Kansas Church Uses ‘My Hope’ to Reach Out Amidst Internal Crisis

By   •   November 5, 2014

Billy Graham
"Heaven," the newest video from My Hope with Billy Graham, features a never-before-seen message from Mr. Graham, delivered from his home in the mountains of North Carolina.

When the staff at First Baptist Church of Augusta, 20 miles east of Wichita, Kansas, first heard about My Hope with Billy Graham, the enthusiasm was instantaneous.

“When I met with them at the initial meeting, I just poured my heart out and told them the value of My Hope and these programs—these opportunities,” said Joyce Williams, the Kansas area coordinator for this year’s My Hope evangelistic outreach.

“We were all kind of weeping,” Williams said. “They just got it. They saw the potential, and they got it.”

Led by its senior pastor, the congregation decided to partner with other local churches to rent the 633-seat Augusta Historic Theatre for a free showing of Heaven, the newest My Hope video, which launches Nov. 7. It would be a chance to share the hope of Christ with the community; everyone would be welcome.

And then came a major setback.

The church’s senior pastor resigned suddenly, leaving the remaining staff with a decision to make—put ministry on hold or push forward.

“What’s the old saying? Smite the shepherd and the flock will flee,” Williams said, paraphrasing Zechariah 13:7. “This flock is not fleeing.”

Even though it would have been easier to put the brakes on evangelism and focus inward until a new pastor was found, the church decided to move ahead with plans to show Heaven at the theatre on Nov. 9.

“They just feel like this could be a uniting ministry for their church,” Williams said. “They want to use this tool to reach out, but also to unify and solidify the core that still remains.”

“It’s amazing how a church that’s going through a crisis can use My Hope as a vehicle to stay alive and to stay focused on the main mission of the church,” said Eliu Camacho, the My Hope coordinator for the south central region of the U.S.

A pastor and retired army major who’s been heavily involved in reaching the Spanish-speaking community in Texas and beyond, Camacho is in charge of six states from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains.

Thousands of churches in the region are participating in My Hope, and some have seen results before they’ve even held their outreach events. A Louisiana pastor, for example, passed out My Hope prayer cards one Sunday as he talked about evangelism and future plans to show Heaven.

“Four people responded in that service to receive Christ,” Camacho said. “No video was shown. All he was doing was explaining the importance of the prayer cards and of prayer and having a relationship with Christ. And people responded. They were baptized the following Sunday.”

At another church in Diboll, Texas, a young woman accepted Christ while the church was in the process of training counselors for a My Hope event.

Encouraged by such early responses, Camacho and his team are excited to see what will happen when people watch Heaven (El Cielo in Spanish) and hear the Gospel from Billy Graham and two individuals who have been forced to face the reality of life after death.

“We are praying, fasting and believing for a great harvest,” Joyce Williams said. “I love Billy Graham’s words. These are some of his final words; we all know that. And only God knows what the harvest could be.”

Get your church involved in My Hope.

Order your free copy of Heaven.

Order your free copy of El Cielo.