In December of 2008, Interstate Batteries’ CEO, Norm Miller, launched a 36-month ad campaign in the Dallas area having no idea of the movement that was about to begin. The campaign, featuring roadside billboards and videos that can be viewed on IAmSecond.com, connects anyone, anywhere with personal stories of numerous individuals, including celebrities, pastors, athletes and everyday men and women. The inspirational and intimate stories expressed in the videos reveal how the storyteller was able to overcome addictions, divorce, fame and numerous other life struggles through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ – with the speaker wrapping up the video by letting the audience know that they have learned to put God first in their life and that they have now become second.
In The Beginning
Though I Am Second was originally designed as a billboard campaign, Miller can’t deny how God has spread the movement using individuals and churches in various countries across the globe. “The mandate was to lift up Christ and He will draw all men to himself, so all we’ve got to do is be concerned with the lifting,” Miller was quoted as saying in a previous Charisma Magazine article. In addition to billboards, the campaign is now broadcast through outdoor kiosks, print advertisements, television, cinema, radio clips and various social networking sites.
Miller, who invests 1 million dollars a year of his own money into I Am Second, started the campaign through forming a partnership with Dallas-based e3 Partners – a donor-supported Christian mission organization with the purpose of equipping God’s people to evangelize the world and establish His church. e3 Partners Vice President, Nathan Sheets, helped Miller develop the I Am Second campaign and stated in the same Charisma article that, “Ephesians states that the purpose of the church … is for the equipping of the body to do the work of the Life . And so, we view this as a way to be able to strategically come in and help the church execute what the mandate of the church is.” He added, “It’s been done so well, that it emboldens Christians to want to be proud of it and to share it.”
Browse through the library of video testimonials on the I Am Second website and there is no doubt that you will become inspired and empowered. Singers to celebrities to everyday people address a plethora of topics that are relatable – fame, racism, being selfish, divorce, addictions and an answer to one of the most often asked questions: “What is the meaning of life?” Here is a brief sampling of some of the incredible stories that viewers can become familiar with:
Brian Welch – Former Band-member for Korn
“I had it all with Korn, but gave it up for a better life,” describes Welch. His captivating testimony begins with a story about how he visited church one day, came home and placed his daughter in front of a television, grabbed a hundred dollar bill and began to snort Crystal Meth. He cried out to God in the middle of it, saying, “Jesus, if you are for real, like that pastor said today, then please take these drugs away from me. Come into my life. Come into my heart. Search me right now – search my heart. You know I want to quit, you know I want to be a good father to this kid. She lost her mother to drugs and she is going to lose me if I don’t quit. Amen.” Welch opens up about what life was like to be famous – how all of his fans worshipped the band and puffed up the members’ egos… and how eventually the drugs, alcohol and women came. He then adds how it all began to affect everything around him and all of his relationships. Welch eventually hit rock bottom – though he swore that he would never do drugs the way his ex-wife had abused them and would never “become like her”, overtime he became everything that he never wanted to be. It hit Welch in an instant one day when his daughter was skipping around the house, singing a popular Korn song whose lines described dreaming about sex all day. “I thought ‘what am I doing. I’m going to die’,”‘ explains Welch. “Then one day my realtor friend came up to me and said, ‘I don’t mean to be weird with you and I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but I felt this scripture jump out at me and I think it is meant for you.'”
The scripture was Matthew 11:28, which states: “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Welch then opened up his dictionary and pulled the scripture apart. “I needed rest,” he shares. “I was invited to church a few weeks later and I accepted Christ. I felt so much fatherly love from Heaven and instantly that love from God came into me and it was so powerful that the next day I threw away all of my drugs and quit Korn. My heart was changed like that. I told my daughter that I was quitting my career and would be home with her; she was so excited. God used her to save me. I’ve tried everything in this life to get pleasure, but when Christ came in – that feeling He gives you, that we are created to be with Him – is the most incredible feeling, because it is where we belong. Contentment is given to you in life and you don’t have to look anywhere else; the question about life is answered,” he adds.
Bethany Hamilton – Champion Surfer
Imagine in your mind a picturesque morning on the beaches of Hawaii. As you are out surfing with friends, something you have done more times than you can count, your life changes in a split-second. A shark attacks you and takes off your entire arm. How would you react? This is exactly what happened to Hamilton. With her story being the basis for the recent hit film Soul Surfer, Hamilton describes in her video how she “laid there and prayed for God to help her” while she was waiting for help. Though she had lost almost 60% of her blood that morning, she remembers a paramedic whispering in her ear that God would never leave her nor forsake her. “I gave my heart to Jesus when I was about five years old and being able to turn to Him during that crazy moment in my life gave me a sense of peace and calmness that I think is the one thing that kept me alive,” she shares. “From what seems like such a horrible thing, God has just brought glory to Himself through me. I’ve been able to be a light to people and share His love. I wake up every day and honor God in everything that I do. I may fall short sometimes, but all I want to do is love Him.” A month after the attack, Hamilton returned to the water to learn how to surf with one arm. Two years after the attack, Hamilton took 1st place in the NSSA National Championships. She currently competes, fulltime, on the ASP World Qualifying Series.
Jason Castro – Musician
Jason Castro, one of the most popular musicians from the American Idol stage, pondered whether there was more to life than music and fame. Raised in a Christian home, with a father who was educated in Theology, Castro came to realize that having a personal relationship with God didn’t mean that he had to conform to religious servitude. During one part of his I Am Second testimonial he describes his memories of a particular night that he had to perform on the Idol stage; his song choice was Hallelujah. “The song was so different than what anyone was doing that night. It makes you think; it makes you feel. Even just that word ‘Hallelujah’, it’s a special word. It’s reserved for God. To be able to say that on a stage in front of millions of people, to be able to praise my King – I got really excited about that,” he explains. He goes on to describe how since he has given his heart to Christ, people take notice that there is something “different” about him, something there…behind the music. “There is always something bigger behind whatever you’re doing. I think all of life is about getting to know God – to know what He likes and what He doesn’t, how we should be and in the end we will be made perfect when we die…and we will go on forever,” he adds.
In addition to using incredible video testimonials to connect with the public, I Am Second also partners with churches. Numerous churches in many different areas, such as Dallas, Texas, Evansville, Indiana and Orlando, Florida have become affiliated with the movement and have their information listed on the I Am Second website so that seekers can find a place to go where they feel comfortable. Specific church videos and pastor profiles can also be found on the site. In addition, the I Am Second leadership has created an impressive supply of resources for churches that include small group materials and prayer guides. As the movement continues to spread across the globe, e3 Partnerships continually adds new video testimonials that feature people who embody and exemplify the campaign. To check out additional stories from people like famous novelist, Anne Rice, actor Stephen Baldwin, Football Coach Tony Dungy and countless others, visit www.IAmSecond.com.