FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Southern Baptist evangelist Ronnie Hill has found a unique way to draw people to his salvation story, and he wants to share his method with churches and individuals.
Hill, from Fort Worth, Texas, has launched a website, www.threeminutestory.com, where people who listen to his three-minute story can sign up for a chance to win a vehicle. The winner will be chosen in December and can select between a Dodge Ram, a Jeep Wrangler or a Chrysler 300.
“I picked those vehicles because they appeal to all different kinds of people,” Hill said.
After listening to Hill’s testimony, viewers can answer a few questions, including whether they prayed a prayer for salvation, and then sign up to win one of the vehicles.
In the past, Hill has given away several Harley Davidson motorcycles and even a $10,000 cash prize at such events as NASCAR races, the Sturgis motorcycle week in South Dakota, the Calgary Stampede in Canada. People wanting to enter the drawings for those were asked to listen to a 10-minute Gospel presentation.
Offering incentives to listen to his testimony -– as the child of a 17-year-old rape victim — Hill has been successful in getting people to stop for a few minutes to hear a story that can change their lives.
“I want to see people saved,” Hill said. “I thought instead of just doing this at my events, let’s use it all over the world.”
During the first week the website was up in early February, more than 1,000 people viewed the three-minute video and 51 people prayed to receive Christ. Thus far, more than 6,000 people have visited the website and more than 230 have made salvation decisions. If viewers request a contact, an e-mail is forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board for follow-up.
“I get the information on a spreadsheet too,” Hill said. “But we are clear about not using this information unless they request a contact. We do not sell this information to anyone.”
When the website went up, a Texas pastor announced the address to his congregation. Church members passed out the information, and the church recorded five salvations in 24 hours.
Church participation is a strong aspect of the website, and Hill offers resources for churches that want to use the site as an evangelism tool.
“If churches are hosting an evangelistic event, we suggest they call a local Dodge/Chrysler dealer to park the three cars we’re offering at the event,” Hill said. “It’s advertisement for that dealer, and if the winner is from their area, I’ll buy the car from that dealer if they match the price I have.
“We want people to use the website at football games, festivals, county fairs — anywhere they can reach people.”
Hill also encourages students to include the Web address on their MySpace or Facebook pages.
At one McDonald’s in the Dallas area, a man who got breakfast each morning at the drive-through handed out cards to the student-age workers with the threeminutestory.com address. One of the students subsequently received Christ and told the man, “That website was really cool! Thanks, man.”
Individuals interested in helping to sponsor Hill’s threeminutestory.com initiative can go to the website and click “sponsors” at the bottom of the webpage for details. At this time, Hill has raised $7,500 of the $50,000 cost of the project. “I just stepped out on faith, believing that God will provide the funds that we need to carry out His work,” Hill said.
Steve Parr, vice president for Sunday School and evangelism with the Georgia Baptist Convention, said Hill’s website is a good strategy for evangelism.
“I appreciate so much the creativity of men like Ronnie Hill who have a passion to share the Gospel with a lost world,” Parr said. “Hundreds and thousands of our friends and neighbors will never attend a church service where they will hear a Gospel presentation. Hill has developed another avenue to connect the Gospel message with an audience that may never hear a sermon or be open to a personal witness.
“The strategy is not a substitute for the witness of a church or an individual, but it can certainly serve as a credible supplement to a personal evangelism strategy,” Parr added. “Hill is very gracious in developing and providing a strategy that any church can connect to in order to enhance their evangelistic opportunities.”
Sherri Brown is a writer for the communications department of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Baptist Press editor Art Toalston contributed to this article. Special business cards -– highlighting the threeminutestory.com website and the cars to be given away -– can be ordered via the “resource” button at the top of the webpage.