| By Pete Burak

Tips for Living as a Missionary Disciple

More often than we should, my wife and I binge on social media videos before going to bed. A 9:30 p.m. “early” bedtime becomes an 11 p.m. “what-were-we-thinking?” time. They’re generally funny, informative or just plain goofy, but it’s amazing how often I’ll mention one of our favorites to a friend and they will have seen it too. However, when they haven’t seen it, what joy it is to be the first to show them the video with the screaming goat. It struck me the other day after one such encounter: Why is the good news of a viral video so easy to share while the Good News of Jesus Christ so difficult?

As we continue to examine what it means to live as a missionary disciple, here are some reminders as we wrestle with both the challenge and joyful opportunity to share the Gospel with others.

You can’t share Jesus joyfully, unless you know Jesus joyfully

Explaining a video you haven’t seen isn’t easy or compelling, but describing one that made you laugh until it hurt, that’s fun. Our personal, real, intimate, daily, constant, all-consuming relationship with Jesus precedes and sustains any efforts to share him with others. A hard but good question to ask yourself is, “Do I really know him, if I don’t want to help others know him too?”

A life of missionary discipleship is both internal and external

Our thoughts, desires and interior dispositions are transformed by the Holy Spirit, but that purification also affects our external behavior. When St. Paul describes the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians, chp. 5, he does not refer to them as a hidden, purely personal, byproduct of our life with the Lord. How can you be loving, patient and kind unless other people experience you that way?

Missionary disciples bear fruit where they are planted

While we may harbor concern for places and people far and wide, the vast majority of us are called to serve, transform and evangelize our families, cities, neighborhoods, workplaces, gyms – in other words, we are called to share the Good News with those with whom we already have a relationship. As you embrace your call to share the Gospel, don’t ignore the people who already like you and who are predisposed to listen to your perspective.

Keep your message simple, offer your story and focus on Jesus

People need to know why you believe, not necessarily a full explanation of every dogma the Church teaches. Jesus is your friend, so introduce him to your other friends. They expect you to share the latest cat video, so don’t hesitate to share Jesus too.

Pete Burak is the director of i.d.9:16, the young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries. He has a master’s degree in theology and is a frequent speaker on evangelization and discipleship.

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