We ask that all prospective members submit their testimony for the elders to review.
It does not need to be long. Here are some things to consider as you write it. Also below you’ll find a simple outline that you might consider using. Please try to keep it to less than one page if you can.
How To Give Your Personal Testimony
These are some ideas that may help you and/or motivate you not only to fill out a more extensively written personal testimony, but also to use when sharing the gospel with others.
This level of detail is not necessary for the membership testimony page, but please include when and how you were baptized in the membership version that you submit. The personal testimony is a time-honored and effective method of evangelism. The skeptic may deny your doctrine or attack your church, but he cannot honestly ignore the fact that your life has been changed. He may not listen to the presentations of a preacher or an evangelist, but he is attracted to the human-interest story of how you found peace within.
On six separate occasions between Paul’s third missionary journey and his trip to Rome, he stood before audiences and presented Christ to them (Acts 22-26). Each time he stood alone and he addressed unbelievers, many of them hostile and rude. Do you know the method Paul used each time? He used his personal testimony. Each time he spoke, he simply shared how his own life had been changed by the invasion of Christ and the indwelling of His power. Not once did he argue or debate with them. Not once did he preach a sermon. Why? Because one of the most convincing unanswerable arguments on earth regarding Christianity is one’s personal experience with the Lord Jesus Christ. No persuasive technique will ever take the place of your personal testimony. We challenge you to spend some time thinking through and then presenting the way God saved you along with the exciting results of His presence in your life.
Consider these five suggestions as helpful guidelines for preparing and giving your personal life story:
You want to be listened to, so be interesting. No one, no matter how gracious, enjoys being bored. It’s a contradiction to talk about how exciting Christ really is in an uninteresting way. Work on your wording, your flow of thought, your key terms. Remember, the person may not be a believer, so guard against religious clichés and hard-to-understand terminology.
You want to be understood, so be logical. We suggest that you think of your salvation in three phases… and construct your testimony accordingly. Start with before you were born again, then move into the decision that brought you to Christ, and finally discuss the change or the difference He has made since you received Christ. Although it is easy to do, try not to focus on sin or your life before you were born again. The second and third phases are important to emphasize because they show how your life has changed.
You want the moment of your new birth to be clear, so be specific. Be extremely careful here. Don’t be at all vague regarding how you became a Christian. Speak of Christ, not a church. Refer to the decision you made, the moment of time when you received the Lord. Be simple and direct. Emphasize faith more than feeling.
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 become a Christian,” for that isn’t true. Try to think as an unbeliever thinks as you are speaking. Refuse to pick theological lint. Theoretical stuff doesn’t attract attention as much as practical reality.
You want your testimony to produce results, so be warm and gentle. A smile breaks down more barriers than the hammer blows of cold, hard facts. Be friendly and sincere. Let your enthusiasm flow freely. It’s hard to convince another person of the sheer joy and excitement of knowing Christ if you’re wearing a jail-warden face. Above all, be positive and courteous.
My Testimony Worksheet (example)
My life before accepting Christ: Don’t worry about giving dates or every personal detail. Tell what your thoughts were on yourself or on life. Did you have any fears? What was it that you lived for at this stage in your life?
The circumstances surrounding inviting Christ into my life: This is where you want to be very clear. What was said to you? What did you hear? What did you understand about yourself, about Jesus, and about how salvation worked? How did you respond? Answer these questions carefully and thoughtfully, and you’ll do great at this crucial step.
How my life has changed as a result of becoming a new creature in Christ: Show how God has transformed your life through your relationship with Christ. It’s also helpful to go back where your testimony began and show how Christ affects the before and after.
Let us know if you have any questions about membership at Blue Ridge Bible Church.