LAY WITNESS TALK GUIDE
The purpose of this
document is to help you become more familiar with what a Witness
Talk is, and isn't, and to help you feel comfortable in giving a
witness talk both within the Cursillo community and within your own
environments. Given below is some information on witness talks, and
how to give a good witness talk.
The Ultreya includes
a Witness Talk. (10-15 minutes)
Cursillo communities often have difficulty finding Cursillistas to
do Witness talks at Ultreyas, since people do not quite know what is
expected of them and what they could possibly have to say to the
gathered community. We are all capable and should be honored to be
called at any time to give witness of Christ in our lives. Speakers
at an Ultreya are meant to encourage their brothers and sisters in
Christ. It is a demonstration of the true meaning of the word
Ultreya "onward" "upward" - a cry of encouragement to all.
The witness is about Jesus Christ - how we live with Him and
how we are trying to bring others to know about Him in our daily
lives. It is not a testimonial about what God has done for
us, but a witness as to what we have done to introduce people
to Christ or to change environments for Christ with God's help. It
is about a recent experience and how through faith, study and action
we are trying to draw closer to Christ and bring others with us to
Him. It is also concrete and practical, describing how an action was
planned within an environment and what happened regardless of
whether or not it was an obvious or immediate success. In 5-10
minutes, you cannot say much, so make the point well and simply
relate an experience without more examples and details. You should
not over-prepare. It is a talk being shared with friends.
A Witness Talk therefore includes:
description of how you live your life with Christ and how you are
trying to bring others to know Him in the ordinary circumstances of
your life. How you love Jesus and how you reflect this love in the
relationships of those around you. Do others see your love of Christ
in your actions?
a recent living experience (preferably within the past 6 weeks) by
making just 1-2 points of what you are doing for Christ, how you
share Jesus in the normal circumstances of your life.
talk should be simple, sincere, concrete and practical:
the “who, what, where when and why” of your action. Tell what
happened as a result - both successes and failures. What did you
plan to do? What was the outcome? Success or disappointment?
A Witness Talk is NOT:
testimonial or a conversion story. The most frequent confusion
concerning a lay witness talk is the difference between a
"testimonial" and a "lay witness". A "testimonial" is what Jesus has
done FOR you. A "lay witness" is what you are doing FOR
life history or spiritual autobiography
teaching or sermon
emotional - sharing deep, raw, personal emotions is better shared
within a more personal setting with close friends or your spiritual
When preparing your witness talk, consider why you are sharing
something. Will this sharing inspire others to think of things they
can do to transform their environments for Christ? It is helpful
to consider these questions:
the talk show that Christ is in my life?
Jesus have an important place in the talk?
show how much I want to follow Him?
the experience I share give others the encouragement they need to
try to transform their environments for Christ?
other people readily identify with my situation?
All this may sound intimidating, but it is not! The lay witness is
not expected to be something spectacular or awe inspiring; but a
simple, faithful witness in the normal, ongoing process of life.
When we center our lives on Christ, believe in and use the Cursillo
method of personal, one-toone contact (make a friend, be a friend,
bring your friend to Christ, or closer to Christ) then we are all
doing something which can be used in a lay witness talk.
are your environments?
a recent (preferably within the past 6 weeks) living example of how
you planned to act to bring Christ into one of these environments?
did you do?
was the outcome?
How did this action help bring Christ into that environment?
Responding to a Witness Talk
As you know, at the end of the witness talk there is a period
devoted to responses from listeners.
1. Lay Response:
(2 to 3 minutes) There may be two types of responses: Affirmation
affirming response, the responder indicates that they understand the
Christian principle or method used by the lay witness speaker has
been effective for the speaker and that it might be something to try
in another environment. All lay witness talks can be affirmed.
confirming response, the responder indicates that s/he has had a
similar experience and has used the same principle or method of
apostolic action and, through experience, confirms that it works. A
confirming response can only be given if there has been a similar
experience. The main point to remember is that the response is not a
critique. Each response should be very brief, to allow time for
responses from the rest of the group.
2. Clergy Response: (5 minutes) Following the community
responses, the Spiritual Advisor is asked for a scriptural response
to the witness talk. The Spiritual Advisor (for the Ultreya) should
have heard or obtain a copy of the witness presentation prior to it
being given at the Ultreya. From the information, the Spiritual
Advisor should prepare a summation in light of the Gospel. This is
the point where the Spiritual Advisor attempts to unite the
evangelistic growth with the spiritual growth, reminding those
present that their lives and actions are indeed “Good News”