Billy Graham Ministries
Where is Billy Graham Ministries located?
In 1950, Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) with its headquarters in Minneapolis. The association relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1999. BGEA ministries have included: Hour of Decision, a weekly radio program broadcast around the world for more than 50 years.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) is a non-profit Christian outreach organization.
The BGEA has a variety of aims including internet evangelism, the Decision America Tour, The Billy Graham Channel on SiriusXM, “crusade-style” events in cities around the world, disaster response through the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, television broadcasts, podcasts and audio programs, Decision magazine, and evangelism training. The BGEA also includes the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in Asheville, North Carolina and the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The organization was founded in 1950 by Billy Graham in Minneapolis, Minnesota during Graham’s time in the region; it later moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.
In August 2018, six months after Graham’s death, the BGEA partnered with Sirius XM Holdings to create a permanent Billy Graham Channel featuring Graham’s past sermons.The organization was originally known for its radio program, The Hour of Decision, which was first broadcast in 1950 and continued for more than 60 years.
Franklin Graham, the oldest son of Billy and Ruth Graham, is the president and CEO of the BGEA. In 2018, Franklin Graham took his Decision America Tour to 17 cities in Washington, Oregon, and California. Franklin Graham visited all 50 state capitals in a 2016 tour which over 230,000 people attended, according to the BGEA.
Several times a year, Franklin Graham and his oldest son, Will Graham, preach at evangelistic crusade events in different parts of the world.The events are modeled after the crusades Billy Graham was known for holding, many of which were broadcast on national television.
The BGEA’s internet evangelism ministry, Search for Jesus, was launched in 2011. The outreach is aimed at sharing the Christian Gospel with people around the world through websites in multiple languages. More than 50 million people have visited the websites since 2011, according to the BGEA.
The organization produces a television special each month, which is broadcast on TV stations across the United States and posted online. The organization also publishes Decision magazine monthly.
The BGEA began an international evangelism project in 2002 called My Hope, in which Christians invite friends, neighbors and relatives to their homes to watch a national telecast featuring Billy or Franklin Graham, translated into their language. BGEA claims that the project saw more than 9.8 million people “make decisions for Christ.”
Billy Graham and his ministry were also instrumental in founding Christianity Today Magazine, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, and the Internet Evangelism Coalition.
BGEA’s Charlotte headquarters is the site of the Billy Graham Library, which was formally dedicated on May 31, 2007, with former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton in attendance. Former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and sitting President Donald Trump visited the Billy Graham Library to pay their respects following Billy Graham’s death
William (Billy) F. Graham, Jr.
Evangelist and Chairman of the Board
Evangelist Billy Graham took Christ literally when He said in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”
Mr. Graham preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history—nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories—through various meetings, including Mission World and Global Mission. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film, and webcasts.
Beginning with the 1949 Los Angeles Crusade, which vaulted Mr. Graham into the public eye, he led hundreds of thousands of individuals to make personal decisions to live for Christ, the main thrust of his decades-long ministry.
Born November 7, 1918, four days before the Armistice ended World War I, Mr. Graham was reared on a dairy farm in Charlotte, N.C. Growing up during the Depression, he learned the value of hard work on the family farm, but he also found time to spend many hours in the hayloft reading books on a wide variety of subjects.
In the fall of 1934, at age 15, Mr. Graham made a personal commitment to Christ through the ministry of Mordecai Ham, a traveling evangelist, who visited Charlotte for a series of revival meetings.
Ordained in 1939 by Peniel Baptist Church in Palatka, Fla. (a church in the Southern Baptist Convention), Mr. Graham received a solid foundation in the Scriptures at Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College of Florida). In 1943 he graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois and married fellow student Ruth McCue Bell, daughter of a missionary surgeon, who spent the first 17 years of her life in China.
After graduating from college, Mr. Graham pastored The Village Church of Western Springs (now Western Springs Baptist Church) in Western Springs, Ill., before joining Youth for Christ, an organization founded for ministry to youth and servicemen during World War II. He preached throughout the United States and in Europe in the immediate post war era, emerging as a rising young evangelist.
The Los Angeles Crusade in 1949 launched Mr. Graham into international prominence. Scheduled for three weeks, the meetings were extended to more than eight weeks, with overflow crowds filling a tent erected downtown each night.
Many of his subsequent early Crusades were similarly extended, including one in London that lasted 12 weeks, and a New York City Crusade in Madison Square Garden in 1957 that ran nightly for 16 weeks.
Today, Mr. Graham’s ministry is known around the globe. He preached in remote African villages and in the heart of New York City, and those to whom he ministered have ranged from heads of state to the simple living bushmen of Australia and the wandering tribes of Africa and the Middle East. Beginning in 1977, Mr. Graham was given the opportunity to conduct preaching missions in virtually every country of the former Eastern bloc, including the former Soviet Union.
