A couple summers ago, I led a mission trip to Nicaragua.
As a part of the nightly teaching, we led the students in an exercise to hone their sharing of their testimony. It wasn't long before I realized that students had no idea how to share their story.
16-year-old kids would be five minutes into their stories and still at “And then I started elementary school…”
You think, “So many things have happened in my life. I don’t know what to leave out.” It all seems important, so you say everything that crosses your mind, and chase every rabbit you can.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Team Impact has a framework we use for sharing our faith, and we call it a “Testiminute.”
Team Leader Shonn Keels coined the term, "Testaminute" and the idea is simple: share your entire testimony in three short minutes.
Here's how it breaks down:
- 1 minute on life before Christ
- 1 minute on what made you choose to follow Him
- 1 minute on life since then
When you keep your story to 3 minutes or less, you can tell it to anyone, anywhere, at anytime. (Click to Tweet)
1) 1 Minute on Life Before Christ
In one minute or less, share what life was like before you met Christ -- describe what kind of home you grew up in, or a significant event in your life.
Even though lots of important details could be shared, it doesn’t mean they're relevant. Only share what's going to matter in why/how you came to know Christ.
A couple examples might be:
Story #1: You grew up in the church, but your faith wasn’t your own. You were in church, but not necessarily in Christ.
Story #2: You had an experience that drove you away from God: your parents divorced, or you suffered abuse, and you held that against “god” for not preventing it. As a result, you wanted nothing to do with “god.”
Story #3: You grew up in a family or an environment in which you didn’t have much, if any, exposure to God
2) 1 Minute on What Made You Choose to Follow Him
In minute two, articulate what happened that made you decide to go all in on Christ.
Was it a specific moment?
A journey of several conversations?
Whatever it was, in this minute share why you made the choice to "repent of your previous life, confess Christ crucified and resurrected, and dedicate your life to the way of Christ.
Perhaps it was something like this:
Story #1: Something happened that made you choose faith for yourself. That is to say, something made the story of Christ (that you’d heard all your life) finally sink in. It became your faith and not your family's faith.
Story #2: Something happened that brought redemption to the wound you believed God caused. Through counseling, or conversation, you came to realize that you couldn’t change the past, but God could change your future, and you stepped into his healing arms.
Story #3: Something happened that allowed you to encounter God. You met new friends at freshman orientation, and later found out they were Christians; stumbled into a Team Impact meeting or a church (more by accident than anything) and next thing you know, you’re responding to the Gospel.
Whatever the scenario, this is the moment (or process through which) you realized that God had done for you what you couldn’t do for yourself.
3) 1 Minute on Life Since Then
In minute three, wrap up by talking about life since then. This is your chance to “put a bow on it.”
Consider what you’ve said -- specifically in your first minute -- and bring resolution to that.
Story #1: Though you grew up surrounded by your family’s faith, you are now living out your own faith. You’re far from perfect, but now you make daily choices to live out your faith.
Story #2: Though your life was once defined by hurt and brokenness, Now you’re living in the restoration. What once was a wound, is now a source of new life, and healing.
Story #3: Though you grew up not knowing about “god,” you now know, and are known by, the Living God!
As you end, be up front that you’re journeying. You haven’t figured it all out, but you’re striving to grow in love and be a faithful disciple of Jesus.
Your “Testaminute” will work in any setting: on a plane, over dinner, or wherever. (Click to Tweet)
It’s short enough to be socially acceptable, yet it still conveys the amazing message of redemption in your life.
Grab a couple friends and share your “Testaminutes” with one another. Time each other, and give positive feedback.
Even practice how you might transition into sharing your “Testaminute” in different conversations. This will help you become more comfortable sharing.
After all, the point of a story is to be told....right?
This post was written by Team Impact's Lead Evangelist, Stephen Mackey. When Mackey isn't speaking in schools and churches around the world, he's hanging out with his wife and two kiddos in Dallas, TX.