November 2013 – On November 7, Billy Graham celebrates his 95th birthday and he is inviting the whole country to join in through the special outreach of My Hope America. With America as the 58th country to hold a My Hope program, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has high expectations for the event, as Preston Parrish, vice president of BGEA’s My Hope, told AFA Journal in a recent interview.
AFA Journal: What will My Hope America be like?
Preston Parrish: This is the largest undertaking the BGEA has ever done in North America. It involves prayer, mobilization of churches, training of Christians to share the gospel, follow-up in local churches and Mr. Graham preaching the gospel on television.
As Mr. Graham approaches his 95th birthday, he has just completed videotaping a new program, providing fresh comments about the gospel, interwoven with very powerful stories about how God has transformed lives. The intention has been to produce a new program featuring Billy Graham that’s more conversational, more relational, and which Christians can invite others to come and view in their homes.
AFAJ: How can people participate?
PP: Rather than Christians coming together in a stadium, they will come together in hundreds of thousands of homes. As of September, there were already 175,000 people registered to join in opening their homes, and with an average of six people per home as we’ve seen with My Hope around the world, you’re talking about over a million people.
The program will be on television across the nation, online for download and on DVD. My Hope America is free to participate in – a gift from Billy Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to the churches and Christians of America.
AFAJ: What is the evangelistic principle applied in My Hope?
PP: The whole idea of using our homes for evangelism comes right out of the New Testament. When Matthew the tax collector encountered Christ, the Scripture tells us he went home, threw a party and invited his friends so that they could meet the one who had transformed him. That’s what we’re asking of Christians all across North America – to be in a sense Matthews, who use their homes and hospitality to bring in people who need to meet the Lord. (See “More than Martha,” a feature on Christian hospitality, in AFA Journal, 9/13.)
AFA: What will be the long-term impact?
PP: Obviously, we’re going to have a lot of people come to faith in Christ. When people make decisions for Christ, we encourage the use of contact cards so the local church can follow up, and also we have that record.
Furthermore, we hope individuals and churches will feel more equipped to share the gospel, resulting in a change in the paradigm of how American Christians think about evangelism. Research shows very few Christians share the gospel or lead somebody to faith in Christ. That needs to change; and through My Hope, people will understand that evangelism is something that can be done every day in the context of our relationships, and that’s going to be a great step forward for the gospel in America.
To host a My Hope group in your home, register and train at myhopewithbillygraham.org.
Read Billy Graham’s The Reason for My Hope.
Watch Billy, a biographical film on Dr. Graham’s life, available at afastore.afa.net.