Today, it is extremely critical that every born again believer in Jesus Christ be literate of the distinction between evangelism and giving personal testimony (better known as witnessing).
The definition of witnessing is to testify to one’s religious convictions. This usually takes the form of explaining to someone what the Lord Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit or the Father have done in one’s life or in one’s circumstances. This is witnessing to the goodness of the Lord or the deliverance one experienced from the hand of the Lord. It is testimony that affirms the presence of the Lord in one’s life and how that has caused changes in one’s behaviors, attitudes, thoughts, etc. It acts as an “advertisement” so to speak to the one hearing the testimony. It sturs awe, amazement, hope, anticipation, and desire in the hearer to seek the Lord for themselves. “If He can do it for me, He will surely do it for you”.
The definition of evangelizing is to preach the gospel to. This pertains to telling someone specifically about Jesus Christ – not you; His mission, purpose, life, death, burial, resurrection and provision of eternal salvation. It is the gospel message that convicts, soften hearts, brings contrition and repentance. It is through the gospel message that one understands how to secure eternal forgiveness and eternal life. So remember to ask yourself the next time you are having a discussion with an unbeliever if you are witnessing or evangelizing. Both are beneficial but they are not synonymous. Remember that it is only through Jesus Christ that one is saved – not through your personal testimony.