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Joe Gallaher is a self-described introvert.
The husband, father of five and construction company project manager from St. Louis would rather quietly work in his garden or take a solitary hike than speak in front of a crowd.
“I’m not an accomplished evangelist,” Joe is quick to point out. “I’m a layperson.”
So it’s safe to say he is out of his comfort zone as he prepares to host a My Hope event at a 590-seat auditorium on Tuesday.
“It’s funny how God works,” Gallaher said. “We don’t know how many ushers we’re going to have. We don’t know how many counselors we’re going to have … and we don’t know how many people are gonna show up. But other than that, we’ve got it covered.”
By stepping out in faith, Gallaher is joining believers around the country who are sharing the gospel this Easter season with friends and neighbors who don’t have a relationship with Jesus.
For Gallaher, My Hope has been an exercise in trust—one that began last year when he read about the evangelistic outreach coming to the U.S.
“I would always read about how it was going on in different countries,” Gallaher said. “I guess I kind of made a vow, in a sense, that when it came to America I was going to participate.”
Gallaher expected five to eight neighbors to attend the men’s My Hope event he planned last November at his home. He offered a cooler full of soft drinks, a fire pit (since “guys like fire”) and a willingness to be used by the Lord.
To Gallaher’s surprise, 16 men showed up. Each one watched “The Cross,” which presents the message of salvation through Billy Graham’s preaching and the true stories of rapper Lecrae and singer Lacey Sturm.
“I came away with the knowledge that everyone heard the gospel message,” Gallaher said. “And who can share that better than Dr. Billy Graham?”
It was also back in the fall when an unusual thought popped into Gallaher’s head while he was driving.
“I kind of had the whole idea flash in front of my mind in an instant,” he said. “I was imagining a theater of people watching the My Hope videos, having my church choir there singing hymns and someone giving the invitation. It just seemed like that was the thing I needed to do.
Fast-forward to today, and that flashbulb idea is about to be a reality.
It’s taken a lot of planning and a whole lot of prayer, but with the help of a dedicated group of believers, a large-scale My Hope Easter event will be held Tuesday in St. Louis.
There will also be a speaker—George McGovern, chaplain for the New York Giants and the New York Yankees. And a Billy Graham Evangelistic Assoc. staff member will give an invitation to accept Christ.
Quite the event for a guy who left his comfort zone in the dust.
“I didn’t have a road map or a plan at all,” Gallaher said. “It’s just so important to pray about it and so important to get a team of godly and righteous people.”
He can’t say enough about the friends and neighbors from various St. Louis churches that have rallied around the My Hope concept. They helped spread the word via radio ads, a newspaper insert and word of mouth. Now they’re praying together for salvation to come to that auditorium Tuesday night.
“I just keep praying that people are going be moved by the Holy Spirit,” Joe said. “And I keep thinking when people see “Defining Moments” on a big screen, it’s going to be so powerful. The way Dr. Graham preaches—it’s just laced with love.”
As far as his own role in the event, Gallaher says he has certainly been stretched—and stressed—at times. But he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I would say anybody who prays about this and feels like God wants to use them in this way should step out in faith,” Gallaher said. “And God will take them on a wonderful journey.”
It’s not too late to get involved. Click here to learn more about sharing the hope of Christ through My Hope this Easter.
This article originally appeared on BillyGraham.org.
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