By Karen Covell, Jim Covell and Victorya Michaels Rogers
Whats your story? Everyone has one. If youve never sat down and written out
your spiritual testimony in chronological order, when you do, youll be amazed
at how God has been working in your life. No testimony is boring. No matter who
you are or where youve been, your story of Christs work in your life is unique
and fascinating and will be relevant and potentially life-changing for the
A personal testimony is the most non-threatening way to tell an unbeliever
why Jesus is important to you. It allows you to be open about your life while
giving God the glory. You can rave about the power of Jesus to transform a
life, and even a hostile audience will listen because youre not asking anything
of them. Its a powerful story, because its unique to you, and it describes the
miracle of salvation.
We know that our faith is based on the divine truth and accuracy of the
Bible. We also know that well encounter skeptics who like to argue that the
Bible has been changed as its been passed down through time.
Few, however, will question your story, because its as fresh and modern as
the morning paper, and youre a living and breathing eye witness to the event.
Your story is compelling because its personal and experiential. You can prove
its true, because you were there! It cant be refuted.
If youre convinced that following Christ in a personal relationship is the
best way to live and the only path ending at an eternal reward, why not help
others to this path by talking about your own journey. If youre passionate
about your relationship with God, your story will be so infectious itll cause
others to want the same thing. And if youre excited and eager to share your
story, be prepared to express it clearly and concisely.
Your credible testimony
One Sunday we were talking to our Sunday school class about preparing a
three-minute testimony. Afterwards, a police officer friend offered us a fresh
perspective: He said that when someone is called to testify as a witness in
court, he can only speak about what he personally has seen, heard or
experienced. The witness cant speak for what someone else has heard or seen,
and he cant testify about what he assumes to be true. The evidence
considered in a court of law must be an account of the witnesss personal
experience and how it affected him (see 1 John 1:1-4).
Thats exactly what youre doing when you prepare your testimony. Youre
testifying about your personal encounter with God and how it has impacted you.
Thats all a jury wants to hear when theyre searching for answers. And thats why
you have to be ready to testify clearly and concisely when youre called to the
witness stand. Then its up to the jury to decide if what youre saying is trueif
your testimony is credible.
Your spiritual autobiography
Writing a personal testimony is simple. Its merely giving shape to a story
thats already been writtenyour job is to organize it into a presentable form.
The purpose is to let others know what Christ has done in your life.
Try to keep your story approximately three minutes in length. Thats the
average time youll be able to hold a listeners attention. Keep in mind that its
much more difficult to condense than to expand, so prepare a short version that
can help communicate the facts concisely to someone whos waiting for a cab or
in line to pay at the register. When you have more timesuch as when youre with
someone youve gotten to know much betteryou can explain your story further and
include more details.
Tell your story in such a way that others will identify with the entire path
of your experiences (past and present), not just your conversion. In other
words, tell them what Christ is doing in your life today, not just what
happened when you made your commitment.
Its up to you to show the transformation in your life, whether its subtle or
dramatic. Without a path there can be no journey, and without a journey there
can be no redemption. Show how your life is a fulfillment of Gods promise
that if anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation; old things have
passed away, and look, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5: 17).
Remember that were all recovering humans; were still works in progress. Its not
over til its over.
For more resources on sharing your faith check out The Net and the
One-Day/One-Hour Witnessing Workshop. Order The Net by calling
866-407-NAMB or visit www.namb.net/catalog. Download materials for the One-Day/One-Hour
Witnessing Workshop at www.namb.net/onedaywitness.
Your simple format
Before Christ (B.C.) Your spiritual journey began with the time before you had
any knowledge of Jesus Christ. Talk about your life as an unbeliever, even if
you grew up in a Christian home and cant claim a seedy past. Sinners are still
sinners whether they grew up in a church or in an agnostic family. Tell what
your life was like B.C.
