The passing of Rev. Billy Graham is putting a spotlight on the spiritual impact of his 70-plus years of ministry around the world.
"Through his remarkable ministry, Mr. Graham introduced countless millions to the life-changing message of the Bible," said Roy Peterson, president of American Bible Society, in a statement.
"In the days ahead, we will undoubtedly—and appropriately—hear the words of Matthew 25:21 quoted frequently regarding Mr. Graham's passing: 'Well done my good and faithful servant.' Today I rejoice in the thought that Mr. Graham is hearing those words from the Lord himself," Peterson added.
A recent LifeWay Research survey found Graham had a significant influence on churchgoers through a variety of platforms.
“Billy Graham was one of the greatest evangelists the Christian faith has ever known,” said Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources. “Throughout his life, it was obvious he wanted the focus to be not on himself but on one thing: the cross of Jesus Christ.”
According to LifeWay Research, two-thirds of Protestant churchgoers had some contact with Graham’s ministry:
- 48 percent watched a Billy Graham sermon on television.
- 18 percent listened to one of his sermons on the radio.
- 15 percent read one of his books.
- 14 percent read a Billy Graham newspaper column.
- 11 percent attended a Billy Graham crusade.
- 8 percent watched a Billy Graham sermon online.
“While Billy Graham became famous through stadium-filled crusades he actually shared the good news of Jesus Christ with more people through TV, radio and print,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. "We’d be hard-pressed to find another American Christian leader who has that kind of name recognition."
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has put together a fact sheet highlighting Graham's impact world-wide.
A portion of that is below, courtesy of BGEA:
Billy Graham Crusades / Franklin Graham Festivals / Will Graham Celebrations
Billy Graham has preached the good news of God's love to nearly 215 million people at hundreds of Crusades, missions and evangelistic rallies, in North America and around the world. His son, Franklin Graham, has preached more than 180 evangelistic festivals in 37 states and 47 countries since 1989. Will Graham is the third generation of Grahams to proclaim God's love under the banner of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Will has spoken to audiences across six continents since beginning his evangelistic ministry in 2006.
Billy Graham Library
The 40,000-square-foot Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., opened in June 2007 and chronicles the life of evangelist Billy Graham. Its purpose is to continue the more than 60-year legacy of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to deliver the simple Gospel message. The Library houses six exhibits, four galleries and two theaters covering the span of Graham's lifetime work and the ongoing ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association today. More than 1 million visitors have toured the Library since its opening. Visit www.billygrahamlibrary.org for more information.
Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains on 1,200 acres in Asheville, N.C., the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove offers guests in-depth seminars; personal spiritual retreats; concerts; programs for seniors, women and church or ministry leaders; and many other inspirational events throughout the year. The Cove is also available for group events for Christian churches and nonprofit ministries. Visit www.thecove.org for more information.
Internet Evangelism (SearchforJesus.net)
As the world moves online, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is meeting them there with the Gospel. The organization's Internet Evangelism ministry—called Search for Jesus—has shared God's love with millions of people of all ages and backgrounds through its evangelistic website PeaceWithGod.net (LINK), as well as partner sites in other languages. Visitors to the site hear the Good News that true peace is found in Jesus Christ, and they are invited to surrender their lives to Him. Trained volunteers connect with inquirers one-on-one to guide them in their faith and help them find a local church.
My Hope is a large-scale evangelistic outreach combining the power of personal relationships with unique tools for sharing the Gospel. Through the project's focus on relationship evangelism, churches and individual Christians across entire countries are encouraged and equipped to pray and reach out to friends, family and neighbors using one of several evangelistic video programs featuring life-changing testimonies and powerful messages from Billy Graham. Launched in 2002, My Hope has been implemented in 60 countries to date, with more than 10 million people making a commitment to Christ. Visit www.myhopewithbillygraham.org for more information.
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has since grown into a nationwide network of hundreds of chaplains who are specifically trained to offer hope in the wake of man-made and natural disasters. Since the ministry was launched in 2002, it has deployed chaplains to more than 200 disaster zones, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, shootings and areas of civil unrest.
Billy Graham Online Evangelism Training
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's online training ministry offers a series of unique courses intended to equip believers to show the love of Christ in today's world: Schools of Evangelism Online for seminary students, pastors and evangelists; ReIgnite for Christians who want to grow in their faith and share it with others; and Sharing Hope In Crisis which equips people to offer comfort to the hurting. Each self-paced course is designed to take advantage of decades of real-world ministry from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and utilizes videos, reading assignments, downloadable PDFs, sermon transcripts, practical projects and quizzes. More information can be found at www.billygraham.org/online-training.
Decision magazine is the official monthly publication of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Founded in 1960, the magazine has a circulation of some 425,000, making it one of the most widely circulated religious periodicals in the world. Issues include messages by Billy and Franklin Graham, devotional helps, practical features on Christian living, personal testimonies, and news of inspiring faith.
Radio Ministry & Blue Ridge Broadcasting
BGEA's flagship program, Hour of Decision Online, presents timely messages from six decades of Billy Graham Crusades. The show is hosted by Billy Graham's longtime friend and ministry partner Cliff Barrows, who shares behind-the-scenes stories of the Crusades featured in each program. The newest program in the BGEA line-up is GPS: God. People. Stories. Each weekly episode features the inspiring story of how God has worked in someone's life. Decision Minute, a one-minute feature, offers eternal food-for-thought encapsulated for today's busy lives, and airs on more than 660 stations. Additionally, through Blue Ridge Broadcasting, the ministry operates FM stations 106.9 The Light WMIT-FM, Black Mountain, N.C. and 106.7 The Light WFGW-FM, Norris, Tenn. Visit www.BillyGraham.org/Radio to listen to the programs or live-stream 106.9 The Light.
Billy Graham TV Specials
Billy Graham pioneered the early use of television specials in the 1950s, and that strategy continues today with regular broadcasts of original programming in the United States. These specials blend messages from Billy and Franklin Graham and real-life stories from the front lines of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ministries.
The TV/Telephone Ministry, in conjunction with the Billy Graham TV Specials, began nationwide in March 1981 and has since served more than one million people. From the privacy of their homes, people can call the telephone number on their screens to receive spiritual help and guidance. Currently, there are 41 active phone centers, 530 phones and more than 2,000 trained volunteers.
Ruth's Attic Bookstores
Named for Ruth Graham's love for the Bible and Christian literature, Ruth's Attic bookstores are the resource ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. An Internet store and two walk-in stores at Billy Graham Evangelistic Association facilities in Asheville and Charlotte, N.C., provide evangelism and discipleship resources that include Billy Graham Classic Crusade DVDs, Dare To Be a Daniel training resources, the Christian Worker's Handbook, books by Graham family members and other trusted Christian authors, as well as music and gifts from the Billy Graham Library. Shop the online store.
Billy Graham Response Center
The Response Center opened in June 1998 to provide information to people with questions regarding the BGEA and to respond to those who need spiritual encouragement. The Response Center also receives calls for Samaritan's Purse. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET. On Saturdays, the Response Center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET (January-August) and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET (September-December)