Finding Common Ground

  • by Dr. Bill Bright

Sharing your testimony is one of the best ways to find common ground with a non-believer. Your testimony is simply the story of what Christ has done in your life. It doesn't have to be long; in fact, three minutes is just about the right length for any situation. As you tell your story, divide it into three parts:

  • Your life before you received Christ.
  • How you came to Christ.
  • How Christ is changing your life.

A well-prepared testimony can have a direct impact in nearly every witnessing situation. It can be one of your most effective tools in witnessing, helping you to present Christ in a clear, attractive, and personal manner.

(By the way – if you became a Christian at an early age, your testimony should be presented from the perspective of when you began to experience significant growth in your Christian life.)

If you feel as though you have not developed your testimony to its fullest potential, the following "do's" and "don'ts" will help.

What to do...

Link your testimony to the conversation.

  • Example: "I can really identify with the concerns you're having with your teenager. Several years ago I found my whole life was filled with anxiety and frustration – just waiting for another problem with my son."

Be clear on how you came to Christ.

  • Example: "I was invited to attend a Bible study. It was over a period of several weeks that I began to understand how much God really loved me; and one night after the study, I invited Christ to come into my life and forgive my sins."

Use specific examples to make your story real.

  • Example: "God began to give me a real peace in my life. I remember one night my son was over an hour late. My normal feelings would have been fear and worry. But as I prayed, God calmed me down and gave me His peace."

What not to do...

Don't use Christian Jargon that non-Christians will not understand.

  • While terms like "saved," "lost," "sacrificed," "glorious," etc. can be very meaningful to Christians, they do not communicate effectively to non-Christians.

Don't exaggerate.

  • Life is not always wonderful, totally fulfilling and without problems. People appreciate accuracy and realism.

Don't mention the names of denominations or church groups.

  • Statements like, "I attended the First Christ Church before I became a Christian . . ." should be avoided. Keep your conversation positive and focused on what God has done in your life.

When telling your testimony, be as specific as possible, humorous if appropriate, and very clear when explaining how you invited Christ into your life.

You should write out and memorize your own 3-minute testimony.

Practice delivering it conversationally, perhaps with a friend.

You'll be surprised at how often it will come in handy – and at how effective it can be in helping you move from casual conversation to the actual gospel.

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