Question: How do you ignite a massive evangelism movement that draws hundreds of thousands of people using relevant, modern technology? Add to that the ability to intrigue and capture any audience (not a specific group of people, religion, or nation), while uplifting the name of Jesus using the same force of a secular major advertising campaign? Something to the likes of Nike or Coca Cola?
Answer: You don't. God does. And God has.
I Am Second, a Common Thread
I am Second is a simple website with crisp, high-quality videos of people sharing their pasts, including pain and redemption. That is it. We are not selling anything (except I am Second t-shirts) or trying to promote some ulterior message. Black setting, white chair, camera crew, and the subject. Pastors, soldiers, rock stars, movie stars, pro ball players, politicians, college students, pageant queens, and housewives all tell their stories. Although they come from very different backgrounds, they all have one thing in common: Jesus and his grace, restoration, and love. They are all stories anyone, anywhere, can relate to.
So I am Second is able to platform that commonality. It is this thread that allows people to come together and know that although we may look different, we aren't so different after all. This simple commonality is why the campaign and the website remains as powerful today as the day it launched. Little instruction is needed! What better way to invite your friends into a group and talk about life's issues? Churches are gravitating to the simplicity of I am Second because of its grace and its modern nature. Everything that we try to say in a Bible study or group gathering is simplified and powerfully told through the website.
Recently, iamsecond.com incorporated a new “Get Involved” section to the website. It adds a new dimension to the experience—a dimension that encourages people to start a group based upon the same principles used by church-planting evangelists all over the world. For the masses, iamsecond.com is a place and an opportunity where people can hear a story and tell a story. When the element of people became the driving force behind the spread of I am Second, the strategy for reaching the masses became that of e3 Partners': equip, evangelize, and establish.
Shannon Culpepper, an undergraduate of Southern Methodist University and a storyteller on iamsecond.com, has spearheaded the group initiative on several college campuses in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. She gathered materials from the website (downloadable curriculum such as the Video Discussion Guide), invited some friends to meet at the local coffee house, and brought her laptop. They watched the videos and discussed their thoughts, and for some it brought about resolutions. For others, it was a seed planted. She did this every week for several months during the school year and the impact was and still is profound.
McKinney Fellowship Bible Church has taken I am Second by storm. They have started groups and held community affairs centered on the I am Second theme. For their Easter service this past April 2009, the congregants wore I am Second t-shirts; on-stage sat a white I am Second-inspired chair with a crown of thorns in its seat. They played the videos during the service and members of the congregation filled the stage with I am Second inspired “cardboard testimonies” saying “Bound-I am Second-Freed” and “Lust-I am Second-Love.”
Brian 'Head' Welch, a storyteller on iamsecond.com and former lead guitarist for the band Korn, launched his first tour as a Christian artist. We were able to invite followers of I am Second, but also his fans to the concert in Dallas. When his video played before the show, many who had not heard of I am Second stopped by our information table to learn more about the movement. Likewise, Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers spoke during a pre-game concert hosted by I am Second and people were able to learn about the website and how to get involved. Greg Ellis of the Dallas Cowboys and other celebrities have made appearances on behalf of I am Second and we leverage their credibility to draw the public eye.
The Future of I am Second
With only a few months of presence online, why is I am Second such a revolutionary tool in the world of evangelism? First, the importance of allowing God to do something new took precedence. e3 Partners knew that in order to reach the world, the whole effort would have to be full of grace, authentic, revolutionary, inspiring, pure, and avant-garde. Additionally, we realized that our mission was more than the promotion of a website. It became a catalyst for leaders and young-minded people who had been freed by Christ. It is causing people to boldly lift him up and inspire others to join the revolution.
How can you become a part of the revolution? You already are, because you are already Second to Christ. Now, it is time to inspire others. Christian leaders overseeing a congregation can contact the I am Second offices about opportunities to partner with the ministry and learn about the I am Second philosophy to planting churches and small groups. Ignite a fire in your ministry by using it as a tool to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Use the logo. You can even host a session of confessionals in your church or group that are iamsecond.com-inspired, allowing your members to tell their story and share it with others.
Ultimately, our goal is to equip fifty thousand leaders by December 2011 to start, transition, and lead I am Second small groups under the curriculum and guidelines of I am Second. I am Second wants to partner with you to reach this goal and beyond! The unique component of I am Second is that it is mobile and formative. While the principles will stay the same, different cities and countries have different audiences and media needs. The website is universal; however, the local campaign will be designed with the season and market in mind.
This is a movement that will revolutionize the way we evangelize, and movements of any caliber require the participation and advocacy of the people. It is not simply about the makers of I am Second or even the celebrities on the website. It is about you. It is about your story and who you tell it to. It is about how you choose to use this freely available tool to share the love of Christ. It is about uplifting the name of Jesus Christ, so that he can indeed draw all unto himself.