In September 1950, my father was conducting a Crusade in Portland, Ore. Thousands were born again as they responded to the preaching of the Gospel, but as the final evening approached, God was also at work giving birth to the ministry that would soon become the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
My father had met briefly that day with two gentlemen from Philadelphia who felt strongly that he should go on the radio to proclaim the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. After listening to their proposal, my father thought for a moment and said, “All right fellows, if before midnight tonight I should get $25,000 for the purpose of a radio broadcast, I’ll take that as an answer to prayer and be willing to do a national broadcast.”
At the Crusade that night, my father alluded to the request, and afterward he was amazed to see that the audience of 17,000 had given $24,000 for a radio ministry. Still, that was $1,000 short. When he returned to his hotel room, he found two letters awaiting him postmarked two days earlier. They each contained $500 from businessmen who believed my father should go on radio and preach the Gospel.
To handle the funds and launch the radio ministry, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was chartered just a few days later in Minneapolis, Minn., where my father was president of Northwestern Schools.
Since then, the BGEA has proclaimed Jesus Christ as “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) to millions of people around the world. Through Crusades, broadcasts and other means, we have preached the Gospel of salvation through repentance and faith in Christ. For six decades, the message has never changed—all people are sinners in need of a Savior.
We always have been and always will be an evangelistic ministry. That means we proclaim the Good News of salvation at every turn, always inviting those who listen to turn from their sins and come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. As one well-known preacher has said, “There is no proclamation without an invitation, and no invitation without a proclamation.”
The Gospel of Christ alone can deliver from the power of sin, the captivity of Satan and the grip of eternal death. As the Holy Spirit uses the preaching of the Word, that bondage is broken and those who believe become new creations in Christ. Is there anything more wonderful and glorious?
As my father nears his 92nd birthday this November, he thanks God for the ways He continues to use BGEA to lead men and women to faith in the Lord. Our World Evangelism Through Television My Hope project has seen millions saved in dozens of countries as believers invited their unsaved friends and family into their homes to hear my father and me preach on TV. Our Rock the River youth events have seen thousands of young people receive Christ as Savior and Lord as I have the opportunity to present the Gospel several times throughout the day.
The Bible says in the Book of Revelation that as Christ is about to return an angel flies in the heavens with “the eternal gospel to proclaim to whose who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people” (Revelation 14:6). The angel announces to all, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water” (Revelation 14:7).
By God’s grace, we have had the privilege and responsibility of proclaiming that everlasting Gospel for 60 years. By His grace, and the power of His Spirit, we will continue to be faithful to preach Christ crucified and risen for as many days as He sovereignly gives us.
To Him be the glory!
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version.