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Evangelism:
The Time Is Now!

Section 5, Chapter 6

Writing a Three Minute Testimony
Through Relationship With Jesus

CONTENTS

  1. Writing a Three Minute Testimony Through Through Relationship with Jesus
  2. How to Use a Personal Testimony
  3. Testimony Work Sheet Questions
  4. Three Real Life Sample Testimonies
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The Answer to Man's problems Is Not Religion But Surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ

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The Significance of the Resurrection

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Sharing Jesus Is Loving Others

Study Questions
Chapter 5

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Writing A Three Minute Testimony
Through Relationship With Jesus

The purpose of writing a three minute testimony is not to restrict the ministry of Jesus through the Holy Spirit in our lives individually, but rather to aid the ministry of Jesus through the Holy Spirit in our lives. If a person relied on a three minute testimony as a religion in all of his witnessing pursuits, period, this would restrict the ministry of Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

In order for our evangelism to be effective, it must be motivated out of relationship with Jesus through the ministry of the Holy Spirit; but in order for the Holy Spirit to be able to work through our lives effectively, normally He uses the knowledge we have and works with what we know. Jesus said in the Gospel of John,

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." (John 14:26).

Jesus in this passage of Scripture teaches us that the Holy Spirit does not work in a vacuum, but leads according to the knowledge that we have that we have learned in the past through study and through past teaching of Jesus through the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Normally speaking, we would not want to restrict the length of our testimony in sharing with others but would want it to be as extensive and as involved as the Holy Spirit would lead us in each individual situation. But sometimes in our sharing the message of the gospel, circumstances beyond our control may not allow for more than five minutes to share what led us to Jesus as the answer to our needs, how we received Him as Lord and Savior, and the change that Jesus has brought into our lives since that day we received Him as Savior and Lord.

On a college campus, for example, a student may be getting ready to go to his next class and only have five minutes to talk with you. When we have only five minutes to talk, what we have to share must be intelligent, concise, and to the point. To be successful in evangelism does not entail getting people to necessarily make a decision for Christ. Successful evangelism entails communicating to a person what it means to be a Christian and how to become one themselves. If you have communicated this in a way that the person understands, you have successfully evangelized them whether they make a decision at that moment or not. The reason is because even if he does not make a decision in your presence, later, when he is by himself, thinking about what you have said, and finally decides that he wants to become a Christian, he then knows what he needs to do in order to become a Christian because you have communicated to him clearly how to.

After thirty-four years of Evangelism, I can confirm to you this reality, because over the years people that I shared with on the field have come up to me in church years later and said to me, "Do you remember me?" Usually I respond, "No?", because, when you have shared with hundreds of people individually over several years, it is not always easy to remember every one of them individually. They will then say, "One day several years ago you shared an Evangelism Tract with me and then your own personal testimony of how you became a Christian before I had to go. I thought about this for several weeks and decided that what you shared was right and prayed and received Jesus into my life as Savior and Lord." They prayed and received Jesus into their lives because they knew how to. They knew how to because I had communicated clearly to them what it meant to be a Christian and how to become one through an Evangelism Tract and my Personal Testimony.

When you have only five minutes to effectively communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to someone, having written and memorized a three minute testimony makes this possible and even leaves room for the person to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord if he is ready at that moment to do so. If he is not ready, it leaves him knowing how to make that decision when he is ready. This is why a three minute testimony becomes an aid to the Holy Spirit and not a hindrance. The only time it becomes a hindrance is when the Holy Spirit is not presently leading you in a situation to use it; but having it makes you available to the Holy Spirit if it is needed. Not having it may leave you half way through explaining to the person what brought you to Jesus yourself; but before you can explain successfully to the person how to become a Christian, he stops you and says, "I am sorry. I am out of time. I have got to go. See you later." Of course, if he is a stranger to begin with, you may never see him again; and you have failed in your purpose, which was to explain to the person how to become a Christian. A three minute testimony will help you to avoid having this happen.

