Craig Macartney • Christian Week • April 05, 2013
OTTAWA, ON–Church leaders across Ontario are teaching their congregations how to share Christ using relationship evangelism linked to a popular Billy Graham event.
Throughout the next 10 months, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada (BGEAC) will be training Christians how to use its My Hope with Billy Graham campaign to share the gospel with friends and neighbours.
Coinciding with the evangelist’s 95th birthday, the My Hope campaign culminates this November. At that time, those who received the training will invite their neighbours and friends for dinner and a special television program featuring a gospel presentation from Graham.
Following the program, guests will have an opportunity to make a decision to follow Christ. “The potential for impact is outstanding,” says Randy Jost, associate pastor of the Ottawa Metropolitan Bible Church. “Any event proclaiming the gospel is important, but the connection this event has to Billy Graham carries weight in our culture.”
Founded in 2002, My Hope has reached more than 50 countries and recently saw tremendous success in Spain and Portugal. This year marks the first time the event has come to Canada.
Frank King, BGEAC communications manager, calls My Hope “the most successful initiative of the Billy Graham Association.”
Currently, in Ontario, more than 300 individuals have registered to train their congregations. Similar training events have taken place in western Canada.
“Evangelicals remain evangelical in theology, but we are struggling with evangelism,” says Lloyd Eyre, pastor of Peterborough Free Methodist Church. “In our [church] culture, we have lost the ministry of hospitality. This event has the potential to restore that.”
When people become Christians through My Hope, they start out with Christian friends who connect them with local churches.
“So many people don’t see a way out of the trouble they are facing right now,” says King. “As they are befriended by believers, it opens the doors of trust.”