Florida Baptists prep for ‘My Hope’ with Billy Graham
Contemporary vids draw friends & neighbors to strong Gospel message
Apr 16, 2013
By JONI B. HANNIGAN
Managing Editor

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)–“My Hope for America” with Billy Graham won’t hope to fill a stadium or pack a park. Instead, it hopes to energize Christians across the U.S. and Canada to invite friends and neighbors to their homes to view a 30-minute video that can change their life forever.

The week of Billy Graham’s 95th birthday—Nov. 7, 2013—is the target date for what could be Billy Graham’s final call to America to turn to God, marking the biggest evangelistic undertaking in the 60-plus year history of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The method will change, and that’s what My Hope training is about, but the message stays the same.

It’s no gimmick and the stakes have never been higher, according to Ted Traylor, senior pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola.

“Without a doubt, America has moved miles away from where it was and the Christian message is just simply not in vogue as it was some 30-40 years ago,” Traylor told Florida Baptist Witness. “We’ve almost lost the Gospel and what it means – in our culture. “

Traylor, whose church will offer My Hope training April 25, said he appreciates how the training is focused on individuals taking the Gospel to their neighbors.

“It’s a great time to bring the Gospel into the darkness and let the light shine in the darkness,” Traylor said. “That’s what the GCR (Great Commission Resurgence) talked about doing, and we’re doing it—shining the light into the darkness.”

In addition, Traylor said “My Hope America” with Billy Graham honors the great evangelist who preached his first sermon Easter Sunday 1937 at Bostwick Baptist Church near Palatka.

“It honors one of our great evangelists, one of our great Southern Baptists, Dr. Graham, in the twilight of his life and ministry,” Traylor said. “It’s a great way to honor him and raise up the word evangelist which is sometimes overlooked—or looked on with disdain.”

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is joining with local churches to host informational meetings across the state in the coming weeks and months. For more information about where the training sessions are in Florida, go online to http://myhopewithbillygraham.org/ or call 1-877-7MY-HOPE to register for the free sessions.

The events include vision sessions, where participants can learn more about the project and receive key materials, and discipleship overviews, helping them learn how to make the most of this opportunity in their churches and community.

David Burton, lead strategist of evangelism for the Florida Baptist Convention, urges every pastor and lay person in Florida to take part in the training he said requires no memorization of outlines or long presentations.

“It’s a simple approach to sharing the Good News of Christ from your very own living room,” Burton told the Witness.

The training for My Hope with Billy Graham is also being offered online.  During the week of Nov. 3-Nov. 9, “Matthews” (Matthew invited his friends to his home to meet Jesus) will have the opportunity to invite family, friends and neighbors over to their home or some other relaxed venue to watch the 30-minute program with a clear Gospel presentation and give an invitation to receive Christ. This My Hope with Billy Graham program will be available via DVD, streaming video, and on other media platforms, as well as a nationally televised broadcast on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 — Mr. Graham’s 95th birthday.

According to a news release, “My Hope” began in 2002 when Franklin Graham asked the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to take the Gospel country by country around the world where his father, Billy Graham, could no longer physically travel. It began in four countries in Central America. Ten years and 57 countries later, “My Hope America” has now become a movement spreading across the United States into cities and towns, churches and homes of Christians who have a desire to share their faith with others in their lives.

“My Hope America” encourages participants to open their doors and lives to people they already know—engaging in meaningful conversation and connections as a catalyst for sharing the hope and love found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. While one-on-one conversations will be the root of this relationship evangelism outreach, messages used in reinforcing the Gospel will be available in a wide range of formats including TV, radio, DVD and Internet.

For more information on the My Hope America with Billy Graham, including additional meeting dates across the country, news articles and evangelism resources, visit www.MyHopewithBillyGraham.org.

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