My Hope, America
by Daniel Ausbun
Early in Billy Graham’s ministry he arrived at a small town in south Coweta County to preach at a small white church.
When he arrived, he wanted to mail a letter home to Ruth in North Carolina. There was a little boy named Buddy riding his bike near the church. Reverend Graham asked Buddy where the post office was. After the boy told him, Graham thanked him and said, “If you’ll come to church this evening, you can hear me telling everyone how to get to heaven.” “I don’t think I’ll be there,” Buddy said. “You don’t even know your way to the post office.”
On Nov. 7 Evangelist Billy Graham will turn 95-years-old. During the second week of November, more than 22,000 churches are participating in "My Hope America with Billy Graham," reaching out with the love and Good News of Christ in homes across the country. Graham believes God has given him one last message to preach to America, and “My Hope” is that message.
Graham has preached the Gospel to more people face-to-face than anyone in history. Over the past 12 years, “My Hope” has been used in 57 countries with over 10,000 people trusting in Christ as their Savior. The “My Hope America” crusade is different than traditional stadium crusades Graham has hosted since the 1940s.
“My Hope” is based on Jesus' call to Matthew, and Matthew's desire to introduce his friends to Jesus (Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32). Patterned after this Gospel example, the five “My Hope” steps include:
• Look Around: Build a spiritual concern for those around you who need Christ; make a short list of family, friends and neighbors who need Jesus.
• Look Up: Pray every day for each name on your list.
• Look Out: Think of ways to build relationships with each person.
• Look Forward: Invite them to your home or other venue.
• Look After: Make the commitment and a follow-up plan for new believers so they become lifelong disciples of Jesus.
Where to host a “My Hope America” “Matthew Party”:
• Homes. Offer hospitality and food, and people will come to your home to participate in “My Hope.” After the video, a Christian should give a short salvation testimony. After the video and testimony, provide the opportunity for people to receive Christ and begin to follow Him.
• Youth groups. Young people like to hang out together. Food, fun and friendship — with fervent prayer — are steps for bringing young people to Christ. These meetings can be held in homes, church buildings or other gathering places. At the youth gathering, show a “My Hope America” video, have one or two young people prepared to give their brief testimony, then give a clear invitation and lead in prayer to receive Christ.
The "price of admission" can be that each Christian youth bring a non-believing friend with them
• Small group meetings. A church's discipleship/small group ministry can study the “My Hope America” materials and train group leaders so that each group begins to pray for and reach out to family, friends and neighbors. Group members can bring the people they're praying for to a "Matthew Party," where a “My Hope America” video is shown and a salvation testimony is given followed by an invitation and prayer to receive Christ.
• Coffee houses, parks, informal gatherings. “My Hope America” fits well into personal evangelism of an informal style. Videos can be shown on a smart phone or tablet for two or three friends as you drink coffee or sit at the park. This will open a door for a conversation about faith. You can give your salvation testimony and ask if they want to pray to receive Christ.
Next month America has a nationwide revival planned. Our country’s greatest need is Christ.
Graham says of our country, "My heart aches for America and its deceived people. The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance.”
For more information, visit www.myhopewithbillygraham.org.