How do we approach writing a three minute testimony? In the second part of this Chapter is an outline entitled, How to Use a Personal Testimony, which suggests many things that need to be considered in writing a three minute testimony. First, read this outline. Second, read the Three Real-Life Sample Testimonies. Third, go to Jesus through worship and praise and in Spirit and truth, in light of this knowledge, and ask Him to free you from your own ideas and your own strife concerning how best to write your three minute testimony. Next, wait upon Him while reading the Bible to show you how He wants you to write your testimony. You do not want to write your testimony like everybody else's. You want to write your testimony the way Jesus wants you to write it. This is because Jesus wants to use your unique experiences with Him to reach individuals who can best relate to your testimony, not somebody else's. Jesus has a unique plan and purpose for you in reaching others with His message, so let Jesus guide you specifically in every aspect of your testimony.

It is really important that you do not start writing your personal three minute testimony until you are sure you have received from Jesus how He wants you to write it. This is because Jesus said, "It is the Spirit who creates-life; the flesh profits nothing," (John 6:63). You want your testimony to communicate the life and love of Jesus, and this cannot be accomplished unless your three minute testimony was originally inspired by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Whatever Jesus inspires through the Holy Spirit will have spiritual-life in it and communicate Jesus’ life and love to the individuals you will be sharing with in such a way that when they leave, they will be thinking about how Jesus changed your life through your receiving Him and not how fantastic your testimony is. We want to communicate Jesus to them, not ourselves. A three minute testimony inspired by Jesus through the Holy Spirit will make this possible.

Once you have successfully put together your first rough draft copy of your testimony, give it to your group leader so that he can go over it for you and make suggestions to you for ways you can improve it, then go home and make necessary improvements. Next, take your second rough draft copy back to your group leader and have him go over it again. If he makes more suggestions for improvement, make those improvements, type up your final draft and show it to him again. If he does not make any more suggestions, but says it is alright, then memorize it. You will then be equipped with a three minute testimony that will effectively communicate your faith to others in a way that will leave them knowing clearly what it means to be a Christian and how to become one themselves.

If you are doing this school of Evangelism on your own, you can e-mail me your three minute testimony to read. I will respond immediately with any suggestions needed to improve your testimony.

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HOW TO USE A PERSONAL TESTIMONY

 

1. How to Prepare a Personal Testimony.

Any subject matter can be presented more effectively by careful organization. A carefully prepared testimony, given in the power of the Holy Spirit, can be of immediate and effective use in nearly every witnessing situation. It should be our desire to present Christ in such a clear and attractive, yet simple way that those who hear will not only want to know Him, but they will also know how to know Him personally.

A carefully and intelligently worded three-minute testimony will communicate far more effectively than a prolonged one that includes a lot of extraneous material which will distract from, rather than emphasize, the point of personal commitment to Christ and what this can mean in a person's life.

  1. Remember, the same Christ lives in you whether you trusted Him early or later in life. Do not be concerned that your testimony be exciting, just that it be interesting.

  2. Be realistic. Do not infer that Christ eliminates all the problems of life, but rather that he enables you to live them out with peace and confidence. "I am with you always."

  3. Be positive, not negative, from start to finish.

  4. Prepare your testimony so that you can share it in a group situation as well as with an individual.

  5. Avoid the following when writing your testimony:

  1. Including statements which reflect negatively on the church and other organizations or people.

  2. Mentioning denominations, especially in a derogatory way.

  3. Preaching at people. This is a testimony, not a preachimony.

  4. Using stereotypes. People who work together for a period of time on a team tend unwittingly to copy one another.

  5. Speaking in generalities or using overworked terms such as:

  1. Straight-laced, sober, and sad.

  2. Fantastic, exciting, and great.

  3. Peace, purpose, and happiness.

  4. Changed (without giving specific changes).

  1. Using words that are meaningless to non-Christians. Terms like salvation, saved, born again, and conversion, need to be defined if used. Terms like glorious, and Hallelujah, are so ridiculed in some areas that you would do well not to use them at all.

