Testimony part 4: A Story to Tell Others

Around the world, storytelling is becoming a renewed interest and a very predominant means to communicate information. Why? Because people can relate to stories. It is an intersection between two lives. 
 
Effective storytelling comes from a belief that the story is authentic and people judge that authenticity on the delivery of their story.  
 
Your Christian testimony is just that—an authentic story of the circumstances, views, people and decisions surrounding your response to God’s work in your life. 
 
The goal here is to learn how to effectively communicate how God has changed and continues to change your life.

the 4 e's of effective storytelling

These four E’s may help you tell your story in a way that touches lives. 
 

1. Engage

Your testimony is living proof that God has worked and continues to work in your life.
 
Whether you came to Christ when you were young or only recently, God has given you a life story to encourage your own faith and the faith of others. 
 
Using the questions below, write down the thoughts that come to your mind when you consider your own spiritual journey. It can be helpful to share your thoughts out loud with another person. 
  • Pick one word to describe your life before knowing Christ, and one word that describes your life after trusting Him. 
  • What were you like before knowing God? How did you think about God, yourself, others? What were some of your “appetites” that you attempted to fulfill? 
  • What did God do to help turn your heart toward Him? What significant people and events affected your life, both positively and negatively? What was it about God that attracted you? When did the gospel message start to make sense? 
  • After trusting Christ for forgiveness and freedom, how did your “appetites” begin to change? Do you have different values, priorities or relationships?
  • What does it mean for you to walk with God today? How do you see or experience Him in your everyday activities?
  • Do you see a theme that might summarize your journey? 

2. explore

Read the apostle Paul’s testimony in Acts 25:23-26:32, then think through these prompts. 

Journal around specific insights you gained as it pertains to exploring your own story.

  • Describe the setting in which Paul finds himself in 25:23-27. How would you feel if you were in a similar situation?
  • What is Paul’s attitude in 26:2? As you prepare to share your story with others, why might Paul’s attitude be significant to you?
  • What are the elements of the gospel proclaimed in 26:22-23?
  • After Festus accused Paul of being crazy (26:27-29), how did Paul demonstrate his confidence in the gospel and his new life?
  • In general, what are the different responses to Paul’s testimony in 26:25-32? 

3. example

Everyone’s spiritual journey looks different. We come to know Christ from many different directions and in many different ways. However our stories unfold, whatever our theological understanding of what happened in our lives, we should strive to communicate the elements of the gospel to people clearly so that they understand the difference Jesus could make in their lives.
 
The gospel story involves:
  • an awareness of sin,
  • God’s initiation toward us,
  • a moment of surrender, and
  • continued growth.
While we may all use different language to describe these parts and how we came to understand them, we need to help others understand the core of the gospel in as clear a manner as possible.
 
Each interaction with another human being is unique and may draw out different aspects of our story, but as God leads and circumstances allow, we want to make clear why a person needs Christ, how a person trusts Christ, and what it looks like to walk with Christ.
 
Keep in mind that others will watch your example before they listen to your words. Though you didn’t suddenly turn into an angel, unless they can see the difference Jesus has made, your words will be in vain.

4. experience

Do you find it hard to jump from general conversation to more meaningful, spiritual conversation? Most people find this hurdle too large to jump. However, if you become familiar with the S.H.A.R.E. acrostic below, you will not only express interest in the person with whom you are communicating but also provide initiative and direction for the conversation.
 
Secular | Talk about everyday events going on in their community or in the world.
 
Home Life | Ask where they are from, about their parents, siblings and more.
 
Attitudes | Learn about what they think or feel about something in the news or personal.
 
Religious Background | Do they go to church or worship elsewhere? What are some of their faith traditions?
 
Experience with God | What have been some of their spiritual experiences so far? Do they tend to go on retreats? Or do they listen to podcasts that challenge them in their experience of God?
 
Practice using S.H.A.R.E. as you interact with people. It can help you move from initial conversation to more meaningful topics. Pay attention to their answers for future conversations.

watch

Erica's Story
In this final video in this series, Erica shares her story. She talks about what she learned by forging deep relationships with friends from various ethnic backgrounds.

"While the idea of colorblindness is a well-intentioned reaction to racial division, it misses God’s purposes in creation. … I try and look intentionally at the cultural and ethnic differences between people, and appreciate how God designed us [in His image]. … I am thankful I get to see glimpses of my God in the people He created.” Erica

Earlier, you had captured the first parts of your story—how your life was before you knew Jesus, and how it came that you decided to surrender your life to God. Next, capture what changed in your life after coming to faith in Jesus. 

 

Capture your “after” by responding to the prompts below. 

  • First, what highlights do you recall from Erica’s story?
  • What other insights stand out from the contents covered in this module.
  • What are specific changes (and illustrations about the changes) Christ has made in your life since entrusting your life to Him?
  • In what ways are you motivated differently since choosing faith in Jesus?

supplemental resources

live it!

Write the “after” section of your testimony. Next, compile all three parts and  and shorten it to three minutes. Then share your story with one other person. 
 
To refresh your memory, look back to what you had written earlier about your life BEFORE you knew Jesus.

Up Next | Discipleship and Multiplication Knowing what a difference it has made in your life to come to know Jesus, you’ll want to not only invite others into knowing Jesus, but also coach them in their faith journey. We call that discipleship, which really is just another word for being a student of someone’s teaching or their ways.

Knowing what a difference it has made in your life to come to know Jesus, you’ll want to not only invite others into knowing Jesus, but also coach them in their faith journey. We call that discipleship, which really is just another word for being a student of someone’s teaching or their ways.

equipped

How to Share Your Testimony  is the fourth journey of the Equipped Disciples Curriculum from Athletes in Action. Learn about the whole five collection series and how the parts fit together.