November 7, 2013
By Trevor Freeze
Lena Wakim wasn’t sure what she was in for.
The 21-year-old Liberty University senior from New Hampshire was asked to view the new My Hope America video, “The Cross,” on Tuesday along with hundreds of Liberty’s student leaders.
She didn’t know much about it, other than this was a new message from Billy Graham — a message God had placed on his heart for the nation.
But after watching this 30-minute program, Wakim was floored.
“It was just incredible,” she said. “It impacted a lot of us.
“Honestly, it’s the greatest message any of us can know.”
All of the 240 Liberty student leaders (RAs) viewed “The Cross” over five different sessions to encourage their walk with Christ, inspire them to pray for the nation Thursday and to help with the grassroots effort.
Wakim has already started. “I posted it on Facebook already; I shared the trailer,” she said. “And I’m going to be promoting it on my hall so the other students will watch it.”
Particularly moving to Wakim were the stories of two high-profile Christian musicians — Lecrae and Lacey Sturm, former Flyleaf lead singer. “I’m a big fan of Lecrae and Flyleaf,” she said. “It was great to hear how the Gospel has affected them personally.”
Liberty has fully embraced the My Hope America movement, starting with more than 1,400 students going through the My Hope training to become host “Matthews” in Dr. Wheeler’s Evangelism 101 course.
Several hundred students have been trained to take calls, following nationwide showings of “The Cross,” which airs on more than 500 channels across the U.S. and Canada, including 115 network stations, TBN, and five different times on FOX News, beginning Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.
“I actually wept as I watched the program,” said Johnnie Moore, Liberty vice president of communications. “It touched a deep nerve and moved me profoundly.”
Hundreds of Liberty students will be manning the phones in converted computer labs over the weekend — in conjunction with InService America response center staffing.
The Lynchburg, Va., response center hub is just part of what is easily the largest phone bank staffing for ministry calls in the 60-plus year history of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Other response hubs, include Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs), the North American Mission Board (Atlanta) and at the BGEA headquarters (Charlotte).
Also, 40 BGEA Television TV Ministry phone banks, which regularly take calls after Billy Graham Classic broadcasts, will be joining the effort, along with a phone center at Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.
Yes, the My Hope movement is in full gear, with more than 28,000 churches participating in every state, province and territory in the U.S. and Canada. And according to Moore, the impact of Mr. Graham’s new message could have ripple effects that touch every generation.
“This is a gift, and we will return the favor by spreading his message virally around the world,” Moore said. “No stadium can contain the millions who will be impacted by it in the digital world.”
Moore, 30, didn’t grow up listening to Billy Graham preaching, yet still felt an urgency for the youth of today in his sphere of influence to be fully immersed in his legacy.
“Every millennial I know needs to see this program and hear its message,” Moore said. “Billy Graham’s message isn’t a nostalgic one for another time. It’s a message for now.”
To help spread the word about “The Cross,” or to find out where it is playing in your area, use the website, watchbillygraham.com.