Volunteers Partner with TrueLife.org to Share 200,000 Cards of Hope at UCI Road World Championships
by Norm Miller and Joanne Edgington Henning
(RICHMOND, Va.)--Today, tens of thousands of people from all over the world have access to the gospel of Jesus and help with life’s hard questions, thanks to the efforts of 1,100 volunteers who teamed up with TrueLife.org to distribute 200,000 cards of hope at the 2015 Union Cycliste Internationale Road World Championships in Richmond, Va.
The international event, held September 19-27 known as the “Worlds,” is cycling’s premier racing competition, featuring 12 championship races and drawing 450,000 spectators from the U.S. and abroad. Hosted in Richmond for the first time in 30 years, the races provided area pastors with the perfect platform from which to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
“What a blessing and honor it is for us,” said Steven Bradshaw, church-strengthening team leader with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia. “But, with that comes a great responsibility.” Bradshaw explained that a coalition of 27 churches and organizations approached the opportunity with a 3H strategy – to share hospitality, help and hope with visitors attending the races.
“We had 23 pastors, who came together and asked what we could do to provide hospitality at the airport and hotels,” he said, “to be on the streets as a presence, providing help, because we knew there would be cultural differences and language barriers. And, we also wanted to offer the hope that is in Jesus, and to do so in participants’ native languages and to help them in their spiritual journeys, as they are wrestling with issues.”
To facilitate the third “H” in their strategy, the pastors involved spoke of the success they had in encouraging their members to invite and evangelize the lost using TrueLife.org cards to help spread the gospel message, as the website addresses life’s most pressing questions, and connects people to local partnership churches.
Almost a quarter of a million cards were printed, each bearing a QR code to link the user directly to a designated Richmond2015Hope.com website via a mobile device. Once accessed, the site offers visitors the opportunity to hear the gospel message in their language of choice. TrueLife.org – featured both on the HOPE website and the card – invites users to instantly view free videos from leading theologians on such topics as evolution, homosexuality and death.
“People have a lot of questions, and Christian beliefs are constantly being challenged in our dynamic culture,” said Jesse Connors, founder of TrueLife.org. “So, we set out to provide answers to these questions with the help of trusted Bible scholars, historians and philosophers, in a way that is non-threatening, easy-to-understand, and points visitors to Jesus and to a local partnering church that has employed our evangelism strategy. Many churches are now seeing 70-80 percent invite after one Sunday.”
Mindy McChord, event coordinator for Richmond 2015 HOPE, said that approximately 75 percent of the printed cards were distributed, meaning that more than one in three visitors at the event received a card. The opportunity continues, however, as volunteers are now taking to their own neighborhoods to distribute the remainder of the cards.
From the event, stories abound of volunteers sharing the Good News. Two cyclists from Amsterdam heard the gospel of Jesus for the first time. One student from YWAM (Youth With a Mission) gave a card to the Sheik of Qatar – the nation designated to host next year’s Worlds.
Churches shared the love of Jesus in numerous ways: one church assembled and distributed 2,000 HOPE hospitality bags for hotels; one church fed 750 police officers and first responders; one church fed 400 emergency-room workers attending to race needs; one church opened its doors to make available its facilities and offer refreshments; and, one church provided transportation for race officials. A language station was set up, where at least five languages were spoken each day.
Bradshaw hailed the event as such a “collaborative vigor, effort and fellowship of believers.”Joe Regawski and his wife, Urcila, volunteered to hand out HOPE cards for five of the event’s nine days.
“When I first saw the cards, I didn’t put much faith in them,” said Joe Regawski. “But, then as I began to use them, I began to see the power … and how brilliant of an idea it was.”
He stated that the card was not only a conversation starter, but also it gave users a lasting resource through which they can hear the gospel, visit the TrueLife.org website and connect with a local church.
“You can start a conversation and then leave them with a tool to take home that can lead them to Jesus,” said Joe Regawski.
Urcila Regawsi agreed, “These cards have been very helpful, and everyone is eager to take them.”
Bradshaw also appreciated pairing the message of hope with the discipleship opportunities provided through TrueLife.org, and recommends the strategy for pastors seeking to conduct evangelism events in their communities.
“This card will reach beyond Richmond,” he said. “It will go to the uttermost parts of the earth, as people share this information that they received here in Richmond in other nations and other lands … with their families and friends and neighbors – who will hear the good news of Jesus Christ … that there is hope and there is life in Jesus.”
Because of Jesus,
Jesse Connors, M.Div.
Founder of TrueLife.org