Sharing Your Testimony
by Charles R. Swindoll
A time-honored, effective method of evangelism is your personal testimony. Just telling about your spiritual pilgrimage. The skeptic may deny your doctrine or attack your church, but he cannot honestly ignore the fact that your life has been cleaned up and revolutionized.
Now I'm not talking about some stale, dragged-out verbal marathon. That kind of testimony never attracted anyone! I'm speaking of an effective, powerful missile launched from your lips to the ears of the unsaved. Consider these five suggestions:
1. You want to be listened to, so be interesting. It's a contradiction to talk about how exciting Christ really is in an uninteresting way. Remember to guard against religious clichés, jargon, and hard-to-understand terminology. Theologians, beware!
2. You want to be understood, so be logical. Think of your salvation in three phases and construct your testimony accordingly: (a) before you were born again---the struggles within, the loneliness, lack of peace, absence of love, unrest, and fears; (b) the decision that revolutionized your life; and (c) the change---the difference it has made since you received Christ.
3. You want the moment of your new birth to be clear, so be specific. Don't be vague. Speak of Christ, not the church. Emphasize faith more than feeling. Be simple and direct as you describe what you did or what you prayed or what you said. This is crucial!
4. You want your testimony to be used, so be practical. Be human and honest as you talk. Don't promise, "All your problems will end if you will become a Christian," for that isn't true. Try to think as unbelievers think.
5. You want your testimony to produce results, so be warm and genuine. A smile breaks down more barriers than the hammer blows of cold, hard facts. Let your enthusiasm flow freely. It's hard to convince someone of the sheer joy and excitement of knowing Christ if you're wearing a face like a jail warden. Above all, be positive and courteous. Absolutely refuse to argue. Nobody I ever met was "arm wrestled" into the kingdom. Insults and put-downs turn people off.
Ask God to open your lips and honor your words . . . but be careful! Once your missile hits the target, you'll become totally dissatisfied with your former life as an earthbound, secret-service saint.
No persuasive technique will ever take the place of your personal testimony. If you have not discovered the value of telling others how God rearranged your life, you've missed a vital link in the chain of His plan for reaching the lost.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.