This semester at Western Seminary, I’m taking a class called Practicing Evangelism and Apologetics with Dr. Gerry Breshears and Pastor Jim McGuire. At first I wasn’t exactly sure what I should expect from this class and I was a little nervous because evangelism is one of my weaker areas. However, we had our first class session last night and I really enjoyed it. We went around the room and all shared our testimonies. Despite my nervousness, I really appreciated having a chance to intentionally articulate what God has done in my life; it was even better to do so in a safe environment where I could receive advice on how to be more effective. I learned a ton in the class and want to take a few minutes to share some pointers about sharing your testimony.
- Evangelism isn’t about YOU. It’s not about what you want or what you think; it’s about THEM.
- There is no one-size-fits-all method of evangelism.
- When explaining Christ, there should be a dialogue occuring to make sure the other person understands.
- Every presentation of your testimony should feature a personal contrast between “this is who I was” and “now this is who I am.”
- However, don’t make it a sales-pitch. You’re making introductions in a relationship, not closing a sale.
- When presenting the Gospel, the burden does not rest on us. It is between the Holy Spirit and them.
- We save NO ONE. All we can do is point them towards the Holy Spirit.
- Where do you begin your Gospel presentation? Most people already know they are sinners, and need to know how redemption fits into their lives.
- Keep it concise. If they hearer wants to know more, they will ask.
- DO NOT LIE. The enemy wants to disqualify you and this sets you up for disaster.
- Trusting someone is not a prerequisite for loving them.
- Non-Christians do not expect us to love them. They expect us to judge them.
- For better or worse, “religion” is a bad-word and will be viewed in a negative light.
- When we make sin the issue we become intimidated to share the Gospel. Instead, we should start with sharing Christ’s love with them.
- Do not overplay how “bad” you were. To God all sin is the same, but if you tell a murderer that you used to gossip and shared a beer with your friend once, he’s going to wonder about how “bad” you really were and how “changed” you really are. Furthermore, they may feel so much shame about their past that they doubt God’s forgiveness extends to people with pasts like theirs.
- The best way to become comfortable sharing your testimony is through practice.
- Get rid of “Christian-ese.” Too many church-words may confuse people and many, for fear of looking dumb, won’t ask what you mean when you say sanctification, fellowship (isn’t that Lord of the Rings?), salvation, repentance, etc.
- Be sensitive to the hearer’s body language. Are their eyes glazing over? Are they paying attention?
- Evangelism isn’t about YOU. It’s about THEM.
One other thing we learned (that really blew my mind) is the idea of having three testimonies. Each testimony has a specific purpose and should be used as the Holy Spirit leads. Also, it would be beneficial to write these down to help you be more intentional about how you tell your story when the chance arises.
- One is just two key words that contrast who you were against who you are now: “I once was lost, but now I’m found.” “I used to be a hypocrite, but now I’m genuine.”
- The other type of testimony is about 100 words and is a short, abbreviated presentation of your personal testimony. It should only take a minute or two.
- Finally, the third testimony is longer, maybe 5-10 minutes. This is a full-blown sharing of what God has done in your life; includes key people, places, and events; and can be very vulnerable.
I hope these pointers encourage you to be more effective at sharing your faith and remember, evangelism isn’t about you; you are not the point. The purpose of evangelism is to introduce someone to the God of the universe and it is done for His glory.