In 2013, Mr. Graham had the vision for proclaiming the Gospel across the United States and Canada, prompting the implementation of My Hope with Billy Graham, a grassroots evangelism outreach combining personal relationships with the power of modern media. Based upon a pioneering outreach that had already resulted in millions of decisions for Christ around the world since 2002, churches and individual Christians across the two countries were encouraged and equipped to pray and reach out to friends, family and neighbors using a powerful new film from BGEA. Approaching 95 years of age, Mr. Graham recorded a new video message, called “The Cross,” for the project, which was made available for use in homes and churches as a tool for sharing the Gospel.
Mr. Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in 1950, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., until relocating to Charlotte, N.C., in 2003. Through BGEA’s ministry, Mr. Graham started:
the weekly “Hour of Decision” radio program, which was heard around the world for more than 60 years;
television programs that are still broadcast today on national Christian networks.
a syndicated newspaper column, “My Answer,” which is carried by newspapers both nationally and internationally; and
“Decision” magazine, the official publication of the Association, which has a circulation of more than 425,000, making it one of the most widely circulated religious periodicals in the world;
Mr. Graham wrote 33 books, many of which became top sellers. His autobiography “Just As I Am,” published in 1997, achieved a “triple crown,” appearing simultaneously on the three top best-seller lists in one week. In it, Mr. Graham reflected on his life, and decades of ministry around the world. From humble beginnings as the son of a dairy farmer in North Carolina, he shared how his unwavering faith in Christ formed and shaped his career.
Mr. Graham’s most recent works included “Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond” (2015), “The Reason for My Hope: Salvation” (2013), “The Heaven Answer Book” (2012), “Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well” (2011) and “Storm Warning” (2010). “Nearing Home” was selected as the 2012 Christian Book of the Year by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Of his other books, “Approaching Hoofbeats: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” (1983) was listed for several weeks on The New York Times best-seller list; “How to Be Born Again” (1977) had the largest first printing in publishing history at the time with 800,000 copies; “Angels: God’s Secret Agents” (1975) sold one million copies within 90 days; and “The Jesus Generation” (1971) sold 200,000 copies in the first two weeks.
Mr. Graham’s counsel was sought by presidents, and his appeal in both the secular and religious arenas is evidenced by the wide range of groups that have honored him, including numerous honorary doctorates from many institutions in the U.S. and abroad.
Recognitions include the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award (2000) for contributions to the cause of freedom; the Congressional Gold Medal (1996); the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion (1982); and the Big Brother Award for his work on behalf of the welfare of children (1966). In 1964 he received the Speaker of the Year Award and was cited by the George Washington Carver Memorial Institute for his contributions to race relations. He was recognized by the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith in 1969 and the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1971 for his efforts to foster a better understanding among all faiths. In December 2001 he was presented with an honorary knighthood, Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE), for his international contribution to civic and religious life over 60 years.
Mr. Graham was listed by the Gallup organization as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men in the World” whom it described as the dominant figure in that poll since 1948—making an unparalleled 61st appearance and 55th consecutive appearance in 2017. He also appeared on the covers of Time, Newsweek, Life, U.S. News and World Report, Parade and numerous other magazines and was the subject of many newspaper and magazine feature articles and books.
Mr. Graham lost his wife of nearly 64 years, Ruth Bell Graham, in June of 2007. Together they had three daughters, two sons, 19 grandchildren, 44 great-grandchildren and 6 great-great-grandchildren. Mr. Graham lived in their home in the mountains of North Carolina until his death on Feb. 21, 2018.
BILLY GRAHAM MEMORIAL SITE
William (Billy) F. Graham, Jr.
November 7, 1918
Charlotte, North Carolina
February 21, 2018
William Franklin Graham, Sr. (deceased 1962) and Morrow Coffey Graham (deceased 1981)
Ruth McCue Bell, 1943 (deceased 2007)
Anne Morrow, 1948
Ruth Bell, 1950
William Franklin, III, 1952
Nelson Edman, 1958
19 grandchildren, 44 great-grandchildren and 6 great-great-grandchildren
In the mountains of western North Carolina
Graduated, Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College of Florida), 1940
B.A., Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, 1943
1939: Ordained to the ministry by Peniel Baptist Church, Palatka, Fla. (a church in the Southern Baptist Convention)
1941: Pastor, The United Gospel Tabernacle, Wheaton, Illinois
1943-45: Pastor, The Village Church of Western Springs (now Western Springs Baptist Church), Western Springs, Ill.
