I’m sure you can point to someone in your life who modeled the faith for you or who inspired you to take your faith more seriously. These witnesses of the faith can be powerful tools to help us encounter Christ in a profound way.
In 1 Peter 3:15 we read “Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within you. “
When we talk about sharing this hope, we can talk about sharing the Kerygma (the core proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel) and we can talk about what God has done in our own lives - our testimony. In order to share this hope effectively, it's important to first become more aware of what God has done for us by spending time in prayer - letting God reveal to us all the ways he has moved in our lives that maybe we didn't observe at the time.
Our testimony talks about what Christ has done for us specifically. We recognize the areas of our life where we have been broken and in most need of His healing love and we share how we’ve seen His grace and how our lives our different now
Testimony is different than apologetics, in that it highlights our experience of God, rather than more intellectual arguments for God and the Church. As you become more experienced as an evangelist, it’s important to recognize that different people will have different obstacles to encountering Christ, depending where they might be on their faith journey. Some moments might call for intellectual arguments, others will call for an authentic witness of what God has meant to you.
A model testimony
One of the most famous “testimonies” of all time is St. Augustine’s confessions. St. Augustine was a brilliant teacher of the faith - one of the important doctors of the Church. While he has many famous works, perhaps his most famous is the story of his own journey to becoming a practicing Catholic. While St. Augustine was learning about the faith for many years he began to be intellectually convinced of its truth, but he still would not commit to Christianity. Talking about the Catholic faith he said “I had found a precious pearl, worth buying at the cost of all I had; but I went on hesitating” (Confessions, Book 8.2). He still struggled with his worldly addictions and could not overcome them to come to the faith.
While he had many Christian friends and influences, it was only after hearing the stories of others living their faith that he came to a conversion. First he heard the story of Victorinus - who like him was a philosopher, who struggled with the faith, but eventually converted. Then he heard the story of his friend Ponticianus, who told him of the conversion of some of his dear friends when they read the story of St. Anthony of Egypt. This story overwhelmed St. Augustine and his heart was convinced that he needed to repent. Even though he knew intellectually for years what he needed to do (he had even prayed previously “Lord give me chastity, but not yet”), it was in hearing the testimony of others that his own heart was finally stirred -not just his mind as previously.
In his message for World Communication Day for 2020, Pope Francis chose to share about the power of stories:
“Human beings are storytellers. From childhood we hunger for stories just as we hunger for food. Stories influence our lives, whether in the form of fairy tales, novels, films, songs, news, even if we do not always realize it. Often we decide what is right or wrong based on characters and stories we have made our own. Stories leave their mark on us; they shape our convictions and our behavior. They can help us understand and communicate who we are.”
Looking for more resources on how to share your testimony?
An Indispensable Tool OfAn Indispensable Tool Of An Evangelist: How To Give Your Testimony An Evangelist: How To Give Your Testimony - Catholic Missionary Disciples
How to Give Your Testimony - Every Knee Shall Bow (Podcast)