Posted on : Friday May 1, 2009

By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent

DALLAS—A white leather upholstered chair in a totally black background with a bright white light overhead illuminating different people from all types of backgrounds wearing black t-shirts all share the same message, “I am second.”

These actors, musicians, business leaders and people just like your next-door neighbor have joined a movement to express that Jesus is first in their lives.

Their images have been plastered on billboards across Dallas, Texas, and their poignant, raw, dramatically-recorded stories have been aired on television commercials, movie theatre ads and on the internet at

Included in the mix are celebrities, such as actor Stephen Baldwin, who realized what was missing in his life was satisfaction; former Korn frontman Brian “Head” Welch, whose struggle with addictions sent him over the edge; race car driver Darrell Waltrip, whose life was turned upside down by an accident; and American Idol’s Jason Castro, whose music has become a vehicle to worship God.

Also included are people like John Meador, who struggled with why God allowed him to become legally deaf; Shannon Culpepper, who grew up without a father figure in her life; and Ashley (no last name given), a beauty pageant queen whose life was controlled by her eating disorders.

The authentic stories on I Am Second provide insight into dealing with typical struggles of everyday living. These people overcame destructive lifestyles. They’ve tried to go it alone and have failed. They’ve bought into the lie that fulfillment comes with money, success and fame.

And they have come to the realization that Jesus should be first in their lives.

Since its inception in December 2008, the website has already recorded over 750 million viewers. Though the campaign was intended for Dallas, Texas, the site has gone viral, earning a place in the top 25,000 (out of 4 million tracked) websites. Over 187 countries, including countries with restricted access to the Gospel, has accessed the site. Presently, there are over 34,000 members in the I am Second Facebook group.

To John Humphrey, I Am Second’s project manager, it is all mind-boggling.

“The starting point was that the propositions of Christ would be made known to the whole Dallas/Ft. Worth area. The desire beyond that is that the body of believers all over the world is so emboldened to share their faith and that God would increase their numbers,” he said.
Originally conceived in part by Norm Miller, chief executive of Dallas-based Interstate Batteries and one of the effort’s main funders, I Am Second sought to promote God as the source of a shared, purposeful life.

That meant that e3 Partners, the organization sponsoring the campaign, didn’t want to promote themselves. There is nothing on the various media to indicate who the sponsor is.

e3 Partners is a 21-year-old missions organization, which produces evangelistic resources such as the widely-known EvangeCube, a puzzle-like tool used to present the Gospel. Their mission is to equip believers, evangelize the lost, and establish new churches.

“It was not about us,” explained Humphrey, in a BaptistLIFE interview. “We did not want there to be an immediate connection with a ministry group—with someone with an agenda.”

Instead the strategists behind the movement wanted the message to be the focus. They worked for nearly a year to plan, record, photograph, and design the media in such a way that the message would stand out… thus, the stark black and white artwork and the simple handwritten font in its logo.

Over time, visitors to the website consistently wanted to know how they could support I Am Second where they are, leading e3 to plan an upcoming section of the site called We Are Second.

“We want to start providing free downloadable materials for churches in the areas of prayer, evangelism, outreach training and small groups,” Humphrey said. “We want churches to use this campaign as a tool to bring people to Christ.”

But why second and not third or last?

“I Am Second was designed for people who have never thought of putting something first in their lives other than self,” explained Humphrey. “The thought is, if I am not first, I am at least second.”

He added, “I am 456th in my family in relation to so many other things. The reality is that in order to service others, I have to place Christ first. I will always have to be second to Him.”

To discover more, visit online at