Billy Graham’s Impactful Ministry

By: Tiago Hirayama

The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith, Billy Graham (1918 – 2018).[1]

Although leaders like John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. have made significant social and political contributions to the people of the United States, Billy Graham’s name cannot escape one’s mind. The spiritual impact of his work is notorious not only in North America but around the world. Three traits make Graham the most widely known preacher that has ever emerged from this side of the planet: his passion for winning souls worldwide, his personal evangelism done in mass scale, and his gift of conviction that lead Southern Seminary back to its roots.

Billy Graham’s ministry was worldwide phenomena, and not merely national; his passion for the conversion of souls moved him to the ends of the earth. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association estimates that he reached more than 250 million people in his lifetime. That is a breathtaking statistics, almost hard to believe. If one makes the math dividing 250 million by the number of days he lived, 36,268 days, that equals almost seven thousand people a day. Who can reach a thousand people a day with the message of the gospel? Graham did that seven times more. In his lifetime, he set the record, and it will be almost impossible for someone to beat that number. Even though we have the advent of the internet and the immediate access to anything at anytime from anywhere, still incredibly hard for another minister of the gospel to reach that amount of souls. Take for example the youtube account of Grace To You Ministries of John MacArthur, one of the most renowned preachers of our time; his videos have been watched “only”  19,000,000 times.

Perhaps one could agree or disagree with Graham’s methods and theological views, but it is undeniable that his message objectively changed people’s lives. How many testimonies can someone count from persons all over the globe saying, “I gave my life to follow Jesus Christ in one of the Billy Graham’s crusades?” If that is not being influential, nobody knows what it actually means to have a positive effect for the kingdom of God. Very few moments in the history of Christianity are documented displaying thousands of people giving their lives to follow the teachings of Christ. One example of that is the sermon of the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost recorded in the book of Acts chapter two, which the Lord saved more than three thousand people whose hearts were pierced by the power of the preached word. One also could mention the eighteenth-century Great Awakening with George Whitefield and others in the British colonies in America. Likewise, the British preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon in the nineteenth century who drove 10,000 people every week to listen to his sermons. Even so, those times offer no comparison to the magnitude and range that Billy Graham had in his lifetime.

Finally, as Billy Graham has passed to the other side of eternity, he has blessed many Christians with exemplary convictions. Dr. Albert Mohler precisely conveys the feeling of what was the most significant gift left by Mr. Graham to all Christians around the world in the article called: “The Preacher: Billy Graham and American Evangelicalism.”

“Concretely, the greatest gift that Billy Graham gave to the Southern Seminary during those very crucial years was to allow us to establish the first graduate school anywhere in the world that would bear his name: The Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry. This school is now an integral part of this institution and in carrying forward the mission Billy Graham loved so dearly. The establishment of this school gave enormous momentum to recovering the institution and reclaiming its original evangelical identity and convictions.”[2]

As we can see, Dr. Billy Graham leaves behind not only a tremendous moral example but also a legacy to be followed. A legacy of winning souls passionately, a legacy of evangelizing multitudes in a personal level, and a legacy of conviction that so powerfully stirred the return of a major theological seminary to its conservative origins.

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[1] “Billy Graham Celebrates 93rd Birthday Following Release of 30th book, ‘Nearing Home’,” (November 1, 2011). Retrived March 8th, 2018, from https://billygraham.org/press-release/billy-graham-celebrates-93rd-birthday-following-release-of-30th-book-nearing-home/

[2]   Mohler, Albert. The Preacher: Billy Graham and American Evangelicalism. Retrived February 23rd, 2018, from https://albertmohler.com/2018/02/22/preacher-billy-graham-american-evangelicalism/

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