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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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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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Doing the Numbers at Billy's Crusade
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