Crafting Your Testimony

What is a testimony?

The word "testimony" comes from the Greek word μαρτυς (pronounced: mar-tews), which is often translated as "witness." This term comes from the legal realm, and was especially prominent with regard to the courtroom. Thus, when we talk about crafting our testimony, what we are doing is essentially engaging in an act whereby we share or testify to the wonderful work God has done in our lives. The typical structure of a testimony, which is supposed to be very short in terms of time, is as follows: 1) Life prior to Christ, 2) Swearing allegiance to Christ, and 3) Life in Christ. Thus, in crafting our testimonies, we'll follow that pattern.

Step 1

  • This part of your testimony should be 1 minute or less.
  • This part of your testimony should share some of your background history. Pick 1 or 2 of the things below as possible starting points.
    • What were you like before knowing Christ?​
    • Who/What was most important in your life prior to knowing Christ?
    • What was your family life like?
    • Where did you live/grow up?
    • What were you known for?
    • Did you grow up in a religious family or not?
    • Is there a good word or analogy that describes your life before knowing Christ?
      • If so, you can use that a few times to your advantage.​
  • This part of your testimony should interest those you're sharing with. Start with something to grab attention.
Here's the first part of my testimony. Notice that it's very short; it's just one paragraph and it takes about a minute (or less) to share. Feel free to imitate the structure of this paragraph and/or come up with something completely different. The most important thing is this: Physically write it down (on paper or on a computer). Do not just "write" it in your head. Have fun!
Ever heard the term "trailer trash"? Well, that's what people thought of me and my neighbors in the town I grew up in: We were poor trailer trash. But to be trailer trash meant something: your children and your grandchildren would also grow up trailer trash. You see, when you're poor, it's tough to break the cycle. Poverty is passed on from generation to generation. That's what statistics say, anyway. And, honestly, many of the statistics aren't too far off. Pretty much every friend I grew up with got into some sort of trouble, got locked up, got into alcohol and/or drugs, got married and divorced, etc. The same was supposed to happen for me. That's what statistics say, anyway. Today, I should have a police record, a broken marriage, and be living in poverty. That's what statistics say, anyway.
  • This part of your testimony should also be 1 minute or less.
  • This part of your testimony should link to the preceding part. Use a similar word, theme, or idea that is prominent in Step 1 to connect with Step 2. (Notice how I do that with the term "statistics." I end Step 1 with that concepts and start step 2 with it, so there's a specific connection.)
  • This part of your story should incorporate how you came to confess your allegiance to Christ. 
  • This part of your story "may" include Scripture, but doesn't have to. 
 
Here's the second part of my testimony. This, too, is short...just a paragraph and may take a minute or less to share with someone. You may want to imitate the structure of this paragraph or create something on your own. Write it down.
But I've learned in life that statistics usually don't account for God's grace. It's by God's grace that I am none of those things; that I'm not just a statistic. God's grace transcends statistics. As a child, the notion of me having 5 degrees and leading a church, well, that just wasn't in the cards. On paper, that wasn't even thinkable. Yet, when I was 17, that all changed. I yielded my life to Christ and that made all the difference. I swore my allegiance to him and his kingdom and that made all the difference. And the Holy Spirit moved into my life, repositioned my heart, and set me on a path to new life and new living. That decision from 20 years ago changed everything. Christ not only forgave me of my sins, but delivered me from all the brokenness that surrounded me. And his grace can do that for anyone, even us.
  • This part of your testimony should explain what life as a Christian has been like. 
  • This part of your testimony should connect with Steps 1 and 2 through shared words, or ideas, themes, etc.
  • This part of your testimony should end with a question like: So, what do you think? Have you experienced anything like that? Would you like to?
Here is the final portion of my testimony. As with the first two parts, it is short, around or less than a minute. You may want to imitate this paragraph structure or do something unique. Write it down.
Once I encountered God's grace, I realized that I wasn't merely a statistics; statistics no longer mattered. As I've grown in my commitment to Christ, I've realized that the most important thing is that I belong to him. Being his is what defines me most. I'm no longer marked as "trailer trash" but as a "child of God," an "heir of God," a "citizen of God's kingdom." And that's what I'm striving to pass down from generation to generation, to my children and, one day, my grandchildren. I want them to know Christ. And I want people to know Christ. Why? Because Christ changes everything. And that's something statistics often don't take into account.

Step 2

Step 3

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