How Others Do It – The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Written by Major Frank Duracher

February 11, 2022

Billy Graham lived 99 years (1918-2018), but his passion for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ continues through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). Founded in 1950 by Dr. Graham, BGEA began with a radio contract for what soon became The Hour Of Decision. The worldwide ministry today is expanded to include a number of outreach programs to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

It’s Mission Statement: “Continuing the lifelong work of Billy Graham, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association exists to support and extend the evangelistic calling and ministry of Franklin Graham by proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to all we can by every effective means available to us and by equipping the church and others to do the same.”

Franklin Graham, Billy’s son, heads the non-profit Christian organization that promotes multimedia evangelism, conducts evangelistic crusades, and engages in disaster response. A third generation is already working in the wings: William (Will) Franklin Graham IV is an associate evangelist at BGEA and serves as executive director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove (Christian conference center and peaceful retreat) in Asheville, North Carolina.

In addition to The Cove, BGEA’s outreach includes

  • Festivals
  • Celebrations
  • “God Loves You Tour,”
  • The Billy Graham Prayer Line
  • Internet Evangelism
  • The Billy Graham Library
  • Rapid Response
  • Team TV/Telephone Ministry and
  • Online Training

A “Festival” is not just an evangelistic event. It is a process of prayer, training, outreach, and follow-up over a 12-month period. It begins and ends with the local church. It usually consists of one to three weekend services, with programs for youth and the entire family.

Will Graham conducts “Celebrations,” similar in offerings to Festivals, and held around the globe with one purpose—to proclaim God’s love to people who need Jesus Christ.

Franklin Graham recently conducted his “God Loves You Tour” along famed-Route 66. One night evangelism events took place in a string of eight cities from Joliet, Illinois to San Bernardino, California. The good news of Christ was shared at each stop, calling the lost into a life-changing relationship with Jesus. The meetings were free of charge and featured live music.

The Billy Graham Prayer Line (888-388-2683) is a new long-term outreach in response to COVID-19. Thousands of calls on a 24/7 schedule are received seeking prayer. It is proving to be an incredible opportunity to minister from a secure app on one’s smartphone. It is also a great draw for volunteers who are blessed by manning the phones.

Internet Evangelism (SearchforJesus.net) offers answers online worldwide for seekers searching for hope to be found only in Jesus. Again, volunteers line up for this service opportunity as online counselors, disciple coaches, or email responders. Even an entire church can get involved.

The Billy Graham Library is a popular attraction in Charlotte that tells the story of Billy’s trek from a humble farm boy to an international ambassador of Christ. It is a barn-shaped building on 20 landscaped acres. Although named for the famed evangelist, the gospel of Jesus is the core experience, along with the transforming power salvation has on as life that says “yes” to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and leading.

BCEA’s Rapid Response Team is a chaplain ministry offered in times of natural or manmade disasters. The team trains God’s people for grief ministry and deploys crisis-trained chaplains to provide emotional and spiritual care to affected families and individuals.

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights, Billy Graham Classics programs are shown on the TBN Network. During each program a toll-free number appears on the screen. Viewers who call are eager to talk with trained Billy Graham TV/Telephone Ministry volunteers.

God has blessed BGEA with practical and effective strategies through online training. Students learn from time-tested principles through training programs such as the School of Evangelism Online, “ReIgnite” (simple steps for every Christian: how to live what you believe and share it with others); “Sharing Hope In Crisis” (emotional and spiritual care when people need it most); “Back To The Basics” (understanding the connection between Biblical doctrine—what you believe— and Biblical practice—-how you live); and, “The Lost Secrets Of Powerful Lives,” a study of how God used the ordinary people of Acts to make an extraordinary impact on their world—and how He can use you to do the same today.

Decision Magazine was launched in 1960. “Our publication is designed for people who are busily engaged in a secular world where there is tremendous competition for their time,” Rev. Graham wrote in Decision’s first issue.

The need is even greater today. Decisionmazine.com launched in April 2019. Although Decision has had an online presence for years, this digital platform supplements the printed version with daily breaking news and special web features. Subscribers and donors span more than 72 countries.

In addition to Decision and The Cove training center, BGEA’s satellite operations include Blue Ridge Broadcasting (106.7 The Light—WFGW) in Black Mountain, North Carolina, and World Wide Pictures in Charlotte.

Overseas, BGEA has offices in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

While it all started with a regular radio program, The Hour Of Decision, BGEA is keeping up with technology and changing challenges of a new millennium. In August 2018, BGEA partnered with SiriusXM for the launch of The Billy Graham Channel (Ch. 460), offering access to his timeless sermons from seven decades of ministry as well as reflections from friends and family.

With Christlike humility, Billy Graham always insisted that God be glorified rather than himself. It’s all about extolling the Gospel of Christ with urgency.

 

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