September 13, 2012
Every morning when Gary stops at his corner Starbucks, he takes time to engage the barista in conversation, listening to the young man lament about his nonexistent love life.
A few blocks away, his wife Sarah is talking to their daughter’s soccer coach who is struggling to care for her elderly mother and two young kids.
Later that night, Gary and Sarah pray for these two people and commit to invite them to their home in early November 2013 for dinner and a broadcast featuring a new Gospel presentation from Billy Graham, classic footage, riveting testimonies and special music.
Known as My Hope with Billy Graham, the broadcast is just one part of an effort comprised of prayer, training for evangelism, hospitality and follow-up by local churches.
The very first step is relational development. “Real life sharing and friendship-building is exactly what needs to be happening right now at the grassroots level all across our nation,” said Preston Parrish, vice president of My Hope with Billy Graham.
My Hope with Billy Graham began over a decade ago as an evangelistic strategy in Latin America, then in places like Russia, India, Africa and most recently, Europe.
“We began to see the Lord giving a great evangelistic harvest,” said Parrish. “Typically in a home, we would see two or three individuals come to faith in Christ. As we’ve done this now in more than 57 countries, we have seen about four-and-a-half million home groups come to pass, and we have seen more than 10 million recorded decisions for Jesus Christ around the world.”
As BGEA entered 2012 and began looking at ministry opportunities and priorities, Billy Graham and Franklin Graham felt that this would be a strategic time to implement My Hope with Billy Graham here in the United States and Canada.
“We are looking forward to the culmination of the project in November of 2013 in coordination with Mr. Graham’s 95th birthday,” said Parrish. “People are saying that the time is right and the strategy is valid.”
One large church in Atlanta told Parrish that “My Hope is the catalyst we need for evangelism in the relationships of our church members.”
The first thing you can do is visit myhopewithbillygraham.org and register. This will get you in the communications stream, which is very important at this time.
“We are urging people to get involved right away,” said Parrish.
Next you should identify by name the individuals you know—family members, neighbors, co-workers, friends—who need a relationship with Jesus Christ and begin praying for them.
“Prayer is the foundation of this effort as it is of all evangelistic efforts,” said Parrish. “We, as believers in Jesus Christ, need to present people and their needs to God so that He will be working in their hearts and lives to draw them to Himself. Not only that, but He will prepare us to be His instruments in their lives.”
The My Hope team has already seen that as individuals become involved in praying intentionally, wonderful things are starting to happen. According to Parrish: “Doors of relational opportunity are opening; doors for sharing personal testimonies are opening; doors for opportunities to do things together are opening.”
Parish added, “We pray that the Lord of the harvest will raise up laborers –individual Christians in churches—who will begin now planting Gospel seeds in the hearts and lives of people they know who need to meet Jesus Christ.”
The team hopes this effort will change a common mindset among Christians that evangelism is something done every so often in a large stadium. “What would happen if, all across the nation, every week and every month, people used their homes as centers of witness and evangelism with their neighbors?” asked Parrish.
“What would happen if the communication of the Gospel never really stopped—it just happened all the time?”
Parish thinks we could see an enormous spiritual impact across our land: “We are hoping and praying that Christians and churches across the land will catch the vision.”
Here is what you can do now: