Your story of how you came to Christ is the greatest story of your life, and it is the one story that everyone should know about you–your friends, your family, your children, your grandchildren–everyone. People shouldn’t wait until your funeral to hear about how you came to Christ. This heritage should be passed down and shared often, but a majority of the kids and youth in our churches can’t tell you about when their mom or dad received Christ.
“I was talking with over 100 students and I asked, ‘How many of you can tell me about when your parents got saved?’ Five hands went up.”
Below you’re going to learn some basic tips about how to share your salvation story with your family, friends and anyone else you meet. But first, I want to share a story with you. I often tell students to never assume that anyone is saved. Not their friends. Not their parents. Not their pastor. I’m not saying that these people aren’t saved. I’m just trying to build into them the habit of always hearing someone’s salvation story instead of just blindly accepting that they are saved because they live a moral life or because they attend church.
I was talking with over 100 students and I asked, “How many of you can tell me when your parents got saved?” Five hands went up. One young man caught me after and said, “I know my dad is saved but I’ve never heard his story.” An hour later he came back. “I called my dad. I told you he was saved!”
The point is, our kids shouldn’t have to seek out this story. This is the one story of our lives that we want them to hear over and over throughout the years–the one story above all else that we want them to know and remember about us–that we knew Jesus Christ. There is power in your salvation testimony. Don’t keep it a secret.
Our family will often go around the dinner table and let everyone share their story. We all already know how each of us was saved but as a parent I also know that the more my children share their story, the less likely they are to have doubts in the future. Doubts often creep in when we suddenly realize that we don’t remember all the details. “If I don’t remember this right, maybe I don’t remember anything right.” Video your kids sharing their salvation stories. Ask them to share it with you often and in return, share yours with them as well.
Get ready to share your salvation story:
Your testimony doesn’t have to be “dynamic.” Every story of salvation is a story of life-change and the greatest miracle of all. There is no such thing as a “boring” testimony.
It also doesn’t have to be long. In fact, it shouldn’t be long. Try to keep your salvation testimony to a minute or less. Practice this.
This guide will help you to think through your story of how you came to know Jesus. Write it down but don’t memorize it—just learn it. This isn’t a presentation. It’s a story. Share it from your heart. Let God guide you, and listen to Him as you share it.
When I was younger I knew a man who had heart surgery. After being given certain drugs and as they wheeled him down the hall, he said, “I knew I shouldn’t have eaten that taco!” My thought, however, wasn’t about tacos. What would naturally come out of my mouth if I were in the same situation? It wasn’t a judgmental thought; just something that made me examine myself. And I decided that if I was ever in the same situation, I didn’t want to be talking about what I just ate. I wanted to be ready to share Christ in any situation, with any distraction, in any amount of pain, even under anesthesia. I wanted my salvation story to be the first thing to come out of my mouth. So I shared it every day for the purpose of getting ready to share it easily no matter what.
Share your salvation story as often as you can. Try to share it every day. Practice on your family. Practice on your Christian friends. Practice in the mirror. Practice on your dog…he won’t get saved. Practice on your non-Christian friends…some of them might get saved. The more you share your story the more comfortable you will be in sharing your story and the more natural it will become.
Finally, understand that your testimony is powerful. People can argue anything…but it’s hard to argue someone’s experience.
So let’s begin where you began…
What Started You Thinking About Giving Your Life To Jesus?
Were you in church and heard a preacher? Did something happen that made you think about death or heaven? Did a friend do or say something that put these thoughts in your mind?
It is amazing to hear the things that God uses to draw people to Him. As a child I stopped watching Star Trek after seeing a movie where Captain Kirk denied the existence of God. However, in college I met a young man training for ministry who came to Christ because of that same scene. As he watched it, he began to wonder, “Could there be a God?” The Lord used that Star Trek movie in the process of drawing him to Christ.
What stirred your heart? What started you thinking about giving your life to Jesus?
Write down your thoughts on a piece of paper.
What Did You Do?
As you were thinking about Jesus and heaven, did you talk to someone? Did you talk to your parents? A minister? What did you learn? What did you do? Obviously, in some way, you learned about how Jesus died and rose again to make a way to forgive you, to save you, and to give you eternal life. Then you decided that you wanted Jesus to be the Lord of your life and you called on Him to save you.
Stop and think about it. Take some time to write down your experience.
What Difference Did It Make?
So what’s different now that you are a believer? What difference did it make in your life? What difference did it make in eternity? The best way to end your salvation story is by saying:
“Because of this I know for sure I’m going to heaven. How about you?”
