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Your Life Story

The most effective preaching tool that our community has is your life story.
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One of the reasons I enjoy reading different versions of the Bible is that they can shake me free of a stilted, unthinking, rote reading of Scripture. I may have read a chapter dozens of times in my life, but when I read it in a different version it can leap off the page to me.

Here is one that did that for me.

You paid careful attention to the way we lived among you, and determined to live that way yourselves. In imitating us, you imitated the Master. Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit!—taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble. Do you know that all over the provinces of both Macedonia and Achaia believers look up to you? The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore—you’re the message! (1 Thessalonians 1:5-10 Message Bible).

As believers, we spend hours and hours teaching seminars. We print the most beautiful four-color pamphlets. We even save our money by buying newspaper ads. But there is nothing as powerful as your own personal testimony! The most effective preaching tool that our community has is your life story.

Your Mission

Sharing the good news with those around you is an important mission for each one of us. Jesus gave us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV).

Did you ever notice how Jesus says this to every one of his followers? Not just to missionaries. Therefore, this is your commission from Jesus, and it is not optional. Remember, it’s called the Great Commission, not the Great Suggestion! It’s up to you! You are the only Christadelphian that most people will ever meet. It is your mission to share God’s message of hope and salvation with them.

If your neighbor had cancer, and you knew the cure, it would be wrong of you to withhold that lifesaving information. If you know the way to forgiveness, grace, and eternal life and don’t share that information with your neighbor, then it’s even worse. You have the greatest news in the world, and sharing it with someone is the greatest love you can show them. Giving someone a great gift and seeing their response is a wonderful feeling. How much more beautiful to share God’s Kingdom with them!

What you say to someone can impact their lives for eternity. Nothing else you do will ever matter as much as helping people establish an eternal relationship with God. That is why we share our hope with others. There are people out there only you can reach— because of the person God has made you and where He has caused you to live.

What you say to someone can impact their lives for eternity.

Sure, your ecclesia is responsible for trying to share this message with the community. But the absolute best way to reach people is by sharing your life story. God has given you a message about your life that He wants you to share with those around you. God wants to speak to the world through you.

You may think you don’t have any story to tell, but that is not true.

We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son (1 John 5:9-10 NIV).

Everyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. That means you!

Your Life Story

What is your life story? Your life story contains four main parts:

Your testimony

The godly things you are passionate about

The lessons you have learned 

The gospel

Your Testimony

Your testimony is the story of how God has made a difference in your life.

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you. (1 Peter 2:9 Message Bible).

This is the essence of witnessing: simply sharing your personal experiences about God with someone else. In a courtroom, witnesses aren’t expected to argue the case, quote the law, prove the point, or press for a verdict. Witnesses simply report what happened to them. But it’s the witnesses that convince the jury! God calls us to be witnesses, not attorneys. He merely wants us to share our testimony with others.

the gospel spreads from your heart to theirs

Sharing your testimony is essential to your life story because it is unique. No other testimony is exactly like yours, so only you can share it. If you don’t share it, then it will be lost forever. You may not be a Bible scholar, but you are an authority on your life. It’s hard to argue with personal experience. Shared stories build bridges between people and allow relationships to grow. Through these relationships with others, the gospel spreads from your heart to theirs.

Many people are put off by the Bible and won’t listen or talk about it. But people will listen to a humble, personal story. Personal stories capture our attention, and we remember them.

Consider the Apostle Paul. No one else in the Bible uses personal testimony as often as Paul. On several occasions, we have records of Paul sharing his life story instead of quoting Scripture. (Acts 22:3-21; Acts 26:4-18; Galatians 1:11-16). 

Peter also writes of the importance of personal testimony: “Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.” (1 Peter 3:15 Message Bible).

