Willamette Christian Church

Preparing your Baptism testimony

Preparing your Baptism testimony

Writing Your Personal Testimony or Gospel Story

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The aim of giving a personal testimony (or Gospel story) is to tell of the working of God’s grace in your own life, that the cross of Christ may be proclaimed and the faith of your listeners built up.  Here are a few things to remember while writing your story:

  • Keep it focused on Christ, the cross and on God’s initiative and grace—God-focused as opposed to self-focused.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, so that the most important and helpful aspects of your gospel story will be shared clearly. Believe that God will empower you through his Spirit to be a witness to His good grace (Acts 1:8).
  • Be brief—1/2 of a page, single-spaced, 12 pt. font! (less than 200 words) Your testimony isn’t every life event.  It is a simplified version of life before Christ, receiving of the Gospel, and life with Jesus. Describe how Jesus rescued you and is making you new.

The key phrase to remember when delivering a testimony is the same key phrase of any story: but then ….

  • I was hopeless, but then
  • I didn’t care who I hurt or which bridges I burned, but then
  • I was strung out on drugs, heading for the grave. But then

This phrase and the story that immediately follows will grip your audience. We all want to know how and why someone changes. But often, testimonies skip over the “but then.” We go from “I was lost” immediately to “I am found. I have peace. I’m assured of heaven.”

Maybe this is because few of us have a Damascus Road experience – a dramatic voice from heaven or miraculous encounter that changes everything in one instant. More often, we give our lives to Christ after many conversations with a Christian who demonstrates the love of Christ in our lives, and after a series of setbacks. Maybe we don’t think this is interesting to others.

But this is interesting. It is valuable, and it is helpful. Don’t think that your testimony isn’t worth telling if it doesn’t contain a miraculous game-changing event. To many people – especially those who are hurting – the miracle is that there is even one person who will invest time, energy and emotion into the life of another.

Tell your but then story, and be specific. Do not move to but now until you’ve covered but then.

How might you go about writing your testimony? Here are some practical suggestions:

Outline your Gospel story or testimony three steps: Before, But Then, Since/After

Consider how in Acts 26, Paul stood before King Agrippa and shared simply and plainly the story of his life.  Essentially, Paul’s testimony followed a guideline that can help you prepare your testimony.

  • Before the Cross (Acts 26:4-11):
    • What was your life like?  What characterized you?  How did you think of God?  What were you thoughts about religion?  How was the Lord justly angered toward you because of your sin during this time?
      • REMEMBER:  We can all say, ‘I was once a _____________’ and fill in our own descriptions of our sinful state.  And we don’t need a dramatic testimony to do so. Even if your story doesn’t involve drugs or immorality, it is still a miracle of God’s grace.  You didn’t write it by yourself.  God intervened.  God changed your heart.  God saved you.
  • BUT THEN » How you came to know Christ and Him crucified(Acts 26:12-20):
    • Help your readers & hearers to understand what drove you to consider Christ, whether it was the circumstances or time.
    • Share the specific steps of how you became a Christian.  If there was a particular Scripture or word that someone said that drew you to Christ, share it here.  Explain the gospel clearly:
    • You were sinful and fully deserving of God’s wrath
    • Christ died in your place on the cross as your substitute—bearing the wrath of God in your place
    • When you repented of your sin, turned from your old lifestyle and placed your faith in Christ’s sacrifice, then you were forgiven of all sin, becoming a child of God and obtaining new life in Him.
  • Now with Christ, since you first believed(Acts 26:21-23):
    • There’s forgiveness in the gospel of Jesus Christ, but there’s also power!  What difference has Christ made in your life?  In the way you think, feel, and act?  In the way coworkers see you?  In the way your family sees you?  In the way you view your coworkers or family members?
    • Don’t be afraid to share honestly that you still have struggles, but be sure to share how Christ helps you with these struggles.

Scriptures to think about during this process:

Baptism does not save you or guarantee heaven — Jesus does.
1 John 5:9-13, Luke 23:43 (e.g., the thief on the cross was not baptized, yet Jesus said “Today you will be with Me in paradise.”)

Verses that mention baptism and the command to be baptized:
Matt. 28:16-20; Mark 1:5,10; John 3:23; Acts 22:16; 2:41; 8:12; 8:36-39; 10:44-48; 16:14-15; 16:32-33

Verses that talk about some of the rich meaning and symbolism of baptism:
Col 2:11-12; Rom. 6:1-11; 1 Cor. 1:16; Ephesians 4:4-6; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet 3:21

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