August 30, 2013
By Kristy Etheridge
From the Hawaiian Islands to the Jersey Shore, My Hope America with Billy Graham has grown to include more than 20,000 churches in the United States.
That’s about one in every 16 churches in America.
The goal of the nationwide Christian outreach is to come alongside believers and help them share their faith with friends, family and neighbors.
This isn’t “drive-by” evangelism; My Hope is about taking the time and care to build authentic relationships with people who haven’t had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.
“From the outset, this has been a movement of prayer,” said Preston Parrish, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s vice president of My Hope.
For more than a year, the BGEA has been praying for the Church in America to come together and intentionally reach out to those who are far from God. It’s a dream that tugs on Billy Graham’s heart daily.
Now, 10 weeks before Mr. Graham’s 95th birthday, it’s clear his dream is shared with thousands of other Americans who are praying for their unchurched friends, coworkers and relatives.
“We are thrilled at how God is answering prayer and stirring the hearts of people across the nation,” Parrish said. “He’s stirring them to become intentional and purposeful about reaching out to others with the love and good news of Jesus Christ.”
The My Hope movement crosses political, cultural and denominational lines. It’s for every Bible-believing Christian who wants to share the Gospel, and it will be available in a number of languages including Spanish.
People who haven’t yet joined My Hope can still jump in.
“By all means, if you haven’t started doing so, think of the names of at least two or three friends, family members or coworkers who need to meet Jesus Christ and start praying for them,” Parrish said. “Then be sensitive to opportunities to share His love with them and share the difference Christ makes in your own life.”
Believers who register with My Hope are called “Matthews,” named after the disciple who threw a party in order to introduce his friends to Jesus. In November, the Matthews will open up their homes to the people they’ve been praying about.
So far, registered churches are anticipating more than 165,000 Matthew homes in the United States—or enough people to fill the Superdome more than two times.
“And that number is rising daily, really,” Parrish said.
Matthews are encouraged to be up front about why they’re inviting friends over for dinner or coffee. Once everyone is together, they can watch a powerful, half-hour video that weaves together preaching from Billy Graham with recent, true stories about people who have made decisions for Christ.
The video will be available on TV, DVD and streaming on the web. It’s meant to be a tool for Christians to share their faith, but the night shouldn’t end there. Matthews are encouraged to share their own testimonies in three minutes or less. Then, they can invite their friends to make a decision for Christ.
“We are eager for more churches and more individuals to get involved while there’s still time,” Parrish said. “It is going to be a great hour of decision in many hearts of people across our land.”
Those who wish to register themselves or their churches for the project can visit the My Hope website to get started. And everyone who signs up can be confident that they are not alone. Thousands of believers are praying for the Gospel to take hold—and for hope to spread like wildfire to those who need it most.