Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the month “June, 2016”

Sharing Your Story #4

OVERCOMING PROBLEMS IN PERSONAL TESTIMONY PREPARATION

  1.  Many people are too cautious when writing the first draft of their story because they are fearful of not doing it correctly.  Your testimony does not need to be perfect on the first.  Write a lot; it is always easier to delete information than to try to add more.
  1.  Some people think too introspectively when writing their testimony.  Remembering life experiences before we trusted Christ, especially bitter or painful memories, can cause depression and the actual writing of the testimony is postponed.  Thank God for His grace and healing and ask Him for His help and strength in finishing this project.
  1.  Often we are so eager to share on spiritual matters that we neglect to share some background concerning other areas of our life.  In the beginning of our testimony, we want to build a bridge of commonality so that our listener can identify with us.
  1.  Some believers are not certain about when they accepted Christ.  Perhaps they grew up in a Christian home and prayed to accept Christ as a child.  Later however, as an adult, they made another decision for Christ, either a re-dedication or perhaps this was really their conversion.  If this is your experience, ask your small group leader or another person who is mature in Christ for some help in outlining your testimony.
  1.  The longer this project is put off, the more difficult it will seem.  You will need several hours to finish this completely.  Postponing it will not make it easier.  The sooner we begin, the sooner we can enjoy the results.

May the Lord use the power of your story to impact many!

Sharing Your Story #3

Here’s some practical tips for preparing your salvation story.

ORDER OF PREPARATION FOR YOUR TESTIMONY

  1.  Pray and ask the Lord for wisdom and insight before you begin to write.
  1.  Compile notes on three separate sheets of paper labeled, “Before,” “How” and “After”
  1.  Write the first draft of your testimony based on the three sheets.  Remember the guidelines given for preparing your testimony.  Ideally it will take about 5 minutes to read your testimony draft when finished.
  1.  Edit and improve.  Ask for suggestions from your group leader or fellow group members.
  1.  Finalize your testimony so that you can read it at conversational speed in approximately 3 minutes.
  1. Write an outline of your final testimony on a note card or small piece of paper.  Practice sharing your testimony from this outline.
  1.  Continue to practice your testimony until you can share in under 4 minutes without looking at your outline notes. Remember that this time frame is based upon Paul’s testimony of similar length in Acts 24 and Acts 26.

Your personal salvation story is a powerful way to influence others.  Prepare well and then trust God to give you natural opportunities to share it.

Sharing Your Story #2

The following are guidelines to remember when compiling your salvation story to share with others.

  1.  Make the testimony sound like natural conversation.  We are preparing this testimony to be shared in a private conversation.  Avoid words or phrases that sound literary that you would not normally use in everyday conversation.  Use informal, every day vocabulary.
  1.  Use the words “I” and “me,” not “you.”  This will make your testimony sound personal and not preachy.  People enjoy listening to first person stories.
  1.  Avoid theological words which may not be generally known or which may illicit an emotional reaction and detract from your main objective.  Use words that are easily understood by most people.
  1.  Try and make your testimony as general as possible so that many people can identify with it.  It is usually best to avoid naming churches, denominations or groups.
  1.  Add humor or human interest points in order to attract your listener’s attention.  If you smile and project a relaxed manner, it will put your listener at ease.
  1.  Share one or two specific word stories to involve your listener in your story.  Don’t say, “I was raised in a large city,”  rather, share a short experience that illustrates life in a big city.
  1.  In the “Before” section be sure to include both positive and negative things about your life before you accepted Christ.  Don’t be hesitant to share non-spiritual matters as well, as this will add interest.
  1.  In the “How” section be sure to make the bible the final authority.  A poor example would be, “Mary said that I needed forgiveness.”  A better example would be, “Mary shared with me that the bible says we all need forgiveness.”
  1.  Remember to share the four points of the gospel in the “How” section.
  1.  In the “After” section, close with two or three benefits that you have experienced since you accepted Christ.
  • Consider that the last benefit could be something like this, “But the greatest benefit of all is that I now know that I have eternal life.”  Your listener will often comment on the last thing mentioned in our testimony.  If our last statement is about eternal life, it may open an opportunity to further explain the gospel.
  1.  Simplify and reduce unnecessary details.  Though the details may have meaning for you, your listener will be distracted and bored if you share too many details.  A poor example would be, “On June 3, 1985 I was going to the third meeting of the week at the First Community Church with Ken, Bill and Jack.”  A better example would be, “Several years ago I went to a church meeting with some close friends.”

Sharing Your Story #1

Our personal salvation story is designed to be shared with a non-believer.  Our testimony will have its most impact if shared naturally during a personal conversation or in a small group.  It can be used as a “door opener” in order to turn the attention of your listener towards spiritual matters and create an opportunity to share the gospel in a more complete way.  Successful evangelism begins with a well-prepared testimony.

When sharing our testimony we want to explain what Christ has done in our lives, not preach at our listener.  Everyone who has trusted Christ as their personal Savior has a testimony about how God has touched their life.  Certainly this testimony is different for each person; we are not seeking to have our listener imitate our personal experience, rather we want them to personally trust Christ as their Savior.

Your testimony may be dramatic, especially if you trusted Christ as an adult, or it may not be so spectacular, if you trusted Christ as a child.  But, spectacular or not, God can use your testimony to touch the hearts of others.  A disciple of Jesus must be able to tell others how they came to know Christ.

OUTLINE FOR A SALVATION TESTIMONY

PART 1           Before I Trusted Christ

A brief background sketch of what your life was like before you trusted Christ (i.e. family, old way of life).  During this section you may want to share one or two specific instances that would illustrate what your life was like without Christ.  If you share some sinful experience, do not give a lot of details as this can disturb your listener’s concentration and detract from your main point.

PART 2           How I Trusted Christ

Specifically share how you came to know Christ as your personal Savior (i.e.  when, where).  Create a word picture that will attract your listener’s attention.

In this section you must remember to distinctly share the four parts of the gospel  as follows:

  • all people have sinned;
  • all people will be punished with death because of their sin;
  • because God loves us, He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sin – accepting our punishment;
  • we must each personally acknowledge that we are sinners and place our trust in Jesus as our Savior.

PART 3           After I Trusted Christ

Explain briefly what changes you have seen in your life since you accepted Christ as your Savior (i.e. deep peace because our sins are forgiven, the reality of the new life, assurance of salvation based on the promises of God).

Your objective is to be able share this three-part testimony in approximately four minutes.  If we examine the testimony of Paul as shared in Acts 24 and Acts 26 we find that it was about this length of time.  We can also see that Paul’s testimony easily divides into the three parts listed above, which we use as our model testimony.

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