Have you ever been asked why you are a Christian? Do you know what you would say?
What is your story?
Sharing your story, commonly called your testimony, with others is a basic principle of evangelism, but, it can be incredibly intimidating. Here are three keys to help you share your testimony more effectively.
Know Your Audience
Depending on culture and worldview, stories will vary in content and structure. Sharing your testimony, the story about how God has changed your life, should not be any different. You should be prepared to adapt your story to connect with whomever is in your audience. If you do not know your audience well, engage them in a conversation and try to figure out a few basics of their background. Then, meet them where they are at.
I would also suggest developing a one sentence testimony, a three-minute version, and a more detailed 10-minute version. Having premeditated versions of you testimony will help you adapt to any situation you may find yourself in. I am not suggesting that you memorize these versions verbatim - that would contradict knowing your audience - but it is a good idea to prepare so that you have an operating framework.
Watch Your Language
This goes hand in hand with knowing your audience. Christians tend to have their own phrases and buzz words - “Christianese”, if you will. Using “Christianese” words and phrases will only alienate your audience. Here are some words and phrases that may not be familiar to your audience: “salvation”, “set free”, “accept Jesus”, “fellowship”, “ask Jesus into your heart”, etc.
Actually, I once had a conversation with a friend who comes from an Eastern worldview/faith. Another Christian had told him that all he needed to do to go to heaven, was “ask Jesus into his heart”. When he asked me if that is what I believed, I asked him if he even had any idea what that meant. He laughed and admitted that, no, it did not make sense to him. We had a great conversation about what the phrase is intended to mean and I explained the gospel in some different ways that were more relatable to him.
Additionally, people of other faiths may be familiar with certain words, but attribute different meanings to those words. Try to find out how your audience defines basic words, like “sin”, “prayer”, “heaven”, etc. You should be prepared to expand upon basic beliefs that are integral to Christianity.
Most importantly, your testimony is about Jesus. It is about what life was like before Him, His pursuit of you, your decision to follow Him and how He continues to impact your life today.
A great example of this is found in Acts 26, when Paul shares his story before a king and a governor. Paul shares about who he was before following Jesus (Acts 26:4-11), his encounter with Jesus (Acts 26:12-18), his commitment to follow Jesus (Acts 26:19-20) and how Christ has continued to impact him (Acts 26:21-23).
By sharing these key components, our stories will reflect and reaffirm our relationships with Jesus. Every piece should highlight that the gospel is the greatest news of all time and your life is evidence. He has pursued us, despite our rebellion. He sacrificed for us. He has transformed us into a new creations. He is still alive, active, and moving in our lives every day.