Most testimonies are easily divided into four different parts:

  1. What your life was like before you came to the Truth
  2. What made you realize that you needed to be baptized
  3. How you went about committing your life to Christ
  4. The difference in your life since coming to God

Each person will probably want to focus on different parts of this message, as each of us has a distinct history with different important parts. You probably have a different story for every experience where God has helped you. Depending on who you are talking to, the context, and where they are in their life, you can custom-fit your story to your audience.

But the message is always the same. God has brought meaning and purpose to your life, and they can have it also if they simply turn to God. And you can show them how!

Your Passions

Your life story contains the Godly things that you are passionate about. God is a passionate God! He passionately loves some things, and He passionately hates other things. As you grow closer to God, you begin to adopt this same characteristic. You become more passionate about the things that God cares about. Whether it’s a problem, a purpose, a principle, or a group of people. You will feel compelled to speak up and do what you can to make a difference.

You’ll find that you cannot keep yourself from talking about what you care about most. You sometimes find yourself in the same position as Jeremiah:

If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9 ESV).

Your passion is often related to something you have experienced yourself: abuse, addiction, depression, illness, infertility, joblessness, or a lack of faith.

Your passion may be related to people who can’t speak for themselves: the disadvantaged, the imprisoned, the poor, or the young—anyone who has been denied justice or who is defenseless.

Your passion might be for a purpose: encouraging the elderly, improving marriages, mentoring, promoting Bible study, starting a new ecclesia, strengthening families, or visiting the sick.

Your passion may be to reach out to a group of people you feel close to—business people, ethnic nationalities, outsiders, teenagers, or young mothers and fathers.

God is speaking through you to bring them to His Gospel

God gives us all different passions so that everything He wants done will be done. Speak openly and freely about your passions to others because God is speaking through you to bring them to His Gospel.


Your life story contains the lessons that you have learned in life.

You know certain truths that God has taught you from your experiences with Him. You have learned lessons and insights about God, relationships, problems, temptations, and other aspects of life. These life lessons are precious to the people around you who are continually struggling with life’s issues, temptations and relationships. Sadly, we often don’t learn from what happens to us. While it is wise to learn from experience, it is even wiser to learn from the experiences of others.

There isn’t enough time to learn everything by trial and error. We can learn by the life lessons of one another. I have found it helpful to keep a journal of the spiritual lessons I’ve learned. This exercise isn’t intended to be a daily diary but a simple recording of the major lessons that I have learned. And the important part is to be then brave enough to share them with others.

Look at your life and see what lessons you can extract that will be helpful to others. Ask yourself what God has taught you from depression, disappointment, failure, illness, lack of money, pain, sorrow, or waiting. What has God taught you from your family, your ecclesia, or even your critics?

The Gospel

Your life story also contains the gospel. This part might even be the most important element of your life story because it’s a big component of why you are the way you are. This message is what we want to share with the people we meet.

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT).

The good news of the gospel is that we have learned we can have faith in God’s grace to save us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Our sins are forgiven. We have been given a place in God’s Kingdom. We are compelled, inspired, and motivated to share this good news with as many people as we can. 

“This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life.’” (Romans 1:17 NLT).

Our Life Story has to include this amazing and wonderful message. This news is the hope that carries us through the dark times. The knowledge of the grace that we have been given motivates us to serve God.

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.” (2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV).

Think about the fact that God loved the person sitting next to you so much that He allowed His only Son to die so that person might live. That has to motivate you to reach beyond your comfort zone and say something meaningful to that person. God wants everyone to be saved. He doesn’t want anyone to be lost. As long as you know one person who hasn’t come to the Truth, you must keep praying for them and sharing the good news with them.

Sometimes, you hear people complaining that their ecclesia doesn’t have any good pamphlets to give to people who are interested. 

God has prepared something much better: Your life story!

Jeff Gelineau,
Simi Hills Ecclesia, CA


Note: My thoughts on this topic were dramatically affected in 2002 when I read The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren. I’m thankful for what I’ve learned from this book and most of the thoughts in this article are things I remember from that powerful and helpful book. I highly recommend it to you.

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