- An experience that you enjoy.
- A desire to see others enjoy it as well.
- Someone with whom to share the experience.
As Christians, it is our privilege and joy to help Jesus "go viral." The fancy word for this is "evangelism"--spreading and sharing the Good News ("evangel") with others. We are God's messengers, sent to deliver the Good News that Jesus, by virtue of his Incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, has completed God's plan to save the world from its sin, reconcile all things to himself through Christ, and offer the hope of a New Heaven and New Earth to all who believe in Jesus, who reigns as Lord over all the universe.
The very first people to follow Jesus quickly helped him "go viral" in first century Palestine. Jesus called Andrew who was so impressed with Jesus, called his brother Peter to join him. Then Jesus called Philip, who was so impressed with Jesus, and so certain that Jesus was the long-expected Messiah, that he not only chose to follow him, but went to invite his friend, Nathanael, to do so as well.
When Philip found his friend Nathanael and told him that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, Nathanael was skeptical; nothing good had ever come from Nazareth, and besides, wasn't the Messiah supposed to come from Bethlehem.
At this point, we might expect Philip to start debating with Nathanael, to answer his objections, to persuade him that Jesus is the Messiah. But he doesn't do that. He instead invites Nathanael to "come and see" Jesus for himself.
When we share a video or experience or a song with someone, it's not up to us to make them like it and pass it on to others. We can't control their experience, and we can't make for certain that their experience will be the same as ours. They have to find the subject compelling enough to share. Likewise, we can't make people trust in Jesus. Only the power of the Holy Spirit acting on someone's heart can do that. It's simply our job to pass Jesus on to others, to share him with those who have not experienced his grace and love, to deliver the Good News about Jesus.
Evangelism is simply inviting others to "come and see" Jesus for themselves. To invite them to see him firsthand. To see for themselves what he is all about. How can we do that?
- Sharing our experience with Jesus. Perhaps you could share how you first came to faith in Jesus, or a time when Jesus helped you overcome a significant challenge in your life.
- Sharing the benefits of knowing Jesus. How has Jesus helped you? What are the joys of following him and of belonging to his Church? What blessings do you receive as a result of your faith in Christ?
- Demonstrating a changed life. How has Jesus changed you? Is your life and love for others a compelling demonstration of the power of Jesus to change people?
- Sharing the story of Jesus. Tell people about Jesus. Don't try to prove the Bible is 100% historically accurate or disprove other faiths and worldviews. We are simply sharing Jesus with others, and we can simply tell the story of Jesus: his prophesied coming, his Incarnation, his life and miracles and love for others, his atoning death, his resurrection from the dead, his ascension and reign over all things. We don't need to prove it true; we can depend on God to do his work on the heart of those who do not yet know Jesus.
We are simply inviting people to "come and see" Jesus. It is God who saves. It's just up to us to help Jesus "go viral."