I heard many dramatic testimonies of God's work when I was a young believer. It was the early days of the Jesus People Movement, an exciting, dynamic time.
Story after story recounted how God set people free from dark deeds and lost lives. Each time I heard these stories, my own life story paled in comparison.
I wondered if my story had much value.
How about you? Have you ever wondered if you have much of a Christian testimony?
The tale of the Christian testimony
I wasn't raised in an evangelical Christian home, but I did have a belief in God. I went through confirmation classes in an Episcopal church but soon questioned the church and Christiin general.
As the 60's rolled in, I rolled with them. But still, I was never in a gang, nor strung out on heroin, and never went to jail. In short, my life before following Jesus wasn't dramatic or sensational.
Don't get me wrong, I was no saint, and my life was not exemplary of any virtues. But my pre-Jesus life wouldn't be featured in magazines or on any talk shows.
Your life story doesn't have to be dramatic or exciting to be worth sharing
The value of our life story
I've thought about this over the years. My four children grew up in church—from the nursery to youth group. They don't have exciting testimonies. Neither does my wife and I, but we all have valuable life stories.
It's time to put aside stereotypes and unnecessary expectations when it comes to sharing our life stories. It doesn't have to be dramatic, nor difficult.
Each person's life story has value because each person has value. You and I have value in other people's lives, and that's not just positive spin.
Ok, so you're not an evangelist nor a rock star. Neither am I. But how your life story connects with God's story is worth hearing. It's real and genuine because it's true.
Each person's life story has value. It's real and genuine, because it's true.
So, how can you share your life story so it connects with God's story, to connect others with Him?
Here's some simple guidance to do this—
Look for stories in the Bible you can relate to and that resonate with your own life. They could be in the Old or New Testament, a parable, or part of a larger story.
It's helpful when stories have an element of redemption in them.
Then, learn these stories by heart and in your own words (IYOW). These biblical stories should flow out of your heart in a natural way.
Keep it short and simple. You can always share more details when people ask for them. Going on and on with details turns people off, and shuts down discussion.
Keep your life story short and simple. You don't need to be the center of attention.
Write out a brief outline, reduce it down, and focus on how you started following Jesus.
Here's a guide to help you— Guidelines-LifeStory
Life story of other people
You need to ask people for their life story. Then, you need to listen, really listen.
We can be so focused on what we want to say that we ignore the person instead of connecting with them. Listening well is important!
People will share their story, and be open to hearing ours when they know we care about them.
People will be open to hear our life story when they know we care about them.
When we gain people's respect and trust we can share God's story with them.
How to connect
- Pay attention to who you come in contact with in daily life
- Consider people with whom you have some influence in everyday life
- Be attentive to what's going on in other people's lives
- Be considerate and compassionate with others
- Look for an opportunity to connect God's story to another person's story
- When you've made a connection it opens the door to share your story
- Let God make the connection by His Spirit—don't force it!
What's your experience in sharing God's story and your story with others?