Developing an Effective Testimony
R. Richard Pustelniak
(Congregational Leader, Beit Avanim Chaiot)
August 18, 2017

What is a Personal Testimony?
The Characteristics of an Effective Testimony
The Personal Testimony Package

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Warning: The truths contained in this teaching are not for the faint of heart, or the lukewarm! You can be sure that haSatan (the adversary) will do all he can to keep you from understanding and applying the concepts and truths contained herein, but it is our prayer that every one who receives these notes will carefully consider and apply the contents to their lives.

The Characteristics of an Effective Testimony

A. Personal and Interesting

In order to be effective, a personal testimony must be, in fact, personal. It cannot come out of a can, or some kind of generally prepared book or other source. It must be "your" story, not the story of someone else. Folks will want to know what all this means to you, and what effect it has had on you, and your life. Remember that you have, in your possession, the greatest gift ever given, to anybody. Keep that in mind as you tell your "story." Bored hearers are soon lost. Humans have short attention spans, unless you are able to bring them along with you.

B. Clear, Concise, and Complete

A second requirement for effectiveness is that your personal testimony must be clear, concise, and complete. You must be able to convey the essential information in a comparatively brief amount of time, with little superfluous information. Superfluous information will tend to muddy the water and distract your hearer. Essentially, you need to be able to get to the point, without meandering, rambling or drifting. This is also essential at the time of delivery, in that you will need to be able to keep the conversation on course. If your testimony is effective, you will likely have later opportunities to share all kinds of things from your "life" testimonies, but do save them for later.

Next, you must be able to share your testimony in a language and manner that the hearer can readily understand. Christianese (religious jargon) should be eliminated as much as possible. Where it cannot be eliminated, terms must be defined, so understanding will be conveyed. You must meet your hearer where he or she is. They will likely be unwilling to come to where you are.

C. Conclusive

Next, your personal testimony must be conclusive. Sometimes, you will be sharing your testimony with fellow believers. They will want to know if, in fact, you are a fellow believer. Your understanding, acceptance, and conveyance of the Good News of Messiah must be clear and complete, or your fellows will not otherwise know what to make of you. This is especially true if you are seeking membership in a congregation. The leadership will want to know if you qualify for that membership.

D. Consistent and Credible

Sometimes, your personal testimony will need to be delivered in different parts, at different times, rather than all in one sitting. This is fine, as long as context can be retained, and all elements have been included once you have finished. In this way, your hearer will "accumulate" your personal testimony as your relationship develops.

You must always, first let the hearer know "who's" you are, so they will have the context necessary to interpret what they see and hear in you. My mentor put it this way, "When you enter a room for the first time, come in singing the song -- with the words. Thereafter, whenever you enter the room, hum the tune, when they hear the tune, they will remember the words." This means, let your hearers/observers know who's you are, and they will then know where your words and deeds are coming from.

Trust me. You will be carefully observed. Remember, your life and responses to it, are part of your testimony. Make sure that your life lines up with your words, or you will be dismissed, due to a lack of credibility.

E. Impeccably Honest

While it is very important to us, and to the Holy One, for those we care for to receive the gift that we have received, we must make certain that the Holy One can bless what we are saying and doing. The ends never justify the means is this regard. There must never be any hint of embellishment or deceit in our personal testimony. The consequences could be disastrous.

F. A Privilege Granted

Finally, remember that the opportunity to share your personal testimony is a privilege that you "earn." It is not a right. Your hearer must grant a hearing. You cannot effectively force that hearing. Ears that are closed, will not receive what is pressed upon them. Also, a question asked is not a request for the recitation of "War and Peace." Answer the question, clearly and concisely. Do not try to fill an extended shot glass with a fire hose. Be sensitive to your hearer, and to the Divine Presence within.


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