Friday, September 10, 2021

Write a Powerful Testimony Using These 5 Elements

by Joshua J. Masters @JoshuaJMasters

Writers often bare the depths of their souls in the pages of their work. Every broken character, every tension-filled moment, each non-fiction revelation whispers our life experiences. 

Many authors prefer to keep their own stories hidden beneath the protective veil of another character’s words. But sometimes, the most powerful story is not the one we’ve crafted, but the story of restoration God’s written in our personal lives.

Writing our testimony is a great writing exercise, but it also prepares us to share our story—maybe not under the unforgiving, burning lights of a stage, but certainly when God places someone in front of us who can identify with our story.

Even skilled writers can find it daunting to write their own story because it requires us to write with an emotion-filled objectivity we rarely use. That sounds like a contradiction, emotion-filled objectivity, but that’s why this exercise can feel so overwhelming. 

As a Celebrate Recovery pastor, I’ve helped many of people prepare and edit their testimonies.

They all believe two lies.
  1. Their testimony will help no one.
  2. Sharing their secrets will be devastating.
The opposite is true. Every testimony is the story of God’s victory, so they always help others—and sharing their past always sets them free from the cage of those memories.

Whether it’s Celebrate Recovery or some other ministry program, all testimony outlines have the same basic structure: who you were before Christ, your introduction to Christ, how Christ changed your life, and the encouragement others should find in your story.

But how do we weave that story together?


Always start with prayer—not a thirty-second nod before you start typing, but a dedicated time to seek God as you ask Him these questions:
  • What aspects of my life and restoration do You want me to focus on in this piece?
  • What passages and verses do You want me to reflect on? Which ones did You use to transform me?
  • What part of my past are You asking me to be more transparent about?
  • What secrets are You asking me to confess?
  • Would you remind me of the miraculous things You’ve done to intervene in my life?
  • Would you remind me what areas of my life You’re still working on?
As you ask these questions, it may be helpful to journal your time with God. Then choose one area of your story to focus on in your testimony. You’re not writing a memoir, so you can’t cover every aspect of your past or spiritual journey. Pick a particular area God has transformed in your life and channel everything through that lens.

You may write multiple testimonies. For example, my primary testimony is about how I tried to run away from God’s calling in my life. But I have a second testimony that specifically deals with the terrible financial decisions I made and how pursuing a healing relationship with Christ led to a debt-free life.

Several focused testimonies are better than one long monologue about everything that’s happened in your life.

Are you ready to get started? 

Here are five elements of a powerful testimony:

A tale of redemption is only as powerful as its transparency about the life lived before the redemption. Many Christians want to sugar-coat their old lives, but others find the hope of the Gospel in what He rescued us from. It’s vital that we’re honest about the mistakes, hurts, and suffering of our origin stories.

It’s also important that our old lives don’t dominate the story. After all, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says we’re not that personal anymore, right? So, don’t let this section of your testimony overshadow the rest of your written witness. Allow the five elements to remain balanced with a greater focus on parts 3 and 4 below.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to write this section:
  • What were my greatest stumbling blocks before I met Christ?
  • What did I think of God, myself, and others?
  • How did my past hurts affect my behavior?
  • Who were the positive influences in my life and how did I respond to them?
  • How did the circumstances of my life affect my relationships?
  • How did unforgiveness keep me trapped?
  • What was my lowest point?
While this is often the shortest part of a testimony, it may be the most crucial. After reaching that low point in your life, what was the transitional moment that made you pursue a healing relationship with Christ?

Ask yourself:
  • What was the moment I realized I couldn’t do it on my own?
  • How did God intervene?
  • What were my first steps in changing course?
  • Who or what helped me turn to Christ?
  • How did my relationship with Christ begin?
Once you’ve shared your moment of rescue, it’s time to share the larger healing process. Theologians call this sanctification, but it’s really the story of your spiritual growth. If you’re looking to have a balanced testimony, make sure this section, along with the next, make up half of your testimony.

Ask yourself:
  • How has pursuing a healing relationship with Christ influenced my healing?
  • What programs or areas of the church were instrumental in my spiritual growth?
  • What was the most difficult thing to change in my life?
  • What Scriptures have had the most profound effect on my spiritual growth?
  • What did I experience with God that I hadn’t before?
  • In what ways did I resist God at this stage of my spiritual growth?
  • What changes did I see in myself and those around me?
If we’re still breathing, God’s not done with us (see Philippians 1:6). So, this section isn’t about presenting our lives as perfect. That will only discourage people. Instead, we want to be honest about the things God is still working on in our lives while pointing to the transformation Christ’s made in us despite our past, especially in the areas of struggle we described in the first section of our testimony. 

Ask yourself:
  • What is it like to be free from the stumbling blocks I wrote about earlier?
  • How has God transformed my thinking (Romans 12:2)?
  • How do I feel about myself now that I’ve experienced God’s love and forgiveness?
  • How has this transformation affected my relationship with God and others?
  • How did it feel to forgive those who hurt me?
  • How has my life changed?
  • How has my walk with Jesus changed?
  • What is God still working on in my life?
The fifth and final section of your testimony might not be more than two paragraphs, but it’s vital to use your story to encourage others. From a writing perspective, this is the powerful last scene that allows the reader (or listener) to realize they can experience the same hope in Christ you’ve found.

Here are some questions to consider:
  • How am I serving Christ in a way that would have been impossible in my old life?
  • What Scripture passage has been most encouraging to me?
  • What words of encouragement do I have for someone facing the same stumbling blocks?
  • What has my experience proved about the character of God?
  • What action step would I recommend to those who are struggling?
The most remarkable thing about writing your testimony is how God reveals even greater healing as His story in your life spills out onto the page. And there’s still more healing when you share it with someone face-to-face or in a small group.

After you’ve written your testimony, go back into your prayer closet and ask God to reveal where He wants you to share what He’s done in your life.


Joshua J. Masters is a pastor, author, and speaker with a heart for encouraging others. His book on prayer, AMERICAN PSALMS, was a Serious Writer’s Book of the Decade finalist. He’s been featured on CBN Television, HIS Radio, the Light Radio Network, and worked in the film industry as a member of SAG-AFTRA performer. He is a regular teacher and speaker for large groups. A self-proclaimed sci-fi and comic book geek, Josh loves film, pop culture and is known in some circles as THE BAT PASTOR. Joshua was raised in the White Mountains of New England and now serves as a pastor in South Carolina where he lives with his wife, Gina, and their miniature poodle, FRANKLIN THE PUP, who is the subject of his latest book. Josh would love to connect with you on his website, JOSHUAJMASTERS.COM


  1. Joshua, thank you for this message. Sharing our testimony can bring others to a closer relationship with God.

    1. Amen to that, Melissa. May God's story in our lives be used by Him to transform the lives of others.

  2. excellent post!
    Maureen Hager, author of Love's Bullet

  3. Thanks for such helpful guidance for this genre of writing.

  4. Very helpful guidance and advice for bearing our souls and to continue our own healing. Thanks, Joshua!

  5. Well thought-out and written, Joshua. You're getting better and better as a writer and shining light. Proud to know you.