Meeting Christ (Year Zero) There came a time when you were introduced to
Jesus, and you knew you had to choose whether or not you were going to believe
Jesus Christ is who He said He is. Year Zero is the time you met Christ and
consciously chose to follow Himthe point of your conversion, whether it was a
moment in time or a process. Talk about when you realized your need for Christ
and made a personal commitment to Jesus. All have fallen short. Talk about some
ways you realized you fell short and how Christ revealed Himself as the only
After Christ (A.D.) After you accepted Christ into your life, He began
transforming you. That part of the story will never be over, but at any given
point in time you are experiencing victories or seeing evidence that God is
working. Every year after your salvation is a year of the Lord. Talk about what
Jesus has done in your life since He changed you.
The bottom line is that you clearly state how Jesus Christ has changed your
life and why you have chosen to continue letting Him be Lord. Tell 1) when you
accepted Him as your Savior, 2) how Hes changed you, and 3) what the tangible
results have been in your life.
Karen and Jim Covell live in Hollywood, California, where Karen is a
producer and Jim is a music composer. Victorya Michaels Rogers, a
NAMB-appointed Mission Service Corps missionary to Hollywood based on her work
there as a talent agent, lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. This article is based on
their book, How to Talk About Jesus Without Freaking Out (Multnomah, 2000).
Jim and Karen Covell and Victorya Michaels Rogers
As soon as Id been hired as the composer for a new network TV series,
immediately I found I was out of my comfort zone. For the second episode, the
producers wanted me to write music to reflect the feeling of the desperate
lives of young gang members in New Orleans. The show closed with the final
voiceover saying, We dont know what the answer is to gang killings, and we
probably never will. It was a depressing message of hopelessness to millions of
viewers across the world.
I knew we had to offer hope, so I came up with a way to change the meaning
of the message through my choice of music. I didnt know if the Jewish producers
would go for it, but I decided to take the chance.
Now the hopeless voiceover was followed by the sound of a gospel singer
singing the hymn Softly and Tenderly. As an image of a murdered child appeared,
the viewer heard, Jesus is calling for you and for me to come home. And when
the final image of a teenage murderer came on the screen, the singer was
singing, Calling, oh sinner, come home.
I thought it was powerful. The music gave hope and lifted up the name of
Jesus. I was excited ... then I freaked out.
What in the world was Steven, the Jewish executive producer, going to
I gave the show to him late Thursday. At 9 a.m. Friday the phone rang.
Jim? It was Steven.
I swallowed hard, thinking this was my second and last episode on this
series. But Steven said, I just saw your show and its *#$@&%A$ incredible!
I dont know what it is, but its the best show weve ever done!
I thanked him and hung up, smiling. I knew exactly what it was!
We all feel some trepidation when it comes to sharing our faith. But Im
afraid Ill freak people out if I tell them about Jesus! we say. We fear well
offend the people we witness to. We fear theyll think were fanatics. We fear
theyll reject us. We fear our own inadequacies and our possible failure.
Were wimps! We dont know how good we have it in 21st-century North America.
Look at what the early Christians went through. They were literally fed to the
lions for proclaiming their faith, and usually the worst thing that happens to
us is that someone tells us to be quiet. Even today, Christians around the
world are being martyred. At worst, we Christians in North America may lose our
God tells us over and over to fear Him, not people (Psalm 27:1; Proverbs
29:25; Luke 12:4-5). If ever there was anyone who shouldve been filled
with fear, it was King David. His enemies were out to kill him! And yet we see
throughout the Psalms that his trust was in the Lord. I am not afraid of
the thousands of people who have taken their stand against me on every
side (Psalm 3:6). Thinking about David and the enemies he chose not to
fear will put your own fear into perspectiveespecially the fear of sharing your
faith in the Lord.
The only One you should fear is the Lord Himself, never other people or your
own inadequacies. Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer once asked: Why should we be
afraid of one another, since both of us have only God to fear? Why should we
think that our brother would not understand us, when we understood very well
what was meant when somebody spoke Gods comfort or Gods admonition to us,
perhaps in words that were halting and unskilled?
Davids strength was in the Lord. His strong and clear understanding of who
God is conquered his fear and overpowered his insecurities. As you begin to
understand what it means to be a witness and what you need to communicate the
gospel, you too will gain the confidence you need to overcome your fears.
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