Like many around the world, Will Graham is getting pretty comfortable with livestreams. With COVID-19 postponing many of his in-person events, the evangelist has preached messages about Good Friday, Independence Day in the U.S. and more to an international audience through the internet.
Last week, Graham joined another livestream: a virtual conference for about 1,200 volunteers who serve with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s (BGEA) internet evangelism team.
Here’s how he answered six questions submitted by volunteers during a live Q&A session:
What was it like growing up as Billy Graham’s grandson?
“Being Billy Graham’s grandson was a wonderful privilege. When you look at Billy Graham, you see an evangelist. You see a famous person. I see those things, too, but I see something even deeper, and that’s he’s my grandfather.
“It’s a wonderful privilege, but it’s also living in a fish bowl. Everybody’s watching you. Everybody’s looking at you, seeing if you’re going to mess up, seeing what you’re going to do. [But] the advantages of being Billy Graham’s grandson outweigh any of the negatives by a long shot.”
What’s your advice for someone who feels called to full-time evangelism?
“That’s a wonderful calling in life. I wish we had more people being called into the gift of evangelism. I just want to encourage you, keep telling people about Jesus Christ. … Keep exercising that gift, and try to train others — friends, people at church. Find some others that have that gift, and encourage one another and practice that gift together.”
How do you balance family and ministry?
“That balance is always tough. …There’s no magic schedule, but I do have a wonderful wife that supports me in this ministry. My mom’s been like this with my dad, my grandmother with my grandfather — they’ve all been supportive. When you get married, you’ve got to be in this together. My wife is a gift of God, and I’m so grateful for her.”
Do you have any favourite ministry memories?
“I was in Australia, and I was preaching out in the country. [After preaching, a woman] came over and talked to me, and she said, ‘Will, my friends want me to share what happened to me tonight. I rededicated my life to Christ. I was on the verge of committing suicide and taking my daughter’s life, as well, because I’d lost all hope and I knew no one would take care of my daughter.’ I was just floored.
“I remember being in Hong Kong with my father, Franklin Graham. …We had over 40,000 people [at an event], and we had over 10,000 of them make a decision for Christ. Matter of fact, we had so many people make a decision that we couldn’t bring them down. …There was no room [up front], so we had to send the counsellors up into the stadium to counsel people.
“God prepares all this for us. I’ve been so blessed by all the great things I got to see and be a part of.”
Why is internet evangelism an important aspect of BGEA’s ministry?
“I think my grandmother and my grandfather would be so excited [to] know that you’re sitting there, and you’re talking as an individual to someone maybe halfway around the world or maybe even next door. But yet, you’re doing it personally. I think that’s why this ministry is so effective, because it’s really at the heart of what my granddaddy loved doing — telling people about Jesus Christ.
“You’re doing exactly what my grandparents did. They talked to people one-on-one. … God is using it in a mighty way.”
How would you encourage volunteers?
“Ministry is tiring, [but] what energises me more than anything else is doing ministry at the same time. It’s a hard thing to understand. You’re exhausted, but you’re excited at the same time. I want to encourage you, don’t grow weary. Find solace in God’s Word.
“The second thing I want to encourage you to do as you share God’s Word — keep doing it. …One of the greatest privileges in life is to see someone come to know Christ. And when that person makes that decision in coming to know Christ, guess what, that’s a miracle. …That which was once dead is now made alive.
“Thank you for helping us share the Good News of Jesus Christ. …Don’t grow tired. Trust in God’s Word. And never get over leading someone to Christ.”