the questions you are answering:

Paragraph 1: What were you before you came to Christ?
Paragraph 2: How did you come to understand the gospel and trust Christ?
Paragraph 3: What difference has He made now?

When writing, realize that you are speaking to an audience (one person or more) that might not understand the common “Christian-eze” language that so pervades our thinking. For instance, familiar phrases like “Christ laid this on my heart” or “God drew me to Himself” or “I'm washed in the blood” would be enigmatic, a mystery to these people. Try to write in such a way that truth is conveyed in a clear, personal manner.

Remember, don't be preachy. There is an old writing adage that says, “Show, not tell”. Apply that principle here. Don't preach at people that they need a Savior; show them that your Savior changed your life. Stay away from abstract words and phrases. Instead of saying, “I always was afraid of failing,” say, “I cried whenever I made a mistake.” Make your listeners see, touch, taste, smell, your testimony. Use words that paint vivid pictures in people's minds.

Polish Your Story

Once you are finished with a useable draft, practice speaking your testimony so that you can time how long it will take to share with others. Then write the time up at the top. The time goal is 3:00 or less.

You can give your testimony text to a friend or leader to revise and make suggestions. Having a third party proof your work will make it a better product. Invite their comments, questions, suggestions and observations.

It may be hard for you to put your conversion into writing, but ultimately as you do, and as you use it, you will find your own spiritual life maturing and deepening. Writing is work. Be concise. Make it deliverable and purposed.

Share

You are living proof of a changed person. So go ahead, share your story. Your story will be a powerful tool to help communicate your faith for the rest of your days. Opportunities may arise for you to share publicly at church, around a campfire at camp, or privately with a friend or family member. With your testimony prepared, and in writing, you will be ready to share.

… for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling...

– The Apostle Paul writing to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7-9a


Example: Vanessa

Insecurities

Joy

What had been insecurities Christ replaced with joy.

I always felt lonely because I didn’t understand God was with me but now I know Him and His constant presence.

-- Venessa

I always felt insecure but now I can be confident because I know He loves me.

-- Venessa

Before I received Christ I struggled with many insecurities. It was hard to understand my value and I actually didn’t even believe I had any. I felt unwanted even by those who genuinely loved me. It was all very confusing as I thought I was saved already.

I came to the realization that I didn’t actually believe in Christ or His power to transform me. It was hard to accept I was only half-believing, but I knew things were going to be different. I went to a park and yelled at the sky and asked God to change me and truly reveal Himself to me. In that moment, I felt a peace wash over me. I cried and cried, I had never felt such a joy and peace in my life. I understood it as supernatural.

I still struggle with these insecurity or anxiety, but in no way are they my truth or a part of my identity. I believe what God says about me and everyone else, that we were created in His image. No one is unimportant or without purpose. I never thought it was possible to have this assurance that is not dependent on my circumstances.

He is willing to show us the truth if we are open to it and let go of the the ideas that hurt us.

I had never felt such a joy…

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
‭‭1 John‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬ ‭NIV‬‬


Example: Hernis

Colombia

Camp Duffel

Hernis's story is summed up in his words, “my lack of paternal affection and support was replaced by the love of God.”

My Testimony

Hello. My name is Hernis.

I was born into a humble family in the north of Colombia. I am currently 29 years old and have been following the ways of Christ for 10 years.

My Christian life began when problems arose in my family due to the separation of my parents. I suffered the abandonment of my father and we experienced many economic problems. I remember always feeling depressed, sad, lonely, abandoned and worthless.

I remember always feeling depressed, sad, lonely, abandoned and worthless.
– Hernis

One day, I came to a church at the invitation of a friend. It was a small church, with very few members and very welcoming; the preaching was aimed at emotional restoration in Christ, they explained how we are important to Him, his love for humanity and for the lost. That teaching reached my heart to the point that at that moment I decided to give myself to the gospel.

From there, my life began to be different, my lack of paternal affection and support was replaced by the love of God. I met very good people who gave me support and taught God's plan and his vision for humans.

Little by little, I grew in the word of God and began to realize that my call was for young people. I trained as a youth leader at a local school and one day I met Camp Duffel. Through this ministry, God strengthened my purpose on earth. The camps have changed my vision of the kingdom of God and helped impact others with this message.

Regarding my testimony, I would like at the end with the verse of Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."