September 17, 2014


SPARTANBURG, S.C. (BP) -- My Hope America with Billy Graham is promoted as the 95-year-old renowned evangelist's final sermon, but Graham's pastor Don Wilton is keeping the message alive.

Wilton worked with Graham a year in developing My Hope and is incorporating it into the many ministries and missions of First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, S.C., where Wilton serves as pastor and Graham is a member.

"[First Baptist Spartanburg is] designing and devising a multiple approach to continue sharing My Hope with Billy Graham with small and large groups as well as individuals," Wilton told Baptist Press, "and we see no end in sight. The reason we see no end in sight is because the message which he preached is a timeless message. It's about the Jesus who is the same yesterday and today and forever, and the cross is everlasting."

About 900 First Baptist Spartanburg members received training to host My Hope events in their homes and at other venues in preparation for My Hope's debut on Graham's birthday in November. Already, First Baptist has shown the My Hope DVD, The Cross, in members' homes. The church has shown it to the homeless in public parks, at various church meetings and sporting events, in nursing homes, businesses and a detention center.

When First Baptist, in cooperation with other groups, delivered 8,600 meals to the needy at Thanksgiving, a copy of The Cross and the Bible were left with each of the 1,860 families fed. Church funds and special contributions covered costs.

Wilton has initiated the translation of My Hope into Chinese for distribution of at least 300,000 copies in Beijing, he said, where he preached in November and has accepted an invitation to return.

"The cross is about the grace of God and about the love of God for all people and God's redemptive purpose," Wilton said. "So if we accept that, that has a timeless truth. We have noticed again the great respect with which Dr. Billy Graham is held by young and old. And of course My Hope in particular with the testimonies with Lecrae [Moore] and Lacey [Sturm] woven into Mr. Graham's powerful, timeless message on the cross, and his input from today's perspective, makes the presentation of My Hope ageless."

First Baptist Spartanburg members Darrell and Vicki Kendrick, with the help of about 30 volunteers from another church, showed The Cross at Camp White Pines juvenile detention center in Jonesville, S.C. Of the 38 boys in attendance, about 25 accepted Christ, Darrell Kendrick said. Read More

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