Reflections on working for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
I’ll never forget my first day of work when I drove up to the entrance to the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. As I drove up the tree-sheltered road at the front gate, anticipation started building in me. When I walked into the front lobby of Blue Ridge Broadcasting, the radio ministry Billy Graham started in 1962, immediately I saw the picture of Billy and Ruth hanging over the fireplace. All around the station were pictures of Graham preaching at different crusades, on the radio and later on television. For anyone who has ever worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, there’s a feeling that you want to maintain the legacy of Billy Graham. He represented Jesus so well, and I always felt like, “I sure hope I don’t mess this up.”
I met Billy Graham one time in 2011. He came to the staff picnic that was thrown yearly for around 500 employees. I was standing by the entrance to the tent, where everyone was gathered, when everyone started clapping. I turned and Billy Graham had been rolled in beside me. He paused, looked at my one-year-old baby and smiled. You could feel the warmth emanating from him. He loved kids. Later at that same picnic he joked about how he told a lady on a plane how many grandkids he had and she was horrified and asked how he ever got any rest.
What struck me most about working for the association was the countless people who would come by, who all had variations on the same story – Billy Graham helped point them to Jesus. From truck drivers who would stop by the Cove, to the UPS delivery driver to artists like Matthew West and Selah they all had a story to share of Graham’s impact. They had seen Billy Graham at a crusade, heard him on the radio or watched him on TV and his message had changed their lives. And while Billy Graham is no longer with us, that’s why people are talking about him worldwide, because his message is timeless. It was never about Billy Graham. It was always about Billy Graham’s best friend, Jesus. The good news is Billy Graham’s best friend wants to be your best friend too.
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