Sunday, July 31, 2011

Writing Our Testimonies: The Final Checklist

This is the final post in a series by Pam Williams on "Writing Our Testimonies." To read the earlier articles, click on Writing Our Testimonies: Why We Share, Writing Our Testimonies: A Biblical Example, Writing Our Testimonies: Life Before Encountering JesusWriting Our Testimonies: The Encounter With Jesus, and Writing Our Testimonies: Life Since Encountering Jesus.

Writing Our Testimonies: The Final Checklist

“Proclaim his glory to the nations, his mighty deeds to all peoples.”Psalms 96:3 (GNT)

We are called to let the world know what God has done for us. God even promises to give us the words. (Jeremiah 1:7-9) We need not concern ourselves with whether or not we are as experienced a writer as Max Lucado or if our story is as exciting as the salvation of Billy the Kid, former member of Hell’s Angels. Our only responsibility is to be obedient and recount our own story. When we tell others what God has done for us, we don’t know who may relate to our story and draw hope that God will work in their life also.

As we write our testimony, answering the following questions will clarify and focus our account so others can easily understand and relate to it.

As we write our testimony, answering the following questions will clarify and focus our account so others can easily understand and relate to it.

ü  Have I prayed about this writing project, trusting God to organize my thoughts and form my words?
ü  Do I catch the reader’s attention at the get-go with a strong opening hook?
ü  Have I written my story as though I am having a conversation with one person?
ü  Did I write in first person, using “I”, “me” and “my”, rather than “you” and “your?
ü  Does my testimony state my main point in the introduction, weave it throughout the testimony, and restate it in the conclusion?
ü  Have I stayed on task, sticking to what is relevant to my salvation experience and avoiding unnecessary tangents or characters?
ü  Are my vocabulary and concepts understandable to a general readership, avoiding “Christian-ese” and theological discussions?
ü  Have I kept Christ central and shared how He enables me to walk through my problems, rather than removing them?
ü  Have I answered the “Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?” of my experience?
ü  Did I present events in a logical order?
ü  Does my testimony share my progression through the steps of salvation—admitting I did wrong things; realizing God loves me anyhow; believing Jesus died so I could be forgiven; asking God’s Spirit to work in my life?
ü  Is my tone positive and uplifting?
ü  Did I avoid bad-mouthing any individuals, churches or denominations, realizing experiences vary greatly from one person to the next?
ü  Have I backed up my experience with a few Scriptures brought to life by my experience rather than merely stringing Bible verses together?
ü  Have I been honest, open, vulnerable, and real, letting the reader see my struggle, instead of casting myself as a saint?
ü  Is my testimony a story that allows the Holy Spirit to do the convicting and that avoids preaching and finger-pointing?
ü  Was I careful not to glorify sin when writing about my life before encountering Jesus?
ü  Does my testimony reveal God’s character and help the reader get to know Him better?
ü  Have I stimulated readers to think about their own lives by leaving them with a challenging thought?
ü  Is my testimony only as long as absolutely necessary to adequately explain my experience?
ü  Have I asked other writers to critique my story to make sure it does not contain awkward wording or leave out important information?

It is also important to keep in mind that our personal testimonies are constantly changing. From time to time we will want to update our specific details. The various seasons of life will change what we emphasize in our testimony.

God has given us, the followers of Jesus Christ, the privilege of testifying to His goodness. In faith, let us pick up our pens and write!

Blessings as you write for Him!

©2011 Pamela D. Williams

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