This simple statement helps you to discover whether or not the person you are talking with knows Jesus also.
If they say, “Sure. I’m going to heaven,” ask them how they know for sure. Are they right? Did they share a salvation experience or an answer that you know, according to the Bible, isn’t right? Are they trusting something other than Christ for salvation (i.e., “I’m a good person.” “I go to church.” “I got baptized.”)?
If they don’t share a genuine salvation experience, then ask for the opportunity to share with them what the Bible says about how a person can know Jesus and spend eternity in heaven. “Can I show you what the Bible says about how you can know for certain that you would spend eternity in heaven?”
If they say “yes,” then share with them how God can save them just like He saved you. If they say “no” ask if there would be a better time and if not, try leave them with a tract or at least try to leave an open door for sharing with them in the future.
Take some time to write down your thoughts.
Pitfalls To Avoid When Sharing Your Salvation Story
(1) Stick To The Point
Don’t share your life story: “I was born at a really young age and I was close to my mother when it happened…” Get to the point. This is the story of how you came to Christ. Cut out everything else. For example, you don’t need to say, “So I talked to my pastor. His name was Bob and I had known Bob for twelve years. We used to play softball together. We had this cool nickname for him…” What does that have to do with your salvation experience? If nothing, then don’t share it.
(2) Keep It Brief
You should be able to share your salvation testimony in a minute or less. Time yourself. Try to share as clearly and briefly as possible.
(3) Avoid Churchy Language
If someone hasn’t grown up in church, they may not understand churchy language. If you say, “I walked down the aisle” referring to go forward during a church invitation, someone who hasn’t been in church may associate it with their only experience of “walking down an aisle” which is probably the day they were married. With children I stopped using the phrase, “I asked Jesus into my heart,” because there was a child who said, “I don’t want Jesus in my heart!” Why not? “Because He’s a big man and I’m just a little girl.” She was being literal. Big man plus little heart equals big mess! She didn’t understand the terminology.
When I have used the term “saved,” a biblical term, I have had children ask, “What do you mean that you were ‘saved’? Did you fall in a swimming pool and someone pull you out?”
Even, when I am speaking with a child, if I ask, “Have you ever sinned?” I always follow by saying, “Have you ever done anything wrong?” I started doing this after having several children tell me, “No. I’ve never sinned.” Then I would ask, “Have you ever done anything wrong?” and they would immediately say, “Oh yeah.” It wasn’t that they hadn’t done wrong things. They just didn’t understand my wording. As you are working on your salvation testimony, listen to it with the ears of someone who hasn’t been in church. Listen also with the ears of a child. Do you hear anything confusing?
Create Opportunities To Share Jesus With Others
If you have a friend that is lost, how do you bring it up without feeling awkward or off-the-wall. Here are some suggestions:
- Ask, “Can I tell you about the greatest thing that ever happened to me?” If they say, “yes,” then share your salvation testimony, the story of how you were saved. If they say “no,” then it’s probably a bad time and there will be a better time later.
- Look for situational opportunities: Is something going on in this person’s life that might be making them think about spiritual matters? Did heaven, death, God or Jesus just come up in a conversation? Did someone just use God’s name in vain and you can kindly explain to them how important that name is to you?
- Pray and ask God to open up doors for you to share His love with others. The single greatest thing that stops people for sharing Jesus is an unwilling heart.
The best way to create an opportunity to share your salvation story is by saying, “Can I tell you about the greatest thing that ever happened to me?”
There are three basic parts to your salvation story:
- What started you thinking about giving your life to Jesus?
- What did you do?
- What difference did it make?
The best way to end your story is by saying, “Because of this I know for sure I’m going to heaven. What about you?”
This question puts the “ball” in their court to help you find out whether or not they have had a genuine salvation experience and to help you know how to proceed in your conversation with them.
The First Week Sharing My Story
Share your salvation testimony every day this week and write down the names of the people with whom you share it. Also write down their responses and any thoughts or experiences you have.
I Need Help!
We’ve met people in churches where we are training who just need an extra helping hand getting started. That’s okay and we want you to know that we’re here to help. We want you to be the best you can be…and God has called us to help you in this way. So, if you write down your salvation testimony and want to share it with us, feel free to send it our way. If you have questions, then please email us. If you get the chance to lead someone to Christ, we’d love to hear about it. There are no boring testimonies and no boring stories of people being saved…these are forever-changing moments. If you need help or simply want to connect with us, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This information is a chapter from the book 20 Seconds of Courage. You can learn more about this book or order it HERE.
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