I played basketball in high school and college. Our coach made us spend hours on the fundamentals. Dribbling, passing the ball, shooting layups…over and over again. “Fundamentals win games,” he said with confidence. I felt bored. I wanted to learn how to spin the ball on my finger or shoot a fancy shot. Nope. Fundamentals were what he drilled us on. In starting Disciple-Making movements, there are some key fundamentals. One is the skill of learning to share your story (testimony), quickly and with clarity.
This vital skill must be taught and practiced again and again. It is one of the important building blocks of discipleship. Train every disciple to do this. Keep training them until you see them sharing their testimony boldly and often. Don’t stop training on this until you see them training others (they have led to Christ) to do the same.
No matter what your disciple making method is, you can’t afford to ignore the power of sharing a simple, clear testimony of how God changed your life. This is true whether you are using a Discovery Bible Study (DBS) approach or a Training for Trainers (T4T) approach. Sharing your story is a crucial skill for disciple makers.
Versions of My Story (My Testimony)
I’ve often struggled with sharing my testimony. Part of the problem is that I was so young when I first began to follow Jesus. I was only four years old when I knelt beside my mother’s bedside and prayed to ask Jesus into my heart. It can be difficult for those of us who grew up in Christian homes to share our testimony. We sometimes feel confused about how to do this.
I’ve found it is important to focus on the transformation that took place in my life. Jesus has definitely changed me!
I have several versions of my testimony. Different versions are ready in my mind and heart to share, depending on who I meet. One version starts with the fact that (even though I was only four) I didn’t have the assurance of salvation. I share the process of change in knowing for sure that I would be with God in Heaven if I died.
Another version of my testimony relates to the change when God healed me from severe back pain. I talk about that crisis, being medically evacuated, praying and how God healed and helped me.
The third version talks about a time of deep pain and difficulty in my marriage. In it, I share how God helped us turn things around.
Depending on who I meet, I choose which version makes sense to tell them. In each of these I “bear witness” to what God has done in my life. I share what it’s been like to have a living relationship with a God who transforms my brokenness and meets my deepest needs.
“And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”John 15:27 NKJV
“And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.”John 15:27 NLT
Ying Kai, who developed the T4T method, first taught me how to tell my testimony in 3 minutes. Again, this is important for everyone to learn to do, even if you are using David Watson’s DBS approach or some other disciple making method.
Start the conversation and include brief introductions. Then begin to describe to them what your life was like before you knew the Lord. Don’t ask permission, or say, “Can I share my testimony with you?” Instead, just begin describing what life was like you before.
To have a great testimony, you don’t need to say you were on drugs or describe something terrible you’ve done. Not everyone has that kind of story. If you do, that is fine. Share it. But if you don’t, tell them about your brokenness. Were you lonely, confused, sad, a work-a-holic, always fighting within your family? Describe those things.
Then, very simply, tell them how you came to know Jesus. Avoid preachy language. In this section, be sure to mention how you found out that Jesus was Savior. Tell about how you discovered that He could take away your brokenness, shame, sin or sickness. Describe how you put your trust in Him to do that.
Next, tell what changed in your life after putting your faith in Jesus. How did beginning a relationship with Him bring transformation in you? It is good to contrast this with what you said in the “before” section. For example, you might say,
“Now, I know I am never alone. I still have problems, but I have someone to help me with them.”
“I am able now, with God’s help, to control my anger.”
After sharing these things, you will have some sense of if they are interested. Be sure to ask them though. Ask a question like, “Do you have a story like this?” Follow that up with an appointment to meet you to hear more. If they respond positively, either arrange another time to meet them or go ahead and share a fuller gospel presentation with them. Invite them to begin a Discovery study with you.
God wants to use you to share the good news with others. It’s not difficult. It does take a little practice. Step out in faith and give it a try! Find a friend to do it with you so you can hold each other accountable and encourage one another.
Take a few moments and jot down some notes. Write down your before, how, and after. Then practice it on your own, or with a friend, until it feels comfortable to say. Go out and find two people you can share it with this week.
Is there anyone else you could train to share their testimony this week?
I’d love to hear how it goes for you as you do this! Let me know in the comments below, or share your experience on the DMMs Facebook group.