Billy Graham's crusades are over.
But not really.
The 87-year-old evangelist has announc-ed that the New York City gathering in late June was his last full-blown crusade, but his messages live on because of modern technology. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has seen dramatic response from a three-part television program called My Hope that combines recorded crusade sermons from Billy and Franklin Graham and the film Road to Redemption.
The BGEA introduced My Hope in 2002 and has shown the program dubbed in local languages for 12 countries in Central and South America, plus Russia and Moldova.
Simple in concept, the 30-minute program has garnered a dramatic response: Nearly 1.9 million people have come forward after the televised invitation to commit their lives to Christ. The BGEA has distributed videotapes for groups and purchased national broadcast time. William Conard, BGEA vice president of international ministries, said they are working with 210,000 home groups in Argentina. Mexico is one of several countries being considered for the My Hope project in 2006.
"Billy and Franklin Graham say they've never seen response like this," Conard told CT in a telephone interview from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Rev. Bill Leonard, dean and professor of church history at Wake Forest University Divinity School, said the response illustrates the power of the message and the man preaching it.
"Graham and company have always made wise use of media, from their early radio shows to motion pictures and televised crusades," Leonard said. "It is yet another indication of the global strength of mass evangelism then and now."
Conard grew up on an Indiana farm listening to Billy Graham's Hour of Decision on the radio, finding inspiration ...1
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