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A sign saying "What is your Story?"

My Spiritual Journey

Objective: To teach evangelism strategies that prepare people to share how Christ has made a difference in their lives. 


Telling Your Story and Evangelistic Effectiveness


I unexpectedly met a friend from church in a local fishing tackle store. The friend fishes frequently. He told me about a lure he’d successfully used the previous fall to catch smallmouth bass and walleye. He pointed out the lure and identified the right size and color.

I trusted him, was impressed by his testimony, and bought several. I wouldn’t have purchased them without my friend’s recommendation. Previously, I’d rarely had any success with that kind of lure. I gave it a try because I trusted my friend.


In early fall, I tried the lure again. Within minutes I caught a fish. Soon after that, I hooked and lost a giant bass. From that day until early November, I used that lure almost exclusively when I fished and caught many large smallmouth bass on it.

During the fall, two pastors fished with me, one in late October and the other in early November. I told them of the success I’d enjoyed with this lure. I loaned them one, but it didn’t work well for either of them initially.

I was catching fish consistently, but they weren’t. A little analysis revealed that their retrieve speed was too slow. When they sped it up, the bass began striking their lures too.


Notice the progression. My church friend told me about the lure. That testimony influenced me to buy and use it.

It worked. I told my pastor friends about it and demonstrated how to use it. It worked for them too.

Sharing your spiritual story can change others' lives. We tell others what Jesus means to us. He works! They ultimately receive Him and tell others what He means to them.

He works in their lives too! Our influence spreads beyond our ability to track it. My church friend had no idea his testimony in the tackle shop would impact my two fellow pastors and many others.


Our testimonies about how Christ has changed our lives are our most effective “lure.” Perhaps we think it isn’t worth tying on our line. We can’t testify about deliverance from alcoholism, drug abuse, prostitution, gambling, or other nasty addictions. That’s not necessary.

Jesus has freed us from addiction to going our way, which is every human’s fundamental problem. We don’t need to have seen the risen Christ or heard His audible voice to have a story. “Then Jesus told him [Thomas], “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (John 20:29 NLT).

He’s talking about us. We haven’t seen Him or even a five-second mini-vision in black and white. We’re “trust and obey” believers and, at times, fail miserably in those two basics.

The fact remains that He’s blessed and changed us. That’s what we share with others.


Many who don’t know Jesus experience life as a relentless march of unsatisfying days. They have no real love, joy, peace, purpose, hope, or fulfillment now and no prospect of a better tomorrow. They chase the butterflies of good feelings and sometimes catch one, but they always escape.

Tomorrow, they pursue it all over again. Such people don’t realize Christ and His church promise the purpose they’ve longed for. Believing our story isn’t essential or impressive adds to the problem.   


You begin by thinking hard about how God has been at work in your life. You aren’t yet what you want to be; you know your failures and shortcomings well. Nevertheless, you've probably made far more progress than you realize. Writing your spiritual story prepares you to share it clearly.


Unbelievers who live for themselves and don’t benefit from the Holy Spirit’s conviction are mostly blind to their faults. Like kittens with open eyes, you see yourself more clearly with new life in Christ. That’s significant progress.

Even though you’re a cracked and leaky vessel still under construction, God's living water is in you.

Don't pretend your life is perfect. Be transparent and authentic. God gets the glory for any improvement. That improvement receives the attention of the spiritually thirsty.


Your story connects with people like you. People who “aren’t that bad now” and have never battled alcoholism can relate to how Christ has worked in a “not so bad” life better than in the life of a converted alcoholic.


You have to think about and write your story for it to reach its full potential to influence not-yet believers.


You have to think about and write your story for it to reach its full potential to influence not-yet believers.


The first step is to pray and reflect on how God has been at work in your life. The process could take several hours, but the blessings that can result are beyond measure.


Organize your thoughts around a single theme, such as how your purpose or values are different than they used to be. Don’t tell your church story.

Nonbelievers don’t care that you’ve become a church leader since your conversion. You must explain how Christ makes a difference in everyday life.


To communicate your story effectively, you’ll organize it into three sections:   

1) What your life was like before knowing Jesus personally.

2) How you came to know Christ, explained enough to answer questions about how they can receive Him.

3) How receiving Christ has changed how you relate to God, others, and yourself.

A Personal Testimony Example for Effective Evangelism


My testimony illustrates how you might organize your own. When you read it, look for the dominant theme. 


“Spiritual things were on the back burner. I was taken to church three times a week for at least twelve years, but other things were more important. Outside the church, I never thought about God, rarely prayed voluntarily, and never read the Bible alone.

My purpose was to excel in sports and my studies to win the love and acceptance of others. I set goals in both areas. I sacrificed a lot to attain them. But I discovered that achieving them never brought lasting satisfaction.

The thought of dying scared me. Guilt hung over me. I believed in heaven but was unsure I’d go there when I died.


In my church, I often heard that Jesus had died on the cross to pay the penalty for my moral and spiritual imperfections. I knew I wasn’t perfect but I didn’t understand how Jesus’ death solved the problem. I pictured it as a down payment on my passage to heaven, and I thought I had to make regular payments through the good things I did.


During the fall of 1968, due to hearing 1 John 5:11-12 quoted, I understood I didn’t have to make any payments. Jesus had paid the penalty for my moral imperfections in full.

Those verses say: ‘And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.’ [It was quoted to me from the King James Version].

That evening in my dorm room, I trusted in Jesus’ sacrifice alone to give me the right standing with God and invited Him into my life. That evening was a turning point. Because God loved and accepted me as I was, I wanted to do what pleased Him. Little by little, love for God displaced fear of God as a dominant motivator in my spiritual life.


My fear of death significantly diminished. God lifted the weight of guilt for my moral failures when I trusted Jesus’ death as payment in full. I was assured I’d go to heaven because I trusted Jesus to keep His promise to take me there.


The new life I received wouldn’t allow me to relate to God or others in the same old ways. I remember feeling a twinge of conscience after talking negatively about people who weren’t present—something I’d done repeatedly for years.

God convinced me that my language needed some attention. My words were a symptom of the anger and desire for control that swirled within me. Gradually, I saw improvement.

Little by little, God’s love for and acceptance of me freed me to love and accept others. I slowly developed a strong desire to serve others that I didn’t have before the fall of 1968. My goal was to know Jesus better and help others understand Him. Working toward that goal brought fulfillment I’d never known when doing my own thing.”


The central theme is how my life purpose and values changed through a relationship with Jesus Christ.


Your testimony is your spiritual autobiography, as unique as your fingerprints. To share it with others effectively, you should memorize the significant points.


Your story can impact others whose hearts the Holy Spirit has prepared. Not only will it influence them, but sharing it will also stoke your spiritual fires by reminding you anew how much Christ has done.


Here is a guide to help you organize and write your story:


Describe your life before you met Christ. What was important to you? What motivated you?


What were your goals? What problems did you face? What place did self occupy in your plans and decisions? Remember to organize your thoughts around a dominant theme.



Describe how you received Christ enough so that someone else would know how to receive Him. The basic content you need to communicate is that to become a Christian, you need to know that you were a sinner and that Christ died for your sins. You had to turn from going your way to His and invite Him into your life as your Forgiver and Leader. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________          

How has your life changed since receiving Christ? What is important to you?


What motivates you? What are your goals and problems, and how do you deal with them? How do you live for Christ, etc.?


After recording your story, reflect upon how you could grow spiritually. Understanding how you can evangelize and make disciples will help make you a more effective church member and possibly a church leader.


Photo: Etienne Girardet/Unsplash

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