Writing “Your Story”

What to Do:
Ask God to give you wisdom.
Make your story sound conversational, not academic or formal.
Be warm and personal.
Keep to a 3 minute limit. (That’s about 650-700 words.)
Be realistic, don’t exaggerate.

What Not to Do:
Avoid statements that reflect negatively on any church organization.
Avoid statements that reflect negatively on any individual.
Avoid religious-sounding words, denominations, or church names.
Avoid speaking writing in a preachy manner. Say, “I” and “me,” not “you.”
Avoid using vague terms like “joyful,” “peaceful,” or “changed” without explaining them.
Avoid using religious terms like “saved,” “sin,” or “convicted” without explaining them.
Avoid communicating that all your struggles and problems have now ended.

Writing Style:
Begin with an attention-getting sentence or incident.
Be positive, accurate and specific – sharing a few key details will help arouse interest.
Simplify – reduce the “clutter.” Mention a limited number of people and details.
Use Bible verses directly related to your experience. But do not use the references. For example, say, “One of Jesus’ disciples said…” rather than writing “1 John 5:11-13 says…”
Write things just as you would share with someone one-on-one.

Remember: Effective communication is brief, to the point, and clear. Sharing your story should not take more than 3 minutes. All right, now you’re ready to write! Just answer the following questions:

Before Christ: Who were you before you met Jesus?

Many people’s actions spring out of their unsatisfied deep inner needs. What were one or two of your unsatisfied deep inner needs before you came to know Jesus? What were your attitudes, needs, and problems before you received Christ?Examples: “I was seeking for…” “My life revolved around…” “I gained happiness and security from…” “My life was missing….” “My attitude was…” “My life was filled with problems I could not solve…” (Use an example from your personal life here. For instance, did your security come from money, your relationships, etc? Remember, avoid being overly sensational.)

Non-Christians are usually trying to satisfy their deep inner needs through unsatisfactory solutions. What unsatisfactory solutions did you use to attempt to meet those deep inner needs?

How did trying to meet your deep inner needs this way disappoint you? How was your life unfulfilling? How did you come to realize this? What were you struggling with (if anything) just before you received Christ?

Receiving Christ: How did Jesus change your life?

This part of your personal testimony is where you come to the transition in your life, where God’s work begins to become evident in you. Remember to follow the same guidelines as before.

Describe the circumstances that caused you to consider Christ as the solution to your deep inner needs. When and how did you first hear about and truly understand the story about Jesus? What were your struggles just before you received Christ?

State specifically the steps you took to become a follower of Jesus. Share truths about the gospel – that you realized you have disobeyed God, that you realized you did not deserve His forgiveness, that you realized Christ died to forgive you, and that you realized your need to receive Jesus to be forgiven and to be changed forever. Remember that it’s the gospel that has the power to change lives (see Romans 1:16). So, include how you came to understand that Jesus came, that He died on the cross in your place to save you, and that He rose again.

You likely cannot remember exactly what you prayed when you received Christ. But sharing a few words about how you prayed (shat you may have said) might encourage someone else to express their faith in a similar way.

After receiving Christ: Who are you now?

When giving a personal testimony, many people concentrate on the sin they had before they received Christ – even the sensationalism. However, an effective testimony focuses not on our sin, but on the work of the Holy Spirit in us, so that Jesus Christ takes center stage. It is at this point that your testimony really begins to shine the spotlight on Jesus.

State how Jesus filled or is filling your deep inner needs. In the before section, you express your needs and how you tried unsuccessfully to meet them. You now want to briefly show the difference that Jesus has made in your life.

What happened when you received Christ? How and why did your attitudes and actions begin to change? What has happened since you received Christ? How has your life changed? When did you notice that change? How are you motivated differently now?

If there is a particular verse that applies, this would be a good place to use it.

***

If you received Christ at an early age…

Perhaps you grew up in a Christian home and you received Christ at a very early age. If so, you can use a slightly different approach to writing your story.

1) Before: State the deep inner needs you see the people around you trying to fill. Describe how you see people unsuccessfully trying to satisfy those needs.
2) How: Explain how Jesus has helped you avoid some of the struggles many people face. Refer back to your conversion experience and state how you trusted Christ as a child. Make sure you briefly include truths about the gospel.
3) After: Illustrate how Christ has met or is meeting your deep inner needs. Remember not to communicate that all your struggles and problems have now ended. End your story by sharing how Jesus is still changing your life.

Example Testimony

Please use the following headings as your write your testimony.

Assurance

If you were to die today, are you sure that you would go to heaven? Please explain.

