1973: Seoul, South Korea

1973: Seoul, South Korea

By the time Billy Graham’s five-day Crusade began in Seoul, South Korea, on May 30, 1973, his team of associate evangelists had already preached to hundreds of thousands in a half-dozen of the nation’s other key cities over the previous two weeks.

Bolstered by the early morning prayer meetings that virtually all Korean churches have held since the early 1900s, the church in Korea was growing quickly. Church leaders had invited Billy Graham to come as part of a bold campaign to reach their entire country for Jesus Christ.

“The Korean people were ready,” said Pastor Billy Kim in a 2011 interview with Decision. “They had been praying for revival, and for this Crusade.” Kim, who served as Mr. Graham’s interpreter during the Crusade, added: “Many had been witnessing, individually and collectively as the church. So many people were aware they needed to come to Christ. I think the Crusade brought everything to a head.”

Indeed, during those five days in Seoul, more than 3.2 million people attended the meetings at Yoido Plaza, and counselors collected more than 70,000 decision cards.

At the closing service on June 3, Mr. Graham preached to more than 1.1 million people—the largest live audience ever for an evangelistic message. The crowd was so large that it was impossible for inquirers to come forward during the invitation. Instead, inquirers stood to signify a decision, and counselors moved through the crowd to speak with them.

“The 1973 Crusade was one of the most historic moments in the life of the Christian church in my country,” Kim said. “The Spirit of God truly fell on that Crusade and the Korean people.”


Above: Yoido Plaza—a paved runway a mile long and 200 yards wide—was packed as people came to hear a Gospel message from Billy Graham.

Photo: Russ Busby/©1973 BGEA

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