Thousands of churches have signed up to participate in the latest evangelism effort by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to spread the Gospel in North America.
According to the BGEA, as of Monday, 12,279 congregations have signed onto the "My Hope America With Billy Graham" evangelism event. Bill Conard, executive director of My Hope America with Billy Graham, told The Christian Post that he was "thrilled" by the response from congregations across the United States and Canada.
"With six months to go until the culmination of My Hope, more churches are signing up every day. Our team has been spread out across the nation for over a year, reaching out to pastors from different denominations, helping them show their congregations how to get individuals involved in the project," said Conard.
"We are excited to see how God will use people who commit to following the Great Commission. It's all about building authentic relationships now, and bringing people to Christ. We just aim to be an evangelistic tool in that process."
Conard also told CP that evangelical churches have been very receptive to the "My Hope" project and that congregations in the Northeast are well represented among the 12,000+ churches.
"One region of the country that is doing especially well is the Northeast, where My Hope has seen a great response," said Conard. "I think it's because the pastors and churches recognize the validity of relationship evangelism in a culture that has not necessarily been friendly to evangelical Christians."
With a strong emphasis on interpersonal relationships, "My Hope America" calls upon Christians to form cordial friendships with their neighbors and to build relationships with those around them.
These Christians who will open up to others are known by "My Hope" organizers as "Matthews," in reference to the disciple Matthew inviting friends of his to hear Jesus speak. The culmination will take place in November, when a video presentation featuring the Rev. Billy Graham will be shown on TV, DVD, and online.
"They might share dinner or a cup of coffee before showing a 30-minute video that intertwines a Gospel message from Billy Graham with true stories of people who have collided with God's life-changing love," reads a BGEA press release. "Once it's over, the 'Matthews' will share their own testimonies before leading their friends to a moment of decision-a time to choose whether they want to invite Jesus into their lives for good."