When Pastor Charles Kyker and the staff at Christ Church in Hickory, N.C., first watched “The Cross,” they knew the 30-minute video could be a powerful outreach tool for their church.
“Rev. Billy Graham does such a tremendous job,” Kyker said. “The DVD is well done—intertwining personal testimonies with Rev. Graham telling the Gospel message, talking about the centrality of the cross.”
With Easter around the corner, Kyker decided there was no better time to incorporate “The Cross” into the church’s weekend services. This month, Christ Church will join congregations all across North America by participating in My Hope with Billy Graham, with the goal of reaching the unchurched with the hope of Christ.
While some churches plan to show the My Hope video, “The Cross,” on Easter Sunday, Kyker decided to share it a week early, on April 12-13. He has spent the past month preparing his multi-site congregation for the event, through a sermon series called “What’s Your Story?”
He’s been encouraging Christ Church members to invest in relationships with friends, family and neighbors who don’t know Jesus. A few weeks ago, Kyker asked each member of the congregation to write down the names of five unchurched people on a postcard. The church prayed over the cards before mailing them home to serve as reminders to keep praying for those who don’t have the hope of Christ.
“One of our sayings is, ‘The more you talk to God about people, the more you will talk to people about God,’ ” Kyker said.
His congregation has been building relationships with people they encounter regularly, from next-door neighbors to local dry cleaners. It’s evangelism happening naturally, over time.
“We often think it’s on an airplane or in an elevator or something, but we forget that it’s the normalcy of life that produces the most fruit,” Kyker said.
During upcoming weekend services, he hopes to see many new faces at church, as members invite the people they’ve been praying about. Together, they’ll watch “The Cross,” which features the stories of singer Lacey Sturm and rapper Lecrae, both of whom experienced powerful transformations after they made decisions for Christ.
The video also features Billy Graham presenting the Gospel in a clear yet authoritative way before he gives an open invitation to accept Jesus.
“I really believe when Billy prays that prayer, a lot of folks are going to pray it in the silence of their hearts,” Kyker said. “I’ll follow up with, ‘Did you pray that prayer with Rev. Graham to receive Christ?’ And we’ll ask people to come forward. We’ll have people coming down just like you would at a Crusade.”
Trained lay pastors will pray with everyone who comes forward, before giving them a gift from the church, which will include the Gospel of John.
“And then the follow-up process is always paramount,” Kyker said. “Making sure people get information and that they’re invited to be part of a life group and part of the church. And if they were just visiting and they have another denomination of interest or whatever, then asking how we can help them find the right church.”
Kyker hopes the weekend services will just be the beginning of the My Hope Easter outreach. He’s encouraging church members to continue to talk about “The Cross” in their life groups and consider holding more My Hope gatherings this spring.
“It’s good for this time of year, because it’s cookout weather,” Kyker said. “You can invite neighbors and friends over and say, this is a powerful video with incredible stories.”
Click here to learn more about the My Hope Easter outreach, including how to share, order or download “The Cross.”