Without beginning, you can’t reach the end.
Garrison Keillor once said we don’t know how to tell a story until after we’ve told it a dozen times. That was saying I must start somewhere, allowing myself to do poorly so often that I can soon do very well.
Being a novice is normal.
As a novice salesman working on commission, I had a long list of customers that I called upon to sell supplies. When a new product became available, how could I best encourage them to buy and help support my family? I didn’t want to mess up a good opportunity with a bad pitch. Here’s what I did: Start with a few special customers who would forgive my mess-ups. Soon, I was ready for the presentations that mattered most.
Every Christian has a life-changing story.
Your story must be told if you are to heed Jesus’ call to testify about him on Earth so he will testify about you in Heaven (Matthew 10:32). The Bible says you should be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you (1 Peter 3:15).
Practice telling the short version of your story.
When your audience knows you well, you’re forgiven for your boredom. But if you want to be heard by strangers, find a way for your fire to light theirs. Make a great point with your story, starting with a problem that has a questionable outcome.
Find the meat of your story in these simple questions:
- Who was I in the beginning?
- What happened to force a change?
- When and where did this take place?
- What obstacle did I face?
- How was God involved?
- What did I learn, and who did I become?
Make your answers brief.
In a few short sentences and paragraphs, write a simple draft of your story that shows one way that God changed your life. Now you can tell your friends in only a few minutes. After you’ve told it a dozen times, you’ll know what approach works best, what interests people and what doesn’t. Then you’re ready to tell your story to strangers, where it will make the most difference.
If anyone publicly acknowledges me before men, I will publicly acknowledge him before my Father in Heaven. But anyone who denies me before men, I will deny before my Father in Heaven. — Matthew 10:32–33