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It will take $6.8 million, 20 languages, 1,424 churches, 81 denominations, 6,000 volunteer counselors, 93 acres, one armored car, 70,000 chairs, 43 preparation seminars, 30 paid staff, years of work, and one Billy Graham to pull off this weekend's New York City crusade. Oh yeah, and lots of prayer by 35,000 prayer warriors.

The New York Times elaborates the massive preparations it takes to pull off a BGEA crusade. "However lofty the three-day crusade's spiritual goals, the worldly preparations for a huge religious event can be mighty impressive, too."

The BGEA invited 12,000 churches to participate—every church within 50 miles of the city—and 1,400 agreed to. It will be the largest number of participating churches ever to host a crusade, and it will take that many to fill Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

For Art Bailey, the crusade's director, it's been a tough job. "Mr. Bailey uses a stray tennis ball as a stress ball. To appease mental jitters, he turns to the soft-sided Bible on his desk in the rented Midtown office where he has been doing advance work; the Bible, held together by duct tape, is in the final stages of disintegration. It's been a long year," writes The New York Times.

But Bailey knows the importance of his work. He had left the church, but mid-career "Mr. Bailey hit rock bottom spiritually—'I didn't see myself amounting to anything'—before returning to the church. What had he lacked? 'Significance and security. There's a universal solution for that problem, and that's Christ.'"

A few years later, Bailey began directing Graham's crusades, and thousands more have experienced that same transformation.

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June 2005

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