I had the chance to speak to a room of college age women from University Fellowship last night for their weekly gathering called Worthy. I had been asked to speak about what it means to tell your Gospel story in order to share the truth of Jesus. You know, in churchy terms, “your testimony”. I think it’s something that with a little thought and practice, can become an easy and empowering part of living out your faith in Christ.
It was a great night, and again a refreshing break for me from my normal candy and sticker pushing speaking gigs with the preschool and elementary kids. I had some folks ask that I pass the notes along, and since I have a fancy blog now, 10 more of you will get to read them and decide for yourself if this is worth it’s salt at all!
And full disclosure, I learned/stole a lot of this from my very smart mama, Phares Gilchrist. I grew up watching her instruct on stuff like this while she and my dad served on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ. She could keep a room full of Delta Gammas at the U of O rapt in attention with her witty and wise delivery.
I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy listening to people who are this cute? Look at them, Brett and Phares circa The 80’s!
Share your Story
Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe
Every single person who trusts Jesus as their Lord has a calling to evangelistic ministry. We all inherit the joyful burden of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20, but we’re given both the authority of Christ, and the power of a personal account to help us present Christ in a relatable and compelling manner. Essentially, because we know Jesus personally, we are able to lead people to him, almost like taking a hand, walking them across the room and introducing them to him face to face. We are given the opportunity to make the introduction, but God through the work of the Holy Spirit in a heart, and the redeeming power of Jesus’ sacrifice, does the work of saving and imparting new life. Here are 3 scriptures and some applications that help give us a context for what it means to share our story.
Each of us have been given a personal ministry of sharing the Gospel, in the authority of Christ.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
- This is a directive, not an option. We each need to pursue evangelism in our spheres of influence.
- We absolutely are not alone in this, God has given us His Word to instruct us and has promised His presence to us.
We need to be practiced and ready to share not only our story but also the Gospel whenever the opportunity arises.
1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect
- If we revere Christ as Lord we will spend time in fellowship with other believers, in prayer, in his word, and his Holy Spirit will be more able to direct us.
- We need to be ready to respond whenever the opportunity arises. Whether it’s a blatant ask from an individual or a subtle nudging from the Spirit. Pray for opportunities to share. Practice your story.
- Look to Philip and his interaction with the Ethiopian Eunuch for an example. Acts. 8:26-40
We can be confident in sharing our stories, knowing that there is power whenever the Gospel is proclaimed.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
- When we share our story, remember it’s really not about us, but about the Gospel reaching the ears of the hearer. They have to make a personal decision. Look at the woman at the well. John 4:29-32.
- Value simplicity, honesty and a clear gospel presentation over trying to make your story dynamic. It’s not our words that compel someone to faith, but the power of God.
How to Craft a 3 minute Testimony in Order to Share the Gospel
How you came to Christ is your story. It cannot be argued with or denied. God is a witness to your life, and you are a witness to His. Because it is yours it is unique, even though many can identify with what you say.
There is no such thing as a boring testimony. It is the work of a good and loving Father in your life. There are, however, boring deliveries! This has everything to do with how the story is organized and nothing to do with the event. In organizing your story you want to have the listener in mind. We tend to start with what is important to us which often involves details that we care about but are not needed and can cloud a clear presentation. The goal is simple. Our story should be designed in a way that if it is the only time a hearer will hear the gospel they will leave understanding how to begin a relationship with Christ.
The basic outline is…
- What transpired in my life before Christ
- When/how I came to Christ
- After coming to Christ, how my life looked
- Before Christ…what was your life centered around; home life, school, relationships…you choose the theme.
- Coming to Christ…what were the circumstances involved in this decision. While everyone comes differently, we all experience these 4 things. At some point we came to understand that
- God Loves me
- I’m a sinner…not perfect, never will be
- Jesus died to repair the effects of my sin
- By accepting Christ’s offer of forgiveness I enter into a relationship with him, that is eternal.
- How your life looks after coming to know Christ. This is an opportunity to highlight what has changed for the better, what is difficult, and ultimately what your new found hope looks like as you live it out.
It is helpful to avoid some easy offenders, especially when you consider your audience.
- Using names of churches, denominations, para church groups (unless explained) whether positively or negatively.
- Using “Christianese” or language that is not common or weird to a non-Christian.
And finally keeping it to 3 minutes is easy on the listener and leaves them wanting more, not less.
Your challenge this week is to think through the outline of your testimony, to practice it with friends, and to pray for opportunities to arise at home, in your classes, at work, or with a stranger to share your story! Remember, God is ultimately the one who opens, directs and guides hearts to saving faith. He can reveal his Gospel to the lost world any way he chooses, but so often, he chooses us. It’s an incredible gift, don’t let your fear keep you from the joy of evangelism.
“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” -We Bought a Zoo
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