The Viral Gospel

We have entered a transition phase of business marketing and advertising. There is this shift from interruption tactics to a more organic form. The day of mass TV ads, full-page magazine spreads, billboards, radio spots and direct mail seem to waning in effectives. Why?

· First, we are so inundated with these ads: we begin to block them.

· Second, many have become irritated with these unsolicited interruptions of our valuable time.

In short, the interruption marketing will actually shut the doors to the very people business are trying to reach.

Unfortunately, the church has as it’s mainstay of “witnessing”, interruption marketing. It is not uncommon to find well-intended believers knocking doors to invite strangers to some special event they are not interested in. Invite cards are handed out to total strangers in line at stores. I have witnessed strangers butting into another’s conversation, manipulating it to the heaven or hell issue. In each of these instances, the interruption implies that what I have is more important than what you are doing.

Then, those churches that do have some resources fill the highways with billboard telling me how they are the most personable church around (oxymoronic?). Then there are the radio and TV ads interrupting the programming: and we cannot forget the direct mail postcards that fill our mailboxes.

Now am I saying these are wrong? No. Just probably not effective. They are expensive and can potentially alienate the very ones we are attempting to reach.

The Answer – Go Viral

In the business world of today, the hot method today is the idea of word of mouth (mouse) or viral marketing. This is basically when one person is so enthralled with your product or idea; they willingly spread it to someone else by email, tweet, Facebook post, phone call or conversation over coffee. The idea is so relevant and easy to pass on, that people become the carriers of the “virus.”

The first church was the original viral marketers. They did not have billboards, mass mailings, invite cards, various ministries such as singles, youth, children. They did not have the mega buildings and phenomenal drama presentations. Yet they impacted their culture in such a dramatic way. How? Because they made the Good News (gospel) contagious.

They had something that was demonstratively real: they lived it out everyday of their lives. One contact with a “carrier” was so potentially infectious. The result was that the Lord added daily to the church.

What is the idea of The Viral Gospel?

First it must be virulent

Virulence is a virus’ ability to reproduce itself and affect changes in its host (simple def).

The Good News must be virulent in our lives; it must first be alive and active in us! This demonstration will make the gospel contagious – something that people want to grab

Second it must be contagious

The good news must be easy to spread. Unfortunately, the average church mindset is come to our service – here you can get saved, healed etc. The majority of events happen around the building we call church or a specific sponsored event by the church.

To be contagious, we must take the good news out of the host carrier and touch the lives of others. Each believer (carrier) needs to be instructed in his or her giftedness and empowered to demo the good news of our King and his kingdom. As they move through their daily lives, the potential to transmit the good news grows exponentially.

Third it must replicate

A virus spreads by injecting its DNA into a host cell: which then begins to reproduce the virus.

In the church, we call this discipleship. We must go beyond the focus of saved or lost, heaven or hell motivation and we must take the spiritual DNA we received at our new birth and through the power of His spirit, transfer it to others. The result is we are replicating the image and nature of Jesus in others.

The viral gospel – the powerful, life changing, replicating good news of Jesus is what will impact our communities. Are you a carrier?


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