What Can This Netflix Documentary Teach Us About Evangelism?

By Fin Sheridan

I’m a big documentary fan. Whether it’s nature, business, food, sports, I love learning. So, the other day, when I settle down to watch “Minimalism: A Documentary on the Important Things“, I was in my happy place.

In the documentary, at 6mins 41 seconds, we meet Ryan Nicodemus (an appropriately biblical surname). Ryan, with his incredible Tarzan hair,  tells us a story:

“I noticed something different about my best friend of 20 something years- Josh – he seemed happy for the first time in a really long time. Like truly happy, ecstatic! But I didn’t understand why because we had both worked at the same corporation, we had both wasted our early 20’s climbing the corporate ladder together and he had been just as miserable as me.

So I did what any good best friend would do: I took him out to a really nice lunch (I think we went to Subway) and I sat him down and I asked him a question. Why the hell are you so happy?

He spent the next 20 minutes telling me about this thing called Minimalism.”

“He noticed the difference in his friend’s life and the most natural thing in the world was for him to ask about it.”

This encounter got me thinking. You see, although he didn’t mean it, I think Ryan just gave me the clearest picture of what evangelism should be like. We often buy into the lie that we need to do something dramatic or direct in order to tell people about Jesus but this wasn’t the case for Ryan: he noticed the difference in his friend’s life and the most natural thing in the world was for him to ask about it. The most natural thing for his friend to do was to answer his question.

I love this because I think it’s what we, as Christians, are meant to do. Live our lives in such a way that compels people around us to ask questions. Following Jesus is meant to change our actions, our responses, our attitudes and provoke others to ask “Why?”. If something like minimalism can get such a response from friends who have know each other for 20 years, how much more can the Gospel catch the attention of those around us?

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