TELLING YOUR STORY
First, don’t underestimate the power of your testimony. Revelation 12:11 says "They defeated [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony; for they did not love their lives but laid them down for him."
Your testimony is not only a powerful tool in your life, but it can also be an inspiration to others. In our development of the Deepening Life Together curriculum, we included this powerful experience in one of the segments when you check-in with your spiritual partners.
A simple three-point approach is very effective in communicating your personal testimony. The approach focuses on before you trusted Christ, how you surrendered to him, and the difference in you since you've been walking with him. If you became a Christian at a very young age and don’t remember what life was like before Christ, reflect on what you have seen in the lives of others. Before you begin, pray and ask God to give you the right words.
Before You Knew Christ:
Simply tell what your life was like before you surrendered to Christ. What was the key problem, emotion, situation or attitude you were dealing with? What motivated you? What were your actions? How did you try to satisfy your inner needs? Create an interesting picture of your pre-conversion life and problems, and then explain what created a need and interest in Christian things.
How You Came to Know Christ:
How were you converted? Simply tell the events and circumstances that caused you to consider Christ as the solution to your needs. Take time to identify the steps that brought you to the point of trusting Christ. Where were you? What was happening at the time? What people or problems influenced your decision?
The Difference Christ Has Made in Your Life:
What is different about your life in Christ? How has his forgiveness impacted you? How have your thoughts, attitudes and emotions changed? What problems have been resolved or changed? Share how Christ is meeting your needs and what a relationship with him means to you now. This should be the largest part of your story.
- Don’t use evangelical jargon: don't sound churchy, preachy or pious.
- Stick to the point. Your conversion and new life in Christ should be the main points.
- Be specific. Include events, genuine feelings and personal insights, both before and after conversion, which people would be interested in and that clarify your main point. This makes your testimony easier to relate to. Assume you are sharing with someone with no knowledge of the Christian faith.
- Be current. Tell what is happening in your life with God now, today.
- Be honest. Don't exaggerate or portray yourself as living a perfect life with no problems. This is not realistic. The simple truth of what God has done in your life is all the Holy Spirit needs to convict someone of their sin and convince them of His love and grace.
- Remember, it’s the Holy Spirit that convicts. You need only be obedient and tell your story.
- When people reply to your efforts to share with statements like “I don’t believe in God,” “I don’t believe the Bible is God’s Word,” or “How can a loving God allow suffering?” how can we respond to these replies?
- Above all, keep a positive attitude. Don’t be defensive.
- Be sincere. This will speak volumes about your confidence in your faith.
- Don’t be offended. It’s not you they are rejecting.
- Pray—silently on-the-spot. Don’t proceed without asking for God’s help about the specific question. Seek his guidance on how, or if, you should proceed at this time.
- In God’s wisdom, choose to do one of the following:
- Postpone sharing at this time.
- Answer their objections, if you can.
- Promise to research their questions and return answers later.
Step 1. Everywhere Jesus went he used stories, or parables, to demonstrate our need for salvation. Through these stories, he helped people see the error of their ways, leading them to turn to him. Your story can be just as powerful today. Turn to Telling My Story on page ??? of the Appendix. Review this with your Spiritual Partner. Begin to develop your story by sharing what your life was like before you knew Christ. (If you haven’t yet committed your life to Christ or are not sure, you can find information about this in the Surrendering section. If you became a Christian at a very young age and don’t remember what life was like before Christ, reflect on what you have seen in the life of someone close to you.) Make notes about this aspect of your story below and commit to writing it out this week.
Step 2. Sit in circles of 2-3 people for this discussion. Turn to Telling My Story in the Appendix of your guide and review the “How You Came to Know Christ” section. Begin to develop this part of your story by sharing within your circle. Make notes about this aspect of your story below and commit to writing it out this week.
Step 2b. Connecting: Go around the group and share about a time you were stopped cold while sharing Christ, by a question you couldn’t answer. What happened?
Step 2c. Sharing: In question 1 we talked about the questions and objections we receive that stop us from continuing to share our faith with someone. These questions/objections might include:
- “I don’t believe in God.”
- “I don’t believe the Bible is God’s Word.”
- “How can a loving God allow suffering?”
How can we respond to these replies? Discuss the suggestions in Telling Your Story from the Appendix.
Step 3. Subgroup into circles of 2-3 people for this discussion. Turn to Telling My Story from the Appendix section of your Deepening Life Together Group Discussion Guide. Review “The Difference Christ Has Made in Your Life” section. Share the highlights of this part of your story within your circle. Make notes about this aspect of your story below and commit to writing it out this week.
Step 3b. Story: There’s nothing more exciting than a brand new believer. My wife became a Christian four years before I met her. She was a flight attendant at the time. Her zeal to introduce others to Jesus was reminiscent of the woman at the well who ran and got the whole town out to see Jesus.
My wife immediately began an international organization of Christian flight attendants for fellowship and for reaching out to others in their profession. She organized events where many people came to Christ, and bid for trips with another flight attendant who was a Christian so they could witness on the planes. They even bid for the shorter trips so they could talk to as many different people as possible. They had a goal for every flight to talk to at least one person about Christ, and to be encouraged by at least one person who already knew him. God met that request every time.
In her zeal, however, she went home to her family over the holidays and vacations and had little or no success. Later she would realize that she pressed them too hard. Jesus said a prophet is without honor in his own town, and I think the same goes for family. That’s because members of your family think they know you, and are more likely to ignore changes, choosing instead to see you as they’ve always seen you. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son—the son of Joseph?” they said of Jesus. “Don’t we know this guy?”
With family members you have to walk with Christ openly and be patient. Change takes time. And remember, we don’t save anyone. We just introduce them to Jesus through telling our own story. God does the rest.
Step 4. As a group, review Telling My Story. Share which part of your story is the most difficult for you to tell. Which is the easiest for you? If you have time, a few of you share your story with the group.
Step 5. Throughout this study we have had the opportunity to develop our individual testimonies. One way your group can serve each other is to provide a safe forum for “practicing” telling our stories. In the last session you began sharing your complete testimonies with each other. Continue to take turns sharing your testimonies now. Set a time limit—say 2 to 3 minutes each. Don’t miss this great opportunity to get to know one another better and encourage each other’s growth too.