viral evangelism

Nobody ever sits around thinking, "I need to go on the internet and find a video of someone lipsyncing to a cheesy song in a foreign language", but people watch it because someone they know emailed it to them, or posted the link on facebook. The video spreads like a virus. Nobody logs onto facebook with the intention of  finding a group about turning the pillow over so that you can sleep on the cold side, or completing a quiz that determines which character in the Lion King you're most like. People join those groups or fill in those quizzes because it shows up that some of their friends did, and the more people that do it, the wider it spreads. 

We can tend to think of evangelism as a "task", a programme or strategy that we have to complete. We think that it's like politicians canvassing for votes - put out as many flyers as possible and present a good case in order to win votes. But it's more like viral videos. It's more likely to be "caught" from someone that's "infected". The news about Jesus spreads in the same way as a viral network  spreads the "charlie bit me" video.

We can see this happening in the early encounters that Jesus has with the disciples in John 1:35-51. John the Baptist points some of his disciples towards Jesus, they start following him. One of them is Andrew, who goes and brings his brother, Simon (Peter). Jesus tells Phillip to follow him, and then Phillip tells Nathanial. None of this includes carefully crafted gospel presentations, but it is people who have encountered Jesus wanting to bring others to meet Him. The gathering of the disciples was viral. 

A video becomes viral because of it’s content.  Why was the disciples evangelism viral? Because of the content. Jesus. Jesus says to Nathaniel that "you will see heaven opened, and the angels ascending and descending on the son of man" . This refers back to "Jacob's ladder"  (genesis 28). Jesus is the ladder, He bridges the gap between us and God. Jacob says “how awesome is this place... The lord was in this place... it’s the house of God... the gate of heaven” and sets up an altar. We don’t now go to a place to encounter God, the place where people encounter God is now in Jesus. The place where we find God is Jesus

People are trying to find and meet with God everywhere. They might not call it that but they do it. Some do it by taking drugs, some do it by communing with nature. Looking for the experience outside of yourself or feeling small and overwhelmed by the scale of nature is looking for God. Some think they find it in casual sex, some search for it by chasing the ideal family, house and car to feel security. The chase of the thrill or the need for security is looking for God. Some do it in cathedrals, some do it with a Ouija board, but trying to connect with something beyond themselves is looking for God. Everyone is looking for God, to find God, to encounter Him because we know deep down that our lives aren’t just chance but they’re part of something bigger than themselves – even the most die-hard atheist feels that. We can see reflections of God in some of those things, but the only way to find God is in Jesus. The only way to be found by God is through Jesus. And when we’ve understood that, it’s viral, it spreads.