This fall, I had the opportunity to do several youth worker trainings as part of the MyHope America with Billy Graham Campaign, and I got to connect with a lot of great people that are passionate about sharing Christ with their friends and neighbors.
One of the things that resonated with me about the campaign was the fact that it was something that could be easily pulled off in small-town, rural America. So this week I asked BGEA’s communications department to share what some of what God has done in rural ministry through the MyHope campaign. Here are some of the stories…
There are few activities for youth in the area around a 250-year-old 50-member church in rural New Hampshire. So the church youth group draws a crowd of 35-40 students. The pastor showed a My Hope program to the students and reported that three teens made decisions for Christ. The pastor also shared, “I graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and I’m proud to say that Rev. Graham’s signature adorns my diploma. I thought he might be interested in just how some of ‘his students’ are carrying on his legacy!” (12.9.13 9:33am)
– A Pennsylvania Church encouraged their youth to invite unchurched/unsaved friends to join them for a Sunday night service. About 15 guests and 25 regulars attended. Defining Moments was shown and nine students made first time decisions for Christ. The pastor said, “Thank you so much Billy Graham for giving us this opportunity and for providing such powerful materials! This will continue to produce fruit in the coming years.” (11/20/2013 5:25:01 PM – 456266)
– A Youth for Christ worker in Pennsylvania heads up a team that works in three high schools. Many of the students in this area come from broken homes and economic instability. Her team showed Defining Moments to 25 students and five made recommitment decisions for Christ. Two of these students are graduating in the Spring and going into the military. Another of the students who made decisions struggled with thoughts of suicide and cutting. (11.25.13 11:07am)
– Two high school girls planned a Frisbee game on the church soccer field followed by a showing of Defining Moments. The youth pastor spoke to the 70 students who attended. One young person made a first time decision for Christ and seven others made rededication decisions for Christ. (11/19/2013 10:26:15 AM – 225507)
– A North Carolina pastor commented on how My Hope America impacted his church by saying,
One great result from My Hope with Billy Graham was the 6 months of evangelistic focus within our church. The consistent preaching, teaching and training helped everyone in our church be more focused on the people around us and to be praying for specific unsaved people in our families, at our jobs and in our community. We average 90-110 per week in attendance at our church. We had three Matthew home meetings, with nine people attending out of the 67 invited. The dinner fellowship, video presentation, and personal testimonies resulted in focused, God-centered discussions and many tears. God was definitely there calling His children to relationship with Him. Our 4th event was at our church for our youth group. There were 35 youth in attendance, and we were blessed with 15 adult volunteers. After 30 minutes of music by a local band, we played “The Cross” video, then had two testimonies. Two young people who had been attending our youth group for about six weeks accepted Jesus.
(11.15.13 11:01:01 – 459842)
– The pastor of a small church in Wyoming reported that they showed My Hope America programs in three senior care centers and to men and women at a county jail. During one of the showings in the jail to a group of men, 14 of them stood together, held hands, and prayed to receive Christ together. The pastor stated that one of the men said he sees signs of an awakening in their jail. Two of the senior care centers have invited the church to come back. The church also had three Matthew parties with a few salvations and a youth event where four young people made first time decisions for Christ. (11.13.13 14:00:01 – 459244)
– Zion Hill Baptist Church held a My Hope event with the youth and had had 13 in attendance. There were two first time decisions made for Christ by teens at this event. Also, one man who attends this church is a Fire Department Chief and he wanted to show one of the My Hope America programs to his crew. Out of the 15 men who attended this event, three made first time decisions for Christ. [11/25/2013 11:55:33 AM – 15846]
– A teen from a church in New York was very impacted by My hope America. She was able to relate to Lacey Sturm’s story on such a personal level.
Wow, that was me at one point. I was that girl also crying myself to sleep no wanting to wake up, I felt like I had no purpose. I looked up Lacey’s music and found the song “The Reason,” from the My hope America album. The song really touched me. When we search and there is nothing that can satisfy us or when we don’t have a reason or hope fortomorrow, we turn to God, who created us for so much more. There is HOPE. Someone that gave their life for me and you! When we don’t have any more reasons to live, He will give us so many more… We were made to be His, we were made for Him. We were healed by His grace and made for His love…. Which is the CROSS; Him paying such a high price for our sins.
[12/5/2013 1:50:01 PM – 468689]
– A Georgia church held a My Hope America youth event to appeal to the unchurched audience. Over 100 students showed up to an outdoor tailgate where a live band played mainstream music and as a result, 12 decisions for Christ were made that night. My Hope America has changed this church and they have seen at least one new decision made for Christ each week since this event. [12/5/2013 2:04:00 PM – 82792]