All over the world, people are talking about the coronavirus. If your friends are anything like mine, they talk about little else. It can be quite boring. But it also gives us a chance to work out how to bring up Jesus before we speak to them.

So how do you get from coronavirus to the gospel?

In his book, Intentional, Paul Williams suggests three simple steps to apply whenever you chat with your friends.

First, predict the conversation. In this case, it’ll probably be about the coronavirus. But you could be more specific. What do your friends think about the virus? Are they anxious about losing their job? Do they follow the news? Ask yourself: where is your conversation likely to go?

Second, plan to bring up Jesus. Whatever your friends like to discuss, Jesus has things to say about it. All we need to do is work out which would be best to share with them.

Let’s say your friend is worried about the pain people are suffering. How could you get from there to Jesus? One way would be to use Mark 4. You could say, ‘In one of the eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life, there’s a story where his disciples are in a storm.’ They ask Jesus, ‘Lord, don’t you care that we’re perishing?’ But Jesus rebukes the wind, and says “Peace! Be still!” And there was a great calm. He proved that only he can save us from death. The crucial question isn’t “Doesn’t he care?”, but, “Who is he?”

Of course, there’s plenty of other passages you could use, but the principle is the same. Work out what passage would speak to your friends’ interests and concerns, so you can bring it up in your conversation with them.

Finally, progress towards the cross. At the heart of the gospel is Jesus’ death and resurrection. So once you’ve brought the conversation to Jesus, try to get from Jesus to the cross.

Let’s go back to our example. How would you get from Mark 4 to the cross? One way would be to go from Jesus’ power over the sea to his power over death, and its ultimate proof in the resurrection. Another way would be to use the cross to show how much Jesus cares about fixing this broken world.

If all of that feels too hard, just try to talk to your friends about the Christian things you’ve been doing in lockdown. They might ask you about it, and then you’ll have a chance to share one of the passages you’ve been studying with them. You could also try asking questions. The more you want to know what your friends think, the more likely they are to ask you what you think.

Finally, remember to pray—for the courage to tell our friends about Jesus, and for God to open their ears to hear what he is saying to his world.