This post is part 5 in a series of posts 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 Jesus, and Writing Our Testimonies: Encountering Jesus.
Since Encountering Jesus
Romans 10: 14-15 tell us that in order for others to become Christians we need to tell them about Jesus. Sharing what Jesus did for us gives others hope that He will do the same for them.
Friends and family are interested in how God became real for us. They may resist finger-pointing, guilt-instilling lectures, but they want to know what makes us tick—and God is a huge factor in that.
Each episode of God working in our lives is like a scene from a play. When they are all put together they become a complete story—our testimony. Our testimony helps us and others understand how much God loves us and works to bring us into a right relationship with Him. God can then use that story to minister to others.
In this session we are going to focus on what has happened in our lives SINCE we realized we needed Jesus to forgive us and bring us into a right relationship with God.
Whether we became Christians at a young age and can’t remember a time when we didn’t believe in Jesus, or we put our trust in him after we were grown, we have a story to tell.
Waypoint Community Church in Davis, California offers their congregants excellent testimony writing prompts and guidelines*. Waypoint’s blueprint includes the following:
1. Memorable times when certain spiritual truths became particularly relevant—when concepts moved from head knowledge to heartfelt belief.
2. Unforgettable occasions of rededication or renewed commitment to Jesus.
3. Instances of turning away from a particular sin after being made aware of it—addictions, wrong attitudes, misplaced beliefs, sinful lifestyles, etc.
4. Circumstances that have revealed God’s love and grace and have deepened my appreciation for the cross.
5. My main identity now in relationship to God—who Jesus is to me and how his Lordship in my life is evident to others.
6. Ways in which I have developed “spiritual hunger,” i.e. a desire for, an interest in, knowing more about God, reading and studying the Bible, experiencing true fellowship and conversation with God, and involvement in missions.
7. Changes in my basic outlook on life—differences in goals and values regarding money, marriage, pleasures, career, success, security, etc.; how these differences have precipitated conflicts or alienations between me and non-Christian friends or family members who do not share my views and values.
Our testimonies are very individual and personal. No two are ever alike—even for people like my husband and I, who committed our lives to Jesus on the same day and have shared many spiritual experiences since that time. Some testimonies will have a longer “before’ section, while others will write more at length about their life “since” encountering Jesus. One person’s story may be complex and intricate; another person’s story will be simple and brief. There is no right or wrong style, length, complexity, or vocabulary to a testimony. That’s what is so amazing! God reaches out to each of us wherever we are, sending those He knows we can relate to, using the approach He knows will be most effective for us.
©2011 Pamela D. Williams