Doing the Numbers at Billy's Crusade
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 participateevery church within 50 miles of the cityand 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.
Billy Graham in NYC:
- Billy Graham has long been a friend to Jewish community | No one knows how history will ultimately treat Billy Graham. But I am certain we will never see his like again. (A. James Rudin, Staten Island Advance, N.Y.)
- Publishing crusades: Warner Faith, Putnam on Graham | Time Magazine's Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy have been signed by Warner Faith to write on the evangelical leader's relationships with eleven presidents. Also making it unusual: the reverend is cooperating (PW Daily)
- Billy Graham and the city: A later look at his words | At first blush, it looked as if the Rev. Billy Graham and his crusade would have a tougher time than most as the preacher prepares for Friday's opening meeting (The New York Times)
- Faith and 70,000 folding chairs | Art Bailey's mandate is to build an urban "Field of Dreams" for those of the Christian persuasion (The New York Times)
- Followers will miss Graham's leadership | When the New York crusade is over, the voice of evangelical Christianity will grow quieter with the loss of its most recognizable figurehead during the past 50 years, say representatives of organizations central to Graham's roots (The Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs)
- Americans familiar with, fond of Billy Graham | One in six have heard him in person (Gallup News Service)
- Crusade will show a softer Graham | Evangelist, 86, says he's grown `more mellow and more forgiving' (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)
- The reverend and the newsman | Harry Smith meets Billy Graham. Again. (The Early Show, CBS)
- 'I hope they'll say that he was faithful' | The Rev. Billy Graham talks with NBC's Katie Couric about his final crusade in the U.S., his legacy and the difficulties of growing old (Today, NBC)
- Billy Graham returns to sin city for swansong | Frail and ailing, fire and brimstone preacher goes back to New York, eschewing politics to unite his flock (The Guardian, London)
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