  1. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom and guidance as you write (James 1:5-6).

  2. Follow a three-point outline: My Life With Jesus (See Testimony Work Sheet on the next page).

  1. Life before knowing Christ.

  2. How you came to know Jesus (be specific).

  3. Life after you received Christ (changes He has made, what He means to you now).

  1. Emphasize point 3B above if you became a Christian as a small child.

  2. Begin with an interesting, attention-getting sentence and close with a good conclusion. Include relevant, thought-provoking, personal experiences.

  3. Write in such a way that others will feel associated with you in past and present experiences.

  4. Give enough details to arouse interest.

  5. Use at least one, but at the most two Scripture verses.

  6. Edit carefully and rewrite as necessary before final draft.

  7. See examples of Three Real Life Sample Testimonies given in this chapter.

  8. Choose something characteristic of your experience that is of general interest to non-Christians. Build your own testimony around a theme. Examples: Personal success (Your own past view-point and now from God's viewpoint), life's goals (past and present view point), God's personal plan for you.

  9. Emphasize the fact that the thing that made the difference in your life was accepting Christ as Savior and making Him Lord and Master of your life. Keep in mind that your testimony should give enough details so that someone else would know how to trust the Lord after hearing it. Tell how He entered your life.

    1. Avoid being long-winded, and using unnecessary words. (Adhere strictly to the time schedule). 

    2. Above all, obey the Holy Spirit's leading in your life concerning preparation of your testimony. Understand that the comments just made are based on the experience of hundreds of past testimonies and are in no way met to be a restriction on the Holy Spirit's direct leading in your life. This is here simply to help you more clearly determine Jesus' leading through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads us by what we know, He does not work in a vacuum.

2. How To Share Your Testimony.

  1. Memorize your testimony and practice it until it becomes natural.

  2. Share your testimony with loving enthusiasm in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:3-5).

  3. Smile often! Ask the Lord to give you a happy, radiant countenance. Use a natural speaking voice.

  4. Avoid exhibiting nervous habits (especially with your hands) and other mannerisms, such as rubbing your nose, jingling coins in your pocket, swaying, clearing your throat, and using uh's and ah's. Exhibit good posture. Do not talk on the way to or from your seat.

  5. Avoid arguing and using other high pressure methods to obtain a decision for Christ. Remember, men are born of the Spirit, not through persuasiveness or logic of men, though God may use both.
  1. Now write your testimony following the outline below:

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Testimony Work Sheet

On an 8" 1/2" by 11" piece of paper write out your testimony by following this outline:

  1. Before I received Christ I lived and thought this way?
  2. How I received Christ?
  3. After I received Christ these changes took place?
  4. Pertinent or favorite verse by which I might close?

Or Print this PDF Testimony Work Sheet and work off of it.

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Next:

  1. Three Real Life Sample Testimonies

 

The Answer to Man's Problems Is Not Religion
But Surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ

By Dale P. Kruse

As a junior in high school (1968) I was a committed conservationist, convinced that, because of over-population and depleting resources, our world was headed for some real disasters.

After two years of preaching this problem to a world that already knew the problem, I decided that preaching the problem was not the solution. With that I decided to concentrate on molding my life according to my convictions thinking this would have a greater impact on people’s lives. In the process of doing this, though, I discovered that being consistent, even with one’s own personal convictions, was not an easy, if not an impossible task. For myself, as strong as my convictions were, I found that within my own strength and power, I was unable to live consistently with them.

After more than a year of walking in this frustration of the inconsistency of my own life-style, I came to realize that my problem as well as the world’s problem, rather than being intellectual, was rather volitional: a problem of the heart, the will, rather than the head. How did I bring my heart into conformity with what my mind, my computer, told me was right.

