Posted by: grantmiho | February 22, 2018

The Legacy of Billy Graham

“It is difficult to imagine a world without Billy Graham,” relates long-time Gordon-Conwell professor Dr. Garth Rosell. “For the better part of a century, his has been the voice that everyone recognized; his has been the character that everyone admired; and his has been the message that gave hope to thousands around the globe. He walked among kings and presidents but he never lost the common touch. He preached to millions but he never lost his own sense of humility. He enjoyed access to the rich and powerful, but lived modestly in his rustic Black Mountain home.”

We all have our heroes. As a pastor and missionary, there are several men who have greatly shaped me and inspire me. But, Billy Graham was the GOAT of evangelists in the last millennia. He embodied what I loved about my top three heroes. He had the evangelistic zeal of DL Moody; the pioneering spirit (through crusades, TV, radio, Christianity Today, Lausanne, Gordon-Conwell Seminary, etc.) of David Livingstone; and was a dynamic communicator like John Maxwell.

I have been shaped in many ways by this man. My grandparents came to faith through an evangelistic event with his colleague, and the father of my Gordon-Conwell professor quoted above, Merv Rosell. Grandpa Eddie and Grandma Ruthie impacted me greatly in my faith and life. I began my missionary work with OM, which was founded by George Verwer; who as a teen came to Christ through Billy Graham. I then studied at Gordon-Conwell, which he was instrumental in founding (through merging two schools) and also provided me a generous scholarship in his name.

He is admired for his ability to bring people together. He sought to unite Christians of all backgrounds around the central goal of bringing the Gospel to the world. He worked hard to bring together those from different cultures and races, whether in the Civil Rights of America or through Lausanne (giving voice to the majority world Christian leaders). He tried to find a middle way in the polarities of politics, seeking to counsel and influence those on both the right and left. In our day, we need more leaders like him. Working together for God’s mission. Building bridges instead of walls. Empowering younger leaders. Finishing with integrity.

There is a reason he consistently would be ranked at the top of polls in who people admire or trust. May this next generation see more leaders like him rise up. Who remain humble in spite of the spotlight or fame. Who care for all people even if they walk among the powerful. Who live with integrity at home and in their work.

May it be said of us like it will be said of Billy Graham, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” May you also anticipate the joy of heaven because of the great love and grace offered by Jesus.

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