If you’ve made it to this page, you’ve taken the first step towards knowing and to sharing your story! We’re so excited that you’re joining us on our journey in connecting people back to God! Before we begin, take a few minutes to watch the video below where Josh will explain more about what #myvictorystory is all about!
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” -1 Peter 3:15
Know Your Story
We are commanded to be able to share our faith with others. Therefore, it is important to know your story!
The power of story is a timeless facet of human anthropology and epistemology. Since humans first began communicating, we have used stories to relate to one another and communicate ideas. We shouldn’t be surprised that God uses story time and again to reveal Himself to us.
In the pursuit of evangelization and discipleship, story is a tremendous tool for connecting with people. The Holy Spirit uses the stories of believers to move people closer to God and to help us discover truth. Every Christian should be able to effectively and concisely communicate his or her own story. Thankfully, the Apostle Paul’s remarkable testimony is recorded in Acts 26. Together, we will examine the formula he used to share his story and apply his strategy to organize our own.
Paul’s story shared before King Agrippa is comprised of five separate components:
Lead In – verses 2-3
Before – verses 4-11
How – verses 12-20
After – verses 21-23
Close – verses 24-29
For our purposes, we will focus on the three main elements of his testimony:
- What his life was like BEFORE salvation
- HOW he met Christ
- What his life was like AFTER conversion
Paul’s entire story, read casually, takes about 3-4 minutes. We can use these three elements to craft a simple, clear, and repeatable account of our own experience.
Craft Your Story
Over the next few sections, you are going to learn how to craft a powerful story by using the Apostle Paul’s testimony as an example and by answering a few helpful questions and doing a lot of thinking through own your experiences. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, or get your word doc ready on your computer so that you can begin to formulate your story as you go. READY? LET’s GO!
PART ONE: BEFORE (read Acts 26:4-11)
Many people’s actions spring out of their unsatisfied deep inner needs. What were one or two of your unsatisfied deep inner needs before you came to know Christ? Some examples are:
- Lack of peace
- Fear of death
- Something missing
- No meaning to life
- No real friends
- Lack of purpose
- Desire to be in control
Non-Christians often attempt to satisfy deep inner needs through unsatisfactory solutions. In the past, what kind of unsatisfactory solutions did you try to throw at your unmet needs? When you share your story, be sure to include both positive and negative examples. Some of them may include:
- Wrong friends
PART TWO: HOW (read Acts 26:12-20)
Describe the circumstances that caused you to consider Christ as the solution to your deep inner needs. Identify the events that led to your conversion. In some cases, this may have taken place over a period of time.
State specifically the steps you took to become a Christian. If there is a particular passage of Scripture that applies here, you may want to use it. Usually, you will simply paraphrase it.
Always include the Gospel briefly and clearly. The Gospel includes:
- All have sinned
- Sin’s penalty
- Christ paid the penalty
- We must receive Christ
PART THREE: AFTER (read Acts 26:21-23)
State how Christ has filled or is filling your deep inner needs. In the before, you expressed how you had tried unsuccessfully to meet your needs with unsatisfactory solutions. Now you may want to briefly show the difference Christ has made in your life. What has changed for you?
It’s very important to avoid churchy/religious words here, and instead speak in more common terms. It’s also extremely important to point to the assurance of eternal life. This is often a good place to land, and you may provoke a comment or question from your listener(s).
“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard.” 1 John 1:3
Write Out And Practice Your Story
Now that you have crafted the elements of your story, the next step is to write out your testimony using Paul’s 3 elements (Before, How, and After).
When writing your story, follow these tips:
- Make it conversational. No fancy language. No preaching. Be authentic and informal.
- You, not them. Share about what happened to you; Don’t tell them what they should do.
- Keep it general. No need to be specific about churches or denominations. Dates and ages aren’t all that important to the listener(s).
- Humor is gooder. Smiling and laughter reduces tension. Funny moments are disarming and draw the listener(s) into the story.
- Word pictures work. Don’t just say, “Joe shared the Gospel with me.” Briefly describe the setting so your listener(s) can visualize it happening.
- No embellishing. Life isn’t perfect now that you know Christ. Be real! Christianity isn’t all rainbows and sunshine… although Heaven might be.
- Simplify. If you talk for days or your story is winding, you will lessen the impact.
After you have written out a copy of your story, have another Christian read it and provide feedback. Ask them to point out any areas that need clarity. When you have a final draft that you like, put it on a 3x5 index card. Practice giving your testimony ...the whole thing...
Just think… Josh practices 7 times for a sermon. It gets you more comfortable in front of others when you are sharing, and in front of a camera if you choose to share your story on video.
If you're brave, put your phone on audio recording and listen to yourself afterwards.
We are praying for God to use your story in big ways!