As Christians who have a God-given passion for reaching the lost, I am sure we have all asked ourselves, what can I do to expand my ministry? Many of us are frustrated by the seemingly lack of opportunities available to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to our family and friends. And once we do get that rare opportunity, our audience simply glazes their eyes over, loses interest, or we simply screw it up.
One recent opportunity I was given to share some powerful scriptures to an unsaved friend, instead of quoting John 3:16, John 10:10 or Romans 10:9-10, I shared Deuteronomy 23:12-14. For those of you who are unaware of this scripture, while it is a humorous, it does certainly not bring an unsaved friend closer to Jesus.
So what can we do to expand our ministry? Pray more? Memorise more scripture? Listen to more Hillsong? Complete the ‘Seven Steps to Evangelism’ course? While all of the aforementioned responses are essential to evangelism, I believe there is one key element that goes above this, which can be found in Matthew 16:15-18.
(Jesus asked of his disciples) ‘But what about you, who do you think I am?’ Simon Peter answered ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’. Jesus replied ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Dates will not overcome it’. NIV
The rock that Jesus is referring to is Simon Peter’s testimony, that Jesus is the son of God. Despite Simon Peter denying Jesus three times, he was restored as an apostle of Jesus (John 21:15-19) and is credited for establishing the church in Antioch and leading that church for seven years. His testimony helped establish the early church and one of the most powerful denominations of Christianity, the Catholic Church.
The above scripture randomly popped into my head at 10:45pm on a Sunday night while shaving (go figure – God works in mysterious ways). The thought that came to me was ‘On your testimony God will build his church (your ministry).
My testimony is how Jesus restored my brokenness from a bullied, depressed, suicidal teenager to the spirit-filled, secure, purpose driven man I am today. My testimony is when I accepted Jesus into my life at age 17, my life has dramatically transformed. My testimony is the same as the man who was born blind in John 9, who said to the Pharisees after being healed ‘One thing I do know, once I was blind, now I see’ (verse 25).
So what is your testimony?
Most Christian’s know that testimonies are a powerful method to share the gospel, but most don’t know why. I believe there are three reasons why your story of your restoration by the blood of Jesus is the most important method to influence your circle of influence.
1. Testimonies are stories
Everyone loves listening and sharing stories, whether they be humorous, inspiring, interesting or educational. Regardless of background, we are automatically captured by tales we can relate to and understand. Our testimony is the story of how God has changed our broken past to a story of restoration and fulfilment, and even the most hardened of hearts are moved by our stories.
2. Testimonies are indisputable
I must confess my knowledge of science to my detriment is non-existant, and I struggle to develop rebuttals to scientific ‘evidence’ such as the Big Bang, Evolution and how our ancestors are Apes. However, the smartest scientific boffin cannot dispute my story, because one cannot argue with another’s life experience.
3. Testimonies glorify God
Our testimony should give credit to the transformative power of the blood of Jesus shed on the cross, and the abundance of blessings he has poured onto us on a daily basis. An effective testimony that exalts God (and not ourselves) is the most effective method of giving glory to God to those around us who don’t have a relationship with Jesus.
We have now ascertained the amazing power of our testimony. So what are some practical steps you can take to enable you to effectively share your testimony?
1. Believe you have a good testimony
Sound silly? It dismays me how many times the complaints I have heard from my brothers and sisters in Christ that they do not have a good testimony. You do not need to have used drugs, killed someone or suffered a major traumatic experience to have a good testimony. Sometimes it’s the testimony of little things God has done in our lives that makes the biggest difference to those around us.
2. Practice with your Christian friends
Can you effectively communicate your testimony? Practicing your testimony in a safe and supportive environment (such as your connect group) will give you necessary practice and confidence to share your testimony in an unsafe and unsupportive environment (the real world).
3. Live a life that glorifies God
Saint Francis of Assisi is commonly attributed for coining the phrase ‘Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words’. In a world that values ‘getting the sale’ more than ‘telling the truth’, people are looking for genuine honesty in what you do, rather than what you say. Your actions are your most powerful testimony, and your actions are a far more effective evangelistic tool than your ability to recite 100 bible verses off by heart.
After being a Christian for over seven years, I firmly believe that talking to others is the most confronting and challenging task God has assigned to every believer. By knowing how to share your broken past and/or current joy, God will use your testimony to build your ministry.
Lord, I pray for every person who has read this article. I pray that you will stir up a spirit-filled passion to reach more souls. I pray that you will bless them as they share your good news with their circle of influence. Finally, I pray you give your believers comfort as you walk beside them and covering them with your grace. We give praise and honour to your mighty name. Amen