October 29, 2012
By Trevor Freeze
Pastor K. Marshall Williams Sr. has a burden.
He knows it’s not his to bear alone, but in his sphere of influence — which happens to be the City of Brotherly Love — the pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church can’t help but see lost souls all across Philadelphia.
“The burden of lostness,” is how Williams describes his passion most succinctly. “My vision is to share that burden of lostness.”
So when Williams heard about the nationwide outreach My Hope with Billy Graham, he did not hesitate to jump on board.
That “burden of lostness” was burning inside of him more than ever.
“There are millions of people out there who don’t know Jesus,” Williams said, his voice growing more passionate. “My Hope with Billy Graham is an awesome evangelical outreach that dropped on Billy Graham’s heart. And that resonates with me and my wife.”
Connie Williams not only agrees with her husband’s passion for reaching the lost in Philly, but she would also like to underscore and italicize it.
“From a personal perspective it’s convicting,” Connie said of Billy Graham’s urgent call to reach all of the United States and Canada in November of 2013. “I’ve been more concerned with edifying the women in my church. We should not just be concerned with the edification of the saints but to tell others about the hope of Jesus.”
Pastor Williams and his wife recently took part in the My Hope with Billy Graham training event held at The Cove in Asheville, N.C., and took time to express their support for the sweeping nationwide project.
Williams is a well-respected and long-time pastor in Philadelphia’s African American community — he’s been the head pastor at Nazarene Baptist since 1984. The church has increased by 70 percent under his leadership and he’s also served key roles in the Southern Baptist Convention; most recently he was asked to chair the Convention’s African American Advisory Council.
But Williams knows My Hope with Billy Graham far surpasses any particular denomination and gets to the heart of relationship evangelism, which fuels his own heart and soul.
“We might be the only Bible they ever see,” Williams said. “But we have to earn the right to share Christ with people.”
And that starts with having real relationships with those around you.
“People don’t care what you know until they know that you care,” he said.
My Hope with Billy Graham will culminate on November 7, 2013, Billy Graham’s 95th birthday, with a 30-minute evangelistic program featuring music and testimony, along with a Gospel message by Billy Graham. This powerful presentation will be available via TV, DVD and the Internet.
“I’ve been praying the Lord would send a revival,” Williams said. “It’s almost midnight. Time is running out. This is the year to see God turn the nation, not upside down, but right-side up for Christ.”
Individuals and churches will be asked to share this program with their friends, neighbors, family, co-workers — really anyone who doesn’t know Christ as their Savior — and after the program to share a brief three-minute testimony followed by an invitation to receive Christ.
My Hope with Billy Graham will also include versions tailored to youth, Hispanics and packing parties for Operation Christmas Child.
“It’s time to stop procrastinating,” Connie said. “They’re giving us all the tools we need to be equipped.”
“And if Billy Graham sees there’s a hope, that’s all I need.”