The following information is presented as a resource for when giving a talk about your experience of Christ, which is called a "testimony."
I. Before the Talk
- Prayer. The most important prep is to ask God what "What will encourage my listeners to love you more?" This may be the hardest part!
- Simplify. What is the one thing I want my listeners to remember after the talk?
- One Point. Pick one topic and bring it to life through examples of answered prayer, intellectual insights, quotes, stories, biographical excerpts, poetry, analogies, statistics, etc.; rather than simply writing a talk of "we shoulds".
- With-ness. To avoid preaching at people instead of sharing with people, replace any occurrences of "you should" with "we should."
- Sweet Spot. To fully represent Christ, it's best to stick with topics held in common by Christian ecclesial bodies. See Ecumenical Agreement. In addition, avoid too much detail on past struggles and sins. The focus is Christ.
- Practice. Presenting your talk out loud before someone else will provide relevant constructive feedback. (Note: a 10-12 minute talk is roughly 1000-1200 words.) It is good to pre-reference scripture references with yellow stickees.
II. During the Talk
- Love Your People. An audience engages by a person's spirit. They will forgive technical imperfections, if God's Spirit is present. Let the material pass through your unique, God-given personality.
- Dynamics. Have fun with confidence, eye contact, and full volume—and they will too. Visual aids and variety capture attention esp. since most of the information conveyed will be non-verbal.
- Silence. Breaks serve well after section endings or key points because they allow for reflection. (Always choose silence over "um" and "uh.".)
- Damage Control. If you make a blunder do not make a big deal about it, simply move on. The focus is not the speaker, but the message.
- Self-Forgetful. On one occasion when praying for a talk, I was given a vision of Christ carrying a burlap sack over his back. Jesus stopped, put down the sack, and slit it open with a knife, revealing gifts. The lesson: God asks us to be sharp, shiny knives, but we are not to worry about how the material is received—just share Christ in you. The gifts are from Christ to the recipients.
- Inner Altar Call. End with an encouragement or challenge to respond to God.
III. After the Talk
- Good Feedback. You may be surprised at how people will be ministered to by your talk. Proverbs 16:24 says "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones," and there's no better set of words than ones that remind us of the reality and strength of God's love for us. (Good feedback also helps us see how unnecessary the pre-talk worrying really was.)
- Ready For the Next. If your listeners do not offer constructive feedback, seek it out so next time you'll be even better. Proverbs 27:17 says "as iron sharpens iron, so one sharpens another."
Thank you for serving Christ and sharing your gifts.
God loves a cheerful giver! (2 Cor 9:7)