In the recent news, we have heard of the death of the great evangelist Billy Graham.
This was particularly well covered in the Church Times:
BILLY GRAHAM, one of the most influential religious figures of the 20th century, died at home in Montreal, North Carolina, on Wednesday. He was 99.
Dr Graham became a Christian at the age of 16 and was ordained a Southern Baptist minister in 1939