What Makes an Effective Testimony?
One thing all believers have in common is a personal testimony, and your own testimony can be the most effective tool for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Why? Because it is personal, identifiable, factual, unarguable, and engaging.
Your testimony can be the thing that turns the conversation to spiritual things and makes them receptive to the message you have to share. It may be the thing that the Holy Spirit uses either to convict them or soften them up to hear about the death and resurrection of Christ.
Whether you share your testimony in front of an audience or a single person, you will want to make sure that your testimony is encouraging and clear on the specific issue of trusting Christ. Some testimonies are dramatic and inspiring – touching heart strings and connecting with others, but if your testimony does not tell someone exactly how they can have what you have, then it has not really changed anything for anyone. How do you tell your story in such a way that a non-Christian might say, “God used your testimony to bring me to Christ?”
In Acts 1:8, Jesus says, “You will be my witnesses…” Give the eyewitness account of what Christ has done for you so that they can see what Christ can do for them.
What is a Personal Testimony?
It is personal.
It is a brief story of how you came to Christ…unique to you and your experience with Him.
It is identifiable.
It includes an appropriate part of your past that your non-Christian friend can identify.
It is factual.
It centers on the fact of the substitutionary death and resurrection of Christ.
It is unarguable.
They cannot argue with your experience or the death and resurrection of Christ on their behalf.
It is engaging.
It draws them in and enables them to engage with you about Christ and their need for a Savior.
When Do You Use Your Testimony?
In a personal setting.
Your testimony can move them to consider Christ.
In a public setting.
When speaking before an audience that includes non-Christians, your testimony can present the gospel so that others identify with it and with you.
In a difficult setting.
In situations that are stopped by arguments, misunderstandings, or rejections, your testimony can relieve the tension and clear the roadblock.
In a casual setting.
In conversation, your testimony can share Christ without being “preachy.”
In a short-term setting.
When you are limited by time, your testimony can be what the non-Christian remembers to take with them.
What Will Enhance Your Testimony?
BE CLEAR. Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again.
BE CLEAR. Eternal life is received by trusting Christ alone to save you.
BE CLEAR. Use terminology that non-Christians can understand.
BE CLEAR. Use the Bible but don’t try to teach the entire Bible.
BE CLEAR. Avoid mentioning church denominations.
BE CLEAR. Use a strong opening and closing line.
BE CLEAR. Keep it short.
Four Principles for an Effective Testimony
John 6:44 says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.”
Pray that the Holy Spirit moves in the hearts of our listeners.
A story God could use to bring someone to Christ deserves to be well prepared. Prayerfully think it through, listen to the Holy Spirit, write it out, and refine it.
Give it to a friend, invite feedback, give it again, and practice it until it becomes natural.
Once it is prepared, use it. Plant the seeds and watch the Holy Spirit use it to bring someone to a better understanding of the gospel and Christ’s death and resurrection on their behalf.
Prepare as if it all depends on you.
Pray as if it all depends on God.