The Secrets to Graham’s Success

Five factors that show why the evangelist turned the world upside down.
When D. L. Moody died in 1899, the evangelical world felt his loss deeply. More than anyone else in his day, Moody, the rough-hewn shoe salesman turned evangelist, had motivated Christians on both sides of the Atlantic for the work of evangelism. In doing so, he had become a force for evangelical unity and gospel advance. The question on the lips of nearly everyone was, “Who will be the next D. L. Moody?”
Then Billy Graham was born in Charlotte in 1918. Graham carried Moody’s “passion for souls” to the ends of the earth. He became, along with Pope John Paul II, one of the great shapers of the world Christian movement. Yet Graham, a dairy farm hand and Fuller Brush huckster, was no less likely than Moody to fulfill such a calling. What was the secret of Billy Graham’s evangelistic success? Here are five factors:
Graham spent 18 months as the pastor of a small church near Chicago, but from the beginning it was clear that he was called to be an evangelist. He had a burning compassion to call lost men and women to faith in Jesus Christ; he did this faithfully, consistently, and single-mindedly. Graham shunned opportunities in politics, business, and entertainment to “do the work of an evangelist,” yet he had an impact in each of these fields. His single-mindedness brought him criticism as well as praise. In 1952, two years before Brown vs. the Board of Education, Graham walked down from the crusade platform in Jackson, Mississippi, and personally removed the barrier separating whites and blacks. Later he commended the work of Martin Luther King and invited him to pray in his crusades. Though Graham did not march in Selma, King acknowledged that Graham’s ministry …Continue reading…