No Experience Necessary
What do you think of when you hear the word witness? Does someone in a courtroom come to mind? A witness is someone that has knowledge of an event from personal observation and is there to tell all of what they have seen and heard. Likewise, as Christians, we are called to be witnesses for Christ, sharing a personal testimony in both word and deed about the truth that we have experienced.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus refers to His disciples as witnesses and calls them to go to the ends of the earth with the good news of salvation. Empowered by the Holy Spirit and Jesus’s simple model for witnessing, they went forth to bear witness. In the book, Ministry of Healing, Ellen G. White counsels that, “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people.”
Christ’s method does not require experience. Rather, basic preparation for witnessing involves a personal encounter with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and a continuing relationship with Him. Through prayer and Bible study, the believer grows in their relationship with God and in their knowledge of biblical truth to share with others.
Further preparation for witnessing includes knowing the biblical narrative you are a part of in order to share it rightly and truthfully. Biblical truth can be thought of in terms of four key concepts that serve as a framework for your story: Creation—What is God’s intention? Fall—How has God’s purpose been distorted? Redemption—How does God help us to respond? Re-creation—How can we be restored in the image of God?
Now, think through your own personal testimony of your relationship with Jesus Christ. Your story is one of the most powerful tools for sharing Christ with those around you. It is your first-hand account of all that God has done in your life. Place your story in the context of the biblical narrative—telling others what Jesus has done to save us, with an emphasis on your personal experience and how He has changed your life. An effective testimony could be structured as follows:
- This is what my life was like before I met Jesus.
- This is how I met Jesus.
- These are the differences in my life since I met Jesus.
In 2015, the General Conference launched an initiative called Total Member Involvement, which extends a call for all believers to be witnesses for Christ. Like the apostles, we are also chosen to be a part of God’s plan to reach the world. Witnessing is part of being a disciple of Jesus; it is a response to what Christ has done for you. Each one of us has been commissioned by the Lord to proclaim the good news of His salvation. Believing in and receiving Jesus as our Savior is the only qualification we need.
Isaiah 52:7 reminds us, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”
By Carol Campbell
Vice President for Education