Assurance is intended to provide confidence, a promise, a pledge or a guarantee.

In John 3:16, God assures us “that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life in heaven”. God gave his one and only son, and it is only through Jesus and His death on the cross that my sins are forgiven that I can have eternal life with God in heaven.

John 10:27-29 says, “27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Scripture to think on:

John 3:36, John 5:24, John 6:38-40, John 6:47, John 10:27-29, Romans 8:1, Ephesians 1:13-14, Philippians 1:6, 1 Peter 1:4-5, 1 John 5:13

 

A Gracious Introduction

Tell us about who you are.

I am 35 years of age, married for 11 years, and have 2 children. I am blessed with many family members, friends and neighbors. I worked for 13 years in a corporate and small business environment. I was raised going to church with both my father and mother heavily involved in the church activities. I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio and now live in Broadview Heights.

The Good in Your Past

What are you grateful for?

I’m grateful for a loving family who loved me well. I’m grateful for God’s provision in my life, that before I knew who He was, He still loved me, protected me, and gave me the opportunities to encounter Him.

 

The Sinfulness of Your Past

Share some thoughts, actions, and attitudes unpleasing to God.

I have struggled with judging people due to anger and bitterness. My attitude was at times hostile if I felt someone had more than me.  Another area I struggled with is my speech habits, because the words of my mouth were not always pleasing to the Lord. My thoughts were not always pure or Godly thoughts. I played the role of a good person but deep inside I knew I was not leading a Godly life. I was living my own life for me.

The Gospel Message

Explain the Gospel message in your own words. Use Bible references and share the basics of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

I realized my sin, how every person (including me) sins, and how that sin separates us from God (Romans 3:23). I remember coming to the realization that my sin demanded condemnation from holy God and that I would live apart from God when I died (Romans 6:23).But then I heard the good news – I could be forgiven and made right with God through the death & resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus, on my behalf. I repented of my sin and prayed to place my trust in Jesus Christ alone for my eternal destiny (Romans 5:8). I asked Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. I am a believer and I love Jesus! I am in Christ and a new creation with my sins forgiven due to sincere, ongoing repentance and communion. God gives me many promises daily through his biblical words and providing me guidance through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture to think on:

Ezekiel 36:26-27John 1:11-12, John 3:3-8, John 3:16Luke 24:46-49Acts 3:19, Acts 10:34-43Romans, 3:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 6:231 Corinthians 15:3-42 Corinthians 5:17Ephesians 2:5

 

The Circumstances of Your Conversion

Who and/or what were instrumental in your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

It was a little over two years ago that I attended my first service at CVC with my neighbor at Easter time. I had not attended a church in years because I had been deeply hurt by the church I was attending as I was going through difficult family situations. At the service the Pastor spoke about how Christ allowed Thomas to doubt for eight days when he could have easily told him earlier. On hearing that, I then felt that God by His grace allowed me to doubt for years as well. So, I was confronted with my doubting and asked the Lord to help me believe! After that service my life began to change day by day. A CVC friend gave me the book “Living on the Edge” by Chip Ingram. I learned about what a Christian’s life should look like. That fall I joined a LifeGroup, and these people have become truly my sisters and brothers in Christ for they have shown me what a Christ-like person should look like. As I’ve grown in understanding His word, I gave over ALL my hurts, difficulties, sadness, problems…and truly put them in His hands. God gave me peace in a joy-filled way. It felt like He was saying, “You finally got it! I will carry everything for you! You are mine! My Beloved!”  I danced with lightness as I realized I no longer had to carry my load. My coming to Christ has been happening over these past two years in gentle, loving ways.

Changes after New Life in Christ

Describe your New Life Transformation.

My biggest transformation has been this past year really learning to trust and be challenged with my faith and obedience through temptations and trials that I have had no control over. Knowing God is beside me, allowing the suffering to bring me closer to God, not becoming withdrawn or detached, falling into sinful ways to relieve unpleasing feelings. I am continually becoming a new person in Christ…each and every day. As I study and read the Bible, go to my LifeGroup, meet with others outside of church, and try each day to follow the will of Christ, I find new ways to stretch myself more in doing God’s will. I try and reach out to those in need. I hold myself morally to what Christ has said in his word. Along with my daily bible reading, I listen to sermons daily, so I continually learn more and more about Jesus.

What is Baptism?

In your own words, describe what baptism means and why you would like to be baptized.

Baptism is the mark of a New Life in Christ. Jesus commands us to be baptized as an outward sign of an inward commitment. It lets others know that we have left the old life behind, and we have entered New Life in Christ. Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.

 

 

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