“Testimony” is Christian cliche for the story of how you met Jesus. Whether you realize it or not, if you’ve met Jesus, you have a testimony.
Throughout my life I’ve heard people say, “Anyone can share their testimony! It’s easy!”
I agree that every Christian has a story of how they met Jesus, and I agree that every Christian ought to be able to share that story with someone else. However, in reality I know that most people struggle when it comes to sharing their testimony. I also know it’s really easy to do a poor job of sharing your testimony. I’ve heard “testimonies” that never mentioned sin, Jesus, repentance, or faith. I’ve heard “testimonies” that unintentionally suggested that trusting in Jesus would solve all your problems. I’ve heard “testimonies” that just left me scratching my head wondering if the speaker had even met Jesus!
If you are a follower of Jesus, you have a “testimony,” and you should be able to tell others the story of how you met Jesus. However, you need to be aware of the following mistakes Christians often make when sharing their testimony.
- Using Christian “clichés.” Unchurched people don’t know about “VBS” or “inviting Jesus into your heart” or any of the other Christian clichés we toss around.
- Being too wordy. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but odds are the story of how you met Jesus isn’t going to hold anyone’s attention very long. Be brief.
- Avoiding the gospel. I don’t think people set out to avoid the gospel, but in reality many people end up talking about their life without sharing the good news.
- Glorifying sin. Your testimony is not the time to tell people how bad you used to be. Yes, you need to acknowledge your sin, but you don’t need to make it seem fun.
- Ignoring Scripture. You must realize that your story and your words have no power to change anyone’s heart. God’s Spirit using God’s Word has that power. Use it!
- Not praying for wisdom. It really is easy to share your testimony poorly, and it really does take wisdom to know what to say and how to say it. Ask God for wisdom.
- Neglecting your audience. You should share (and leave out) different parts of your story depending on your audience (children, youth, college students, adults).
- Not writing it out. Writing your story down, word for word, will help you think through exactly what you want to say and exactly how you want to say it.
- Not timing yourself. Most of us are poor judges when it comes to how long we speak. Timing yourself will ensure you don’t speak too long and you speak long enough.
- Forgetting translation time. Obviously this is only applicable when you are in a cross cultural setting. On a mission trip, don’t forget to plan for translation time.
Originally published March 27, 2017 on landoncoleman.com.