As I read through the New Testament of the Bible, I came to discover that the Apostles themselves expressed this same frustration with their inability to live according to the teachings of Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew states about the Apostle’s response to Jesus’ teachings, "And when the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’" (Matt 19:25). The Apostle Paul later wrote in the book of Romans,

"I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in my members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death?" (Rom 7:21-24).

It was comforting to know, from one standpoint, that these great religious leaders themselves experienced this same frustration of bringing the will, their hearts, into conformity with what they believed was right in their minds. Basically they said they were not able to. As they stated in response to Jesus’ teaching, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus’ response to them was, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matt 19:26).

Later in the Gospel of John, Jesus stated to His apostles that He Himself, rather than His teachings, was the answer. He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." (John 14:6). Therefore, if I was to accept literally what the Bible was saying, somehow the answer was centered in the person of Jesus Himself rather than His teachings.

This sounded good to me in principle, but how did one experience this truth, if it was true, in practical terms? I stumbled across the answer one day while riding my bike home from school in a state of complete inward frustration and defeat. I turned to Jesus in prayer and prayed the following prayer:

Jesus, my life is far short of what I want it to be, and I am sure that it is far short of what you want it to be, but this is Dale. I cannot change him. I am at the end of my rope. If You want to change me, here is my life, it is Yours to do with whatever You please.

Biblically speaking, I did not realize the significance of what I was praying; but in the week that followed, changes in my life began to occur that I knew I had no power or personal influence in. For example: My mouth was a big problem. I never was able in my own strength and power to clean up my four-letter-word vocabulary that was well programmed into the computer, but this was the first place that Jesus began His work in me. A week later after I initially prayed that prayer, I got up one morning realizing that since I had prayed that prayer my mouth had been clean; and I knew I had nothing to do with it. Jesus had taken me at my word and had become Lord of my life and began to mold it Himself, without my help, into that person He had created me to be.

What was the significance and magic in that prayer that I had prayed? I later discovered the answer to this question while reading the book of Romans. The Apostle Paul stated in this book, "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." (Rom 10:9-10). From childhood, I had believed that Jesus had died for my sins and that He had risen from the dead, but I had never known Jesus as Lord until I had prayed that prayer coming home from high school one day. As soon as I surrendered the Lordship of my life to Jesus through prayer, He began saving me from myself and sin. I also experienced inward assurance of Jesus’ forgiveness for my past and present sins.

I discovered through my own prayer and the changes in my life that immediately followed, that the answer to my problems and the world’s problems did not lie in self-initiated, self-correcting programs whether centered in humanism or religion, but rather in dying to self-strife all together. All my humanistic and religious self-strife only led me to frustration and self-condemnation since I could not live up to the standard I had set for myself.

What did surrender to the Lordship of Jesus mean? It simply meant that Jesus did not want me to do anything about my life. He simply wanted me. Once He had me, whatever needed correcting would be taken care of by Him in His own time and way with or without my conscious cooperation. This was accomplished through my simply letting go of my own efforts and surrendering the management of my life to Jesus—His Lordship.

Since Jesus would not violate my free will. I had to open the door of my heart, invite Him in, and give Him permission to be Lord first, before He would take liberty to act as Lord of my life and bring about the necessary changes that He desired.

My life changing for the better began the day I surrendered the Lordship of my life to Jesus and put my trust in what He did on the cross and that alone as the only means of forgiveness of my sins and deliverance from the bondages that sin had brought into my life.

The Significance of the Resurrection

By Frank H. Kuder

I was brought up in a somewhat religious atmosphere, attending a church and even going to a private school sponsored by the same church from the first grade to about half of the sixth grade.

While I had plenty of exposure to religion and even though the basic fundamentals of Christianity were taught, I never came to grips with the reality of the Gospel. It did not seem to relate. It was something that happened a long time ago.

