Unashamed

of the Gospel

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16 (ESV)

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My Personal Testimony - "My Story"

Every Christian should be able to present "My Story" - our own personal testimony.  Yet few Christians have even given it much thought, much less taken the time to put together a written testimony that can be presented verbally.  The personal testimony that you present to other believers will be different from the one you present to non-believers.  The focus here is on your personal testimony to present to non-believers.

Here are some guidelines.  Much of this material comes from the Navigators 2:7 course, but alas, I cannot find the details on-line.

  • You testimony should be short.  The rule of thumb is that is should take no longer than 3 or 4 minutes to present. 

  • Although you are preparing a written testimony, you will be speaking it.  It should sound conversational, not like a term paper.

  • It should be personal.  That is, the story is about you, not the person you are speaking to.  Lots of "I" and "my." Avoid "you."

What are the key components?  These are personal and no two people will share identical versions of these components.

  • My life before Christ.  This should include any struggles, questions, sins, failings, anything to show that there was something missing in your life.  It doesn't require a long list, just one or two.

  • How I came to Christ.  What happened that led you to saving faith in Christ? 

  • My life after Christ.  How has your life changed as a result of bringing Christ into it?

For those who came to saving faith at a very young age, there are several alternatives.  More to come on this later, but the easiest is simply to skip "life before" and describe the environment you grew up in that led you to faith at a young age.

 

Ideas from improving your testimony.

  • Avoid Christian jargon.  You are speaking to a non-believer and they may not have a clue what you mean when you say "salvation," "born again," or even "sin."

  • Speak in general terms so more people can identify with your story.  If possible, avoid mention specific churches, denominations, or organizations.  Likewise, avoid dates and other details unless they are essential.

  • If you can include humor, do so.  Don't make your testimony sound dull and boring, like something to be avoided.

  • Avoid dogmatic statements that a non-believer might reasonably question, like "God said to me ...."

  • In your "life after Christ," do not imply that all struggles and problems have ended.  Because they haven't!

  • Minimize "clutter." Say "three friends" rather than listing by name.  Names are best avoided unless they would have relevance to the person you are speaking to.

  • Try to include some aspects of the gospel message.  This isn't essential since you can flesh that out should you get a positive response.  But excluding them could lead your listener to ask "so what is the point of all this?"  Don't present them as bullet points, but try to weave them into your story.

  • If a particular bit of Scripture is very relevant to your story, include it.  Make clear why it is relevant.

Ideas for struggles "before Christ:"

No peace, fear of death, guilt, no purpose or meaning in life, boredom, loneliness, something missing, depression, bad habits, emptiness, dissatisfaction.

Ideas for how we tried to deal with these "before Christ:"

Marriage / family, work, drugs / alcohol, sports / fitness, money, education, hobbies / entertainment, wrong friends.

What are the essential components of the gospel message?  There are a lot of opinions on this.  But from the Navigators (including the verses is optional):

  • All have sinned. (Romans 3:23 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.)

  • Sin's penalty. (Romans 6:23a  - For the wages of sin is death.)

  • Christ paid the penalty. (Romans 5:8 - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.)

  • Must receive Christ. (John 1:12 - But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.)