Sharing Your Testimony With Impact
A testimony can be a powerful tool of Christian communication. This "Imaginary" young woman 'Angie' has written her story in three different styles:
My Testimony - How I found Christ and was saved"I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)
I was brought up in a Christian home, but did not respond to Christ's offer of salvation as a child. I was too busy wanting to please myself - my life was displeasing to the Lord. I was a typical quite rebellious teenager, and though I didn't get into anything too gross, I lived to please myself. I probably caused my godly parents to grieve for me. No doubt they were praying for me all those years. When I was 17, someone witnessed to me and invited me to a musical youth event at the local church. I heard the Gospel clearly preached by the music group's leader. I'd never really understood it before. The next day, someone gave me a John's gospel. I took it home to read. One verse particularly spoke to me - Jn 8:12. Basically I really felt convicted I was a sinner and that Jesus had died for my salvation. So I just prayed the sinner's prayer of repentance and asked God to save me. Straight away I found such wonderful peace and assurance. Now I know I'm going to heaven by God's grace. I just want to serve him all the time. Every day is a wonderful new adventure as I read my Bible and discover things from his Word. My friend, you must turn to God too!
My broken CD playerAaarh! Was I angry? I had spilt a full cup of coffee all over my CD player. Just when I was going to play my new Mojos album too! I won't write down the things I said at the time - I nearly threw the cup out of the window with temper!
Yet this became a turning point in my life. First thing next day, I went down to our local repair shop Micro HiFi. Felipe the manager was a friend of our family. "Give me two days," he said, "It will be easy." As I turned to open the door, he called me back. "Angie, we have a special music evening tomorrow for young people at the church. I think you'd like it." "Uh-huh, maybe," I replied. I really did not like church meetings, though I used to go as a child. I wanted to plan my own life, set my own goals. I didn't need help - that was for old people. But that night, with no music to listen to, and nothing good on radio or TV, I began to think. Is there more to life? Maybe there is a real reason for living? Perhaps even a way to be really fulfilled and happy? I'd felt very empty since splitting up with my boyfriend Mick two months before. Music seemed to fill the empty space a bit. But you can't listen to music all the time!
Hiding my face
So next evening I walked over to the church, with my coat collar pulled round my face. I didn't want anyone to see me going in. The music group Dynamite was good, with a brilliant keyboard player, though I didn't like their choice of songs - the lyrics made me feel uncomfortable. Then the group's leader spoke for 10 minutes at the end. He told us how his life had been going downhill into addictions and depression. Then he had found Jesus. ("Oh no, another religious freak," I thought.) But he told us how Jesus had died for him personally, and for each of us. He explained how Jesus was like his best friend, and that he felt really free for the first time in his life. He no longer needed to fill the gaps in his life with alcohol and drugs.
As I walked home past the shops, my head seemed to be going round and round.
I didn't want to 'give in' to God. But could all this stuff be really true? Next
day, I ran down to the hi-fi shop in my lunch-break. "All fixed," said
Felipe. "And did you like the meeting?" "Yeah, OK," I said,
not wanting to talk about it. "Would you like to read this?" said
Felipe, giving me a small booklet. That evening, I set up my CD player, started
to play my new album, and then found Felipe's booklet still in the box. It was a
'Gospel of John' - part of the Bible. I started at the beginning and kept
reading right through. I'd read parts of the Bible before, but they never made
much sense to me. But now! It was as if God was speaking directly to me. One
line I especially remember - the words:
"I am the light for the world! Follow me, and you won't be walking in darkness".I realized that I didn't deserve his love and had been living a completely self-centered life. And yet he loved me anyway - had sent Jesus to die for me. He wanted me to respond to that, and allow him to change my life right around. With my head resting on the empty CD player's box, I asked God to forgive me, change me, and come into my life. I promised to stop living life my way.
That night really was a turning point for me. I felt a sort of peace inside I'd never felt before. And a lightheaded happiness. As the days went on, I slowly learned more about Jesus. I found he was helping me, day by day, to make decisions, handle difficult situations, and understand other people better. Life took on a whole new meaning.
I often look at my CD player - I'm just so glad I spilled that coffee over it!
