Every time an adult was baptized at the church I interned at during my time in seminary, they would give their testimony beforehand. I was the staff member responsible for coaching people through their testimony. During these coaching sessions, there were always a few things that came up, so the following is two pieces of advice I always gave. I now give them to you, to help you share your testimony in a gospel-centered manner.
3 Stages of Spiritual Growth ought to be Clear
First, it ought to be clear where you came from. Why? Because when Jesus saves us, He saves us from something – sin. For some of you, you may know this very well if you came to faith later in life. Others of you may not have grown up outside the Church, but you still have sin that you were saved from. Bottom line? The more you know your own sin, the more you’ll love the gospel, and the more you love the gospel, the more it will come out in your testimony.
Second, the moment you came to faith in Christ, whether young or old, ought to be clear. Paul uses language like this all over his letters. We once were darkness, but now we are light in the Lord (Eph. 5). We once were dead, now we’re alive (Eph. 2, 2 Cor. 5). We once were lost, now in Christ, we’re found. This first meeting ‘moment’ ought to be mentioned. For those of you who grew up out of the Church this may be easy. For those of you who grew up in the Church it may be a bit more difficult, but try to recall – ‘when was the first time I felt the power of the gospel come home to my heart in power?’ Asking the question and seeking its answer is always a good idea. It will make you grateful.
Third, the final stage that ought to be clear is where Jesus is bringing you now. Jesus rescued you from something, He saved you, and now in the present He is leading you in a direction, share it. That also, ought to be clear.
A Christian testimony is just that, Christian
This is the last thing I always say, yet most people think this is a strange thing to say about a Christian giving their testimony. Is it? I don’t think so. Recall most of the testimonies you’ve heard yourself. What was the main subject? The person talking? Their sin? Their pre-Christian life? Hmmm….should this be so? No.
A Christian testimony is Christian only because it is centered on Christ, not sin, not yourself in any way, shape, or fashion. The person talking ought to aim at putting the gospel on display to their hearers. Your aim is not to put your sin or yourself on display at all. Don’t read me wrong, sin must be mentioned, but it must be talked about in a way that makes it clear that sin is not the main topic – Jesus is.