Billy Graham Ministry Plans Largest North American Evangelistic Event in 60 Years
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association announced plans to hold the largest North American evangelistic event in more than 60 years of Billy Graham's ministry on the week of his 95th birthday next year.
However, unlike the huge stadium outreaches that he is perhaps best known for, the "My Hope With Billy Graham" event planned for on Nov. 7, 2013, will use the latest in media distribution technology to present the evangelist's Gospel message into people's homes and on handheld devices.
Preston Parrish, BGEA vice president for My Hope With Billy Graham, told The Christian Post that the event has really been a 10-year project in which the organization has partnered with churches and Christians throughout the world to introduce the Gospel through Graham's messages.
"The key focal point strategy has always been facilitating, encouraging, and helping Christians to share the Gospel, to share their faith in Jesus Christ in the context of their relationships using their homes as essentially 'stadiums,'" Parrish said. "People think of Billy Graham as preaching in stadiums which of course he has done for many years. Through My Hope he has preached in literally over 4 million homes around the world over the last 10 years and God have given a wonderful evangelistic harvest."
In recent years, the My Hope project has seen great success in Europe, he said.
"The Lord blessed My Hope in a wonderful way in Portugal and Spain. As we moved into this year, it just really moved in the hearts of Billy Graham and Franklin Graham and all of us supporting them in the work of the Gospel, a burden that now was the time to begin implementing this evangelism strategy in the U.S., Canada, and in North America. That's what's brought us to this moment," Parrish explained.
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More than 10 million people have made decisions, which were recorded by BGEA, to accept Jesus into their lives. The method employed is simply "Christians opening their homes, inviting people in, presenting the Gospel, sharing their testimony and inviting people to receive Christ," he said.
The event planned for 15 months from now "could be Billy Graham's final call to America to turn to God," Parrish said.
"Billy Graham is in his 94th year now, still very much engaged mentally with the work of the Gospel around the world, and the ministry of his organization. [He is] very in tune to developments in the spiritual condition. He has a very deep burden for this nation for which he is a citizen and a son in which he has done so much ministry over the years as well as ministry around the world. He has a big burden to see this nation awaken spiritually in a new way."
"Given Billy Graham's age, this may well be his last call to America," he added. "God only knows, but we have to look at it with that measure of gravity in a sense where we listen carefully to what he believes the message that America needs to hear and respond to in 2013."
Parrish said that BGEA is urging people to get involved now, but the project will culminate in the first week of November 2013 in association with Graham's 95th birthday. Graham's message is being produced now and will include "not only historic footage of Billy Graham presenting the Gospel, but fresh comments from him about this one and only message that he has preached throughout his long ministry."
He added, "So much has changed in this nation during the course of his life and ministry. At this time, as we increasingly see America becoming more secular, more influenced by anti-Christian religions, as we see in some corners of American churches compromise what had previously been historic biblical convictions, he really has a burden to call America back to the God of the Bible in the same words that he has used throughout his ministry, 'repent and turn to Christ.'
"If we do that there's hope for every single one of us, no matter who we are, no matter what we've done, no matter how far from God we've chosen to go there's hope for us … That's also true for our nation."
The details for the broadcast distribution of Billy Graham's message are ongoing as new technology and methods are being developed, Parrish said.
"Between now and next summer, BGEA plans to train on how to share one's faith throughout North America. The training for My Hope With Billy Graham will largely happen in one of two ways – either online at the My Hope website or through pastors committed to the project. Many other logistics on how to involve 50 states are still being hammered out, BGEA states.
"Many people believe that if something is not done, three to five years from now, we will be living in a far different country," Parrish said. "There's an urgency about this. Come to God while you still can."
The event is free for churches to participate in. Parrish urged, "Please join in praying for, and supporting financially, this massive undertaking for the Gospel."
On the Web: My Hope With Billy Graham