A third way of writing this testimony would be in a magazine 'third person'
style with quoted speech. So Angie chatted with Elizabeth, who works on a local
paper. Together, they put together this short feature...
Coffee and CD players don't mix
Angie Ferrand, 17, is a graphics student from Millstown, Panavia. Feature writer Elizabeth Odobo met up with her to hear the story.
Angie Ferrand is glad she spilt coffee over her treasured CD player! "It was a turning point in my life," she claims. But she was really angry at the time.
She had returned home from college, eager to play her new Mojos album. In her rush to switch on, her full cup of coffee tipped right inside the machine. "Don't write what I said next," she laughs.
Next day's trip to the hi-fi repair shop led to an encounter with family friend Felipe Mateo, the shop technician. Felipe is also a youth worker at the town's church. "I mentioned to Angie that we had a youth meeting the next day with guest band called Dynamite," he remembers. "But Angie did not seem keen to come along."
Outwardly, Angie was a successful student. But she had been feeling very empty since splitting up with Mick, her regular boyfriend for over a year. An evening with no music to blot out the pain forced her to think about life. Did it have any real meaning?
So next evening, she reluctantly went to hear the band. She tried to cover her face with her coat collar, not wanting friends to see her going to 'somewhere religious'. "I didn't want anyone laughing at me in college," she says.
"I went home with my head spinning"
Dynamite were lively and gifted. The lyrics made her feel uncomfortable though. Then John, the band leader, spoke for 10 minutes. He shared how his life had been in a real mess of addiction and depression. But God had stepped in and changed his life completely. "He told us how Jesus had died for each of us personally. I'd never understood that before," says Angie. "I went home with my head spinning."
Back at the repair shop next day, she didn't want to talk about the concert with Felipe. But he gave her a small booklet to take home in the CD player's box. It was a part of the Bible - 'John's Gospel'. With her CD working again and her new album at full volume, she sat down to read the booklet. Though she had read parts of the Bible before, they never seemed to make sense. This time, it was different. It was as if God was speaking to her from every page. One line she remembers particularly: "I am the light for the world. Follow me, and you won't be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life."
Head on the box
"I realized that I didn't deserve his love, and was living a completely self-centered life. And yet he loved me anyway, had sent Jesus to die for me. He wanted me to respond to that, and allow him to change my life right around." Angie just lay her head down on the empty CD box and asked God to change her, forgive her, and come right into her life. She promised to stop living life her way.
Did it make a difference? "Yes," says Angie. "I've found God helping me in practical ways. Problems have been easier to handle, and I have been able to relate to other people much better. There's this inner peace I never had before. Now I feel accepted and not often lonely any more."
This style also works well. It could be used on a web-site, in a tract,
church neighborhood newsletter, or any print medium.
Little details are again used to make events seem real.
Quotes from a second character add interest and back up the truth of the
Though Angie could put her own story into this 'third person' format, it
was easier for someone else to interview her and Felipe, and create a
Again, no Christian vocabulary has been used apart from 'God', 'Jesus',
'Bible', and 'Gospel' (in the sense of a printed booklet - which has been
defined). The word 'testimony' has been carefully avoided.
It shows that her faith is benefiting her life in practical ways which a
non-Christian would also desire. She could perhaps give more detail about
The feature avoids gushing, preaching, exaggeration, or portraying her as
a perfect angel! Readers are left with the space and freedom to make their
own assessment of the story.
The picture of 'Angie' adds greatly to our ability to identify with her
and her story. Journalists tell us that ideally, a picture should always
have a caption underneath it.
It is recommended journalistic practice to sum up a whole story in the
first one or two sentences. We suggest however that for a testimony, it may
be better to reveal the actual conversion gradually. However, it is good to
start with a key event, something which is pivotal to the story.
An online testimony page could include a sound version - ideally in the 'instant' RealAudio format. It might not necessarily be the same text. The spoken version could be a short summary, give additional material not on the web-page, or tell the story in a different way to complement the written version.
Free to use
This page is available as a royalty-free 3000-word article free to use in any printed Christian publication. Download the file in Rich Text Format. The accompanying royalty-free photo of 'Angie' is also available to use in a printed publication. Terms for use are included in the RTF file.
Other websites: please link to this page if you wish. If you could translate this page into another language, please write to us.
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