1945-50: Charter Vice President, Youth for Christ International, Chicago, Ill.
1947-52: President, Northwestern Schools, consisting of three institutions: a liberal arts college, Bible school and theological seminary
1950 — : Founded Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Minneapolis, Minn.
1950 — : Began weekly “Hour of Decision” radio program, which was heard around the world for more than 60 years
1947: Calling Youth to Christ
1952: Author of syndicated newspaper column “My Answer” carried by newspapers across the country with a combined circulation of 5,000,000 readers
1953: I Saw Your Sons at War
1953: Peace With God — over 2 million copies sold in 38 languages, revised and expanded in 1984
1955: Freedom from the Seven Deadly Sins
1955: The Secret of Happiness
1958: Billy Graham Talks to Teenagers
1960: My Answer
1960: Billy Graham Answers Your Questions
1965: World Aflame — The New York Times and Time magazine Best-Seller Lists for several weeks
1969: The Challenge
1971: The Jesus Generation
1975: Angels: God’s Secret Agents — Publishers Weekly & The New York Times Best-Seller Lists (21 weeks each); Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) Platinum Book Award
1977: How to Be Born Again
1978: The Holy Spirit — ECPA Gold Book Award
1981: Till Armageddon — ECPA Platinum Book Award
1983: Approaching Hoofbeats: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse — The New York Times Best-Seller List; ECPA Gold Book Award
1984: A Biblical Standard for Evangelists
1986: Unto the Hills
1987: Facing Death and the Life After — Christian Booksellers Association Best-Seller List (21 weeks)
1988: Answers to Life’s Problems
1991: Hope for the Troubled Heart
1992: Storm Warning
1997: Just As I Am
2002: Hope for Each Day
2003: The Key To Personal Peace
2005: Living in God’s Love: The New York Crusade
2006: The Journey
2008: Wisdom For Each Day
2010: Storm Warning
2011: Nearing Home: Life, Faith and Finishing Well
2012: The Heaven Answer Book
2013: The Reason for My Hope: Salvation
2015: Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity and Our Life Beyond
Awards and Honors
The following is a partial list of the numerous awards received by Mr. Graham:
Ten Most Admired Men in the World from the Gallup Poll since 1948—a total of 61 times, including 55 consecutive as of 2017—more than any other individual in the world, placing him at the head of the overall list of those most admired by Americans for the past six decades
Clergyman of the Year from the National Pilgrim Society
Distinguished Service Medal of the Salvation Army
Who’s Who in America annually since 1954
Freedoms Foundation Distinguished Persons Award (numerous years)
Gold Medal Award, National Institute of Social Science, New York, 1957
Annual Gutenberg Award of the Chicago Bible Society, 1962
Gold Award of the George Washington Carver Memorial Institute, 1964, for contribution to race relations, presented by Senator Javits (NY)
Speaker of the Year Award, 1964
Golden Plate Award, American Academy of Achievement, 1965
Horatio Alger Award, 1965
National Citizenship Award by the Military Chaplains Association of the U.S.A., 1965
Wisdom Award of Honor, 1965
Big Brother of the Year Award, at the White House, Washington, D.C.,1966, for contribution to the welfare of children
The Torch of Liberty Plaque by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, 1969
George Washington Honor Medal from Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, for his sermon The Violent Society, 1969
Honored by Morality in Media for “fostering the principles of truth, taste, inspiration and love in media,” 1969
International Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1971
Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters, 1972
Franciscan International Award, 1972
Sylvanus Thayer Award from United States Military Academy Association of Graduates at West Point (The most prestigious award the United States Military Academy gives to a U.S. citizen), 1972
George Washington Medal Award for Patriotism from Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, 1974
Direct Selling Association’s Salesman of the Decade award, 1975
Philip Award from the Association of United Methodist Evangelists, 1976
First National Interreligious Award, American Jewish Committee, 1977
Distinguished Communications Medal, Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission, 1977
Jabotinsky Centennial Medal presented by The Jabotinsky Foundation, 1980
Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame award, 1981
Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion award, 1982
Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award,1983
National Religious Broadcasters Award of Merit, 1986
North Carolina Award in Public Service, 1986
Good Housekeeping Most Admired Men Poll, 1997, #1 for five years in a row and 16th time in top 10
Congressional Gold Medal, highest honor Congress can bestow on a private citizen, 1996
Inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame by the Gospel Music Association –the first non-musician to be inducted, 1999
Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award, for monumental and lasting contributions to the cause of freedom, 2000
Honorary Knight Commander of the order of the British Empire (KBE) for his international contribution to civic and religious life over 60 years, 2001
Charlotte Broadcast Hall of Fame, inaugural class, 2015
Many honorary degrees