Even though I was taught about the positive aspects of the Gospel, I never saw the reality of it in the lives of those around me, nor in myself. That, along with some better religious experiences and inconsistencies of life styles, influenced me to turn away from God and the church at age eleven. To me, Christianity was a good idea that did not work. As a result, I became very bitter and hateful, for hate was the only reality I knew.

I left that school and went to a public elementary school for six months. It was there that I met a Jewish boy who later was to find Jesus as his Messiah. I met him less than one month after I made my decision to turn from God. Little did I know that it would be through him that I, too, would come to the Savior.

I went through that school my entire junior high years and tried unsuccessfully to end my life. I was frustrated, bewildered, and confused. What was real? What was right? How can you know? What about the future? That was what I faced and thus began my quest back to God.

My high school years were full of turmoil and fear. This went on for two years. My Jewish friend and I became very close, and it was not too much longer there after that he found Jesus as his Messiah. I saw a real change in him as we spent much time together. He witnessed to me in his own quiet way. I still wondered if Jesus was truly the only way when there were so many other claims by other religions. I wanted to believe in Jesus, but I just did not have enough evidence to convince me.

One day another friend invited me to his church. During the service, they read a passage of Scripture which talked about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I knew intellectually-historically that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, but when I heard the message of Christ's Resurrection this time, I realized the significance of His resurrection, and that was, that it proved that Jesus was who He claimed to be, the Son of God, the only way to God and the Savior of mankind. But even though at that point, I came to understand this, this understanding did not assure me of my personally having eternal life.

Two years later, my Jewish Christian friend invited me to a youth service in Oxnard, California. The youth minister explained that, in order to personalize the significance of Christ's death and resurrection, you had to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. At the invitation of the youth minister, I, along with others, prayed a prayer and received Jesus Christ in my life as Savior and Lord. After I received Jesus Christ, I received inner assurance of having eternal life. I later read in 1 John 5:12 that to have Jesus Christ living inside you is to have eternal life.

The changes in my life that followed further confirmed the reality that Jesus Christ was truly in my life. For example, I loved instead of hating. I had peace, hope, and joy. My whole attitude completely changed. I had the filthiest mouth that could be found, and I knew it was wrong, but I could not stop. He took that away. I found that Jesus Christ Himself was the total and complete answer to all of my longings, desires, and problems. Six months later, I went into the hospital for back surgery. Normally, that would have frightened me beyond measure, but He gave me complete peace and has done so through all the problems I have ever faced as he promised He would. Time would not permit me to share the many other ways my life has been changed, but I can truly testify of 2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old things passed away, behold, new things have come.

Sharing Jesus Is Loving Others

By Greg S. Hofler

Before I received Christ I was totally focused on self. What I wanted, what would be fun for me to do. I never thought about what I could do to help others, only about what they could do for me.

Then when I was fifteen, my parents enrolled me in a Christian high school. One day the noon chapel service was about Heaven and hell. At the end of the service the Pastor asked us to bow our heads and that if anyone there wasn’t sure that they were going to Heaven to raise their hand. I wasn’t, so I did.

After the service the Pastor asked me into his study and explained to me Jesus’ promise in Revelation 3:20, that if we ask Jesus into our hearts, that He will come in. This verse of Scripture states, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him, and will dine with him, and he with Me." He further explained to me that to have Jesus in my heart is to have eternal life. He then read to me from the Bible 1 John 5:11-12 which states,

"And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life." (1 John 5:11-12)

We then prayed together and I invited Jesus into my heart as Savior and Lord.

I now have eternal life and I know I am going to heaven because Jesus now lives in me. Since then Jesus has been teaching me what it means to love and care for people, what it means to "love your neighbor as yourself" as God commanded in Leviticus 19:18. Part of loving my neighbor is sharing with them about Jesus and how to invite Him into their hearts as Savior and Lord, as that Pastor loved me enough to do.

Study Questions
Chapter 7
Bibliography & Notes
Section 5 Chapters

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