There’s no wrong answer. But you can’t stay silent.
If you’ve heard about My Hope America with Billy Graham — the nationwide event aimed at reaching an entire country for Jesus — you may be wondering who, just exactly, is this outreach aimed at.
But one North Carolina megachurch pastor breaks it down in bite-size pieces.
Dr. John Munro — who leads the 5,000-plus member Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C. — has challenged his congregation to simply look at the people around them.
“Are there people in your family who don’t know Christ?” Munro asked.
“What about your next door neighbor?” he continued, not skipping a beat.
“What about this friend at school?”
“What about this person who works with you that you’ve been talking to?”
Munro is trying to cut through some of the fear of evangelism, as he tries to “equip, motivate and inspire” his congregation to share the Gospel.
After all, My Hope America is all about relationships and as Munro points out, a large portion of Calvary Church is already halfway there.
“Many in our congregation have great relationships with people in their neighborhood or at work,” he said, “so it’s not starting from scratch.”
But it does take action.
And the biggest step is committing to being a host “Matthew” for My Hope America — a unique opportunity for an entire country to hear Billy Graham share his heart during the week of his 95th birthday — November 7.
The 30-minute My Hope America video presentation, which will be availaible via TV, Internet or DVD to all “Matthews” —features music, culturally relevant life-changing stories and a Gospel message from Mr. Graham. Afterward, each “Matthew” host will share a brief testimony and invites guests to follow Jesus.
My Hope hosts are called “Matthews” after the apostle in the New Testament, who was so eager for his friends to meet Jesus that he threw a dinner party and invited them over.
And hundreds of churches like Calvary have already dedicated a morning service as “Matthew Sunday,” which ranges from showing brief My Hope videos to explaining the project from the pulpit to preaching entire sermons on relationship evangelism to handing out a My Hope brochure in every bulletin.
The brochure, colorful and well-made, is nothing special on its own—although it contains the most important part of the entire project.
Ten blank lines on the back.
“Matthews” are encouraged to start filling in these 10 lines with names of people around them who need Jesus in their life. Some “Matthews” may run out of lines, which may inspire them to consult with their November social calendars even earlier about getting folks together for multiple My Hope America viewing parties in their living room.
“For those who know Christ as their personal Savior, we want them out in the marketplace, the schools, wherever they work, to be sharing their faith,” Munro said. “The mission of Calvary Church is being and making authentic followers of Jesus Christ.
“So My Hope captures our mission 100 percent.”
For Munro, My Hope was a no-brainer for his church on many levels. Always looking for ways to encourage evangelism, he feels there is a sense of urgency with My Hope that may help the idea of evangelism “crystalize” in the hearts of his church.
“With a large church, we have a lot of things going on, a lot of different ministries,” he said. “But we want the whole church to get behind it and pray for it.”
And the fact that Calvary Church is in the heart of Charlotte, just a few miles from where Billy Graham grew up, gives My Hope a little added significance.
“Billy Graham has great name recognition, especially here in Charlotte,” said Munro, whose church is one of more than 750 in the state of North Carolina to get involved with My Hope America. “His father (William Franklin Graham) was one of the founding elders of Calvary Church (in 1939).”
And while Billy Graham has reached millions with the Gospel, preaching in more than 185 countries, My Hope America is constructed to cover an expansive area with the Good News on a smaller scale.
After all, My Hope, which has been successful in places like India and Brazil along with 55 other countries, is all about relationships. And as Munro points out, a large portion of Calvary Church is already halfway there.
Forget that it’s a nationwide outreach, said Munro. Or even a citywide crusade.
“In real terms, if we think we’re going to present this message to all of Charlotte, it’s intimidating,” he said. “But each person has a sphere of influence. And Christ wants us to accept responsibility. We can do it.”
That one neighbor. That friend at the gym. That extended relative.
And really, that’s the answer to the question — who is My Hope America for?
In some cases, it’s the person right in front of you.