You may not be familiar with what a testimony is as it relates to Christ. That’s ok! This is a great place to start. If you already have experience sharing your testimony about Christ, we’re also glad you’re here. This is a good opportunity to think about how God is working in your life and has added to your story.
If you’re unfamiliar, let’s start by defining what we’re talking about. When you think about what a testimony is, it might bring to mind something like a Yelp review—an opportunity to publicly share your experience about how a place you went affected you. In a similar way, your testimony about Christ is your opportunity to publicly share how Jesus changed your life.
If the idea of sharing your testimony feels intimidating, know that you aren’t alone. Not everyone is a naturally eloquent speaker or can tell a compelling story at a moment’s notice. So, understanding the key parts of your testimony and what you want to say (or even memorizing it) can make it easier when the opportunity arises to share your story.
Paul’s example of a testimony about Christ in the Bible
The Bible is always a good place to start when you’re in search of wisdom for your life. So, it’s no surprise that it also has a testimony to serve as a reference for us to use in our own lives. Glimpses into the life of the Apostle Paul are seen throughout the books of the New Testament following the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. We see how Paul’s story starts by persecuting Christians (Acts 8). Christ appears to him (Acts 9). And then his life completely changes.
In Acts 22, Paul talks through the story of his life and his testimony about how Christ entered his life and turned it upside down. This is a roadmap that we can borrow for our testimony.
1. Who were you before you knew Christ?
With any story, it’s normally best to start at the beginning. And that’s what Paul does in verses 1-5. He tells about his life as a Jew, born in Tarsus; where he studied; and what he was passionate about. And he talks about how he was in opposition to God as he “persecuted this Way to the death, tying up and throwing both men and women into prisons.”
Remember, everyone’s story is different. There are no right or wrong ways to tell your story. What’s important is to be honest about who you were before you knew Christ.
Also, be sure that you consider the person or group that you’re talking to. Your testimony is your story, but it’s purpose is for who you’re telling it to. What Is the central theme to your story that will make it memorable and impactful for them? Think about how you would best summarize the change that God has made in your life. What’s the beginning, middle, and end to that? This is your chance to tell that beginning part of your story—whatever it may be. Perhaps it was a sin that was ruling your life, a competing priority in your life distracting from God, or a challenging situation that you went through.
2. How did you come to know Christ?
Christ is always pursuing us. We know he came to earth to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). But we don’t always have eyes to see what God is doing in our lives or ears to hear what God wants to tell us about who he is. So, often in a testimony about Christ, there is a moment, series of events, or set of circumstances that opens a person’s eyes to Christ as their Savior.
For Paul, that moment was quite literal. Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascus, which he describes in Acts 22:6-13. Even if your story doesn’t have the dramatics of Christ appearing to you and him striking you blind for a time, when did you first recognize that Christ was the Son of God and the only one who could save you (John 14:6)?
3. What does your life look like now that you know Christ?
The power of Jesus is life-changing. How did that power change your life? Following Christ is a journey. So, over time this part of your testimony will change because Christ will continue to shape who you are. Another important thing to remember is that Christ is the only one who lived a perfect life—the one who knew no sin became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Your story isn’t one of an imperfect being becoming perfect overnight. It’s a story of a Savior who saw you in your imperfection, loved you enough to die for you, and is working in your life each day so that you can become more like him (Romans 5:1-11).
Paul describes this in Acts 22:14-21 when he talks about what he did when he regained his sight, went to Jerusalem, and heard God’s instruction to go to share the gospel with the Gentiles. What are the differences in your life before and after coming to know Christ? Compare and contrast who you were before to who you are now. Tell the story of a good work started in you that will be carried on to completion until the day that Christ returns (Philippians 1:6).
Practical steps to put your Christian testimony together
Now that you know what to think about when putting together your testimony about Christ, how do you put all the pieces together?
1. Write it down
Writing out your thoughts can help make sure you say what you want to say. It can also help you remember events from your life and organize your thoughts.
2. Share what you wrote with someone you trust
If you’re comfortable with it, share a first draft of what you wrote with someone who knows your life and some of the details of your story. This step can help make sure you haven’t missed something or could make a point more clear.
3. Practice saying it out loud
One recommendation is to create a three-to-five minute version of your testimony. This length is easy to remember, easy to share, and easy for someone to listen to. If what you’ve drafted is much longer than that, don’t delete it all! You may have opportunities to share a longer version of your testimony, but look at where you could centralize your testimony around a theme, cut details that may not be necessary to include, or use shorter, clearer words and sentences.
4. Know your key points
Now that you have your testimony put together, take the time to know the key points of what you want to get across. You may even want to memorize your testimony just as you wrote it. If you’re not good at memorizing things and want to make sure you have the details correct, write down your testimony on an index card that you can keep in a convenient place (i.e. wallet, car, purse, etc.) to have available for reference, if needed.
5. Make sure the end is clear
The first time that you read a book or watch a movie, do you usually remember the beginning and middle? Or do you close the book or get to the credits of the movie and think, “Can you believe that ending?” Keep that in mind as you put together your testimony. The beginning and middle lay the groundwork for the point at the end that brings everything together. Your testimony should show how Christ changed your life and continues to make an impact in your life today.
Identify the right opportunities to share your testimony
Now that you have your testimony ready, all that’s left to do is share it. There might be someone in your life—a friend, family member, or even coworker—who you know needs to hear about Christ. Listen for opportunities to share your story. Perhaps they struggle with something that you also do, or they are going through a challenging experience that relates to your testimony. You can share an encouraging word about how Christ helped you through it.
If you’re struggling to bring your testimony into conversation with someone you know needs to hear it, consider writing an encouraging note to the person and sharing your testimony in that way. Also, remember that your life is a testimony to who Christ is. So, just the way you act differently from the world around you might spur someone to ask about what is different about your life. Take the opportunity to tell them the impact that Christ has made in your life.
Another opportunity to start a conversation is the Christian Prayer Breakfast, which is a LUNCH in 2022! Start by inviting someone to the event. They’ll hear the positive message of Jesus during the event. After the event, share how Christ changed your life.
Consider Galatians 2:20 (NIV) as you put together your testimony.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
I lived one way apart from God, lost in sin. But Christ died for me and my sins, and once I recognized that truth, that fact changed everything. Now the life I live is a daily pursuit of a Savior that gave up his life so that I might be transformed from the inside out. And it’s because of my Savior, Jesus, that I have hope of an eternity with him.