During our time in North Carolina, my wife, Carol, and I visited the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville as well as the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. Viewing the various exhibits and listening to the presentations, we were left with several impressions about the principles implemented by Billy Graham during his years of ministry.
He Embraced Change. Billy Graham started his ministry with a crusade under a tent in Los Angeles in 1949. As technology was introduced and developed, he used any and every media available—radio, TV, motion pictures, telephone counseling, internet, DVDs. He used various music styles to reach different audiences—hymns, contemporary Christian music, Country & Western. He scheduled events and tailored the music and message to reach a younger audience.
He was willing to Share the Message of the Gospel with Everyone. He went on television talk shows, did interviews on radio and TV. He wrote a weekly newspaper column. He wrote books. He met with celebrities, politicians, presidents, world leaders, as well as average people. He made no distinction between gender, race, creed, or background. If one was interested, he was willing to share the message.
Billy Graham Adapted his ministry to Meet Needs. For years, the BGEA (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) was known for holding stadium crusades. Two years ago, our church participated in My Hope with Billy Graham, a small group DVD program. We were impressed to learn they developed the Rapid Response Teams for crisis events. Their teams show up to counsel after floods, shootings, and disasters.
In addition to preaching the gospel, the BGEA has focused on Equipping Others for Evangelism. They gathered evangelists from around the world for conferences in Amsterdam. Their team has always embraced younger associates and team members. During the crusade, they trained people how to counsel and follow up with new believers.
Billy Graham recruited and developed a Team of Loyal People. I was impressed that he finished with the same people he started with—Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea, Tedd Smith, TW Wilson, Leighton Ford, and other key people who served as board members or team members.
With all the changes and adaptations that he implemented over the years, Billy Graham had an Uncompromising Message that never changed. He preached a simple gospel message that stated that all have sinned and Jesus Christ died to save us from our sins. His message was based on, “The Bible says …”
Great lessons to learn. Great lessons to put into practice.