By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
COVINGTON, La. (LBM) – Jay Johnston, a long-time Louisiana Baptist minister and founder of Jay Johnston Ministry, has launched two webinars designed to encourage others to pray more fervently and to be reminded that Christ is the hope to endure.
Launched in early February, both webinars are free and offered on his website, jayjohnston.org. “How to Pray” airs at 8 p.m. Sundays, and “The Hope Call” occurs at noon every Tuesday.
“We all face life-dominating issues, and through Christ we can experience hope and victory no matter the problems we face today,” Johnston told the Baptist Message. ““My hope is to share resources and direct people to local churches and get them connected. If God will use this as a force to encourage people, then I am all about it. It’s for His glory. I want to be available to Him as an instrument and be faithful.”
Johnston said God created a burden in his heart to start the webinars after frequent visits with others in Louisiana and phone calls with others in surrounding states. Most people he engaged with indicated they were discouraged and needed direction.
“Just recognizing a sense of hopelessness among people and being a spiritual leader in the community, I knew I needed to do something,” he said. “As I began praying, I felt impressed that maybe I could share hope in Christ through some form of technology where I network with prayer leaders, counseling professionals and enlist people to share testimonies of hope, share Scripture and pray with people. Through this time of searching, I have launched a webinar on prayer and the hope call.”
HOW TO PRAY
Through his years of ministry, Johnston said that he had encountered many faithful prayer warriors who stressed the importance of talking with God each day. Johnston has applied what he learned to a weekly webinar where he discusses laying a prayer foundation, prayers found in Scripture and lessons learned from Jesus’ prayers in John 17.
“There is a lot of heritage amongst Southern Baptists in prayer,” Johnston said. “Some of those who left this legacy were pastors, some were missionaries, some were seminary professors, and some were just faithful, praying people. I hope to help fan that flame and encourage other people to pray for people, churches, families, cities, and neighborhoods, for the lost, for leaders, for America, and the world. We need to be a praying people, our churches need to be praying churches, and I desire to see God use this work to build a foundation and attitude for prayer with the awareness that we can pray anytime and anywhere.”
Johnston said he is thankful for those he has met who value prayer, such as a coffee shop owner who heard of his vision and offered to promote his webinar.
“As I talked with her, she said, ‘I am all about that. These young folks who work here, the older folks that come in, I am listening to them all the time, and they are asking, “Is there any hope?” and I direct them to the Lord.’ She is a faithful believer in Jesus Christ. She told me she would pass out my cards in the coffee shop and get them to other places because we need this. May we have others who will share that same vision.”
During his years as a pastor, Johnston has recognized that so many people carry heavy loads, he said. So he created the Hope Call webinar to inspire, inform and encourage others who face life-dominating issues. Each week he features individuals who share testimonies of how God changed their lives and gave them hope to continue living for Christ.
He said multiple Christian counseling centers around the state and nation have agreed to promote Hope Call.
“I see both of these webinars as a resource for individuals, families, church leaders, pastors, and community leaders,” he said. “As I carry out this work, my prayer is that I can introduce Jesus to those without him and equip those who already have a personal relationship with Him so they can go and share the Hope of Christ with others. Everywhere we go, people need to know someone loves them and cares about them. So may God use this work to multiply and send forth His people to love Him and to love others. Jesus is our hope, and the Hope Call lets people know of the Hope and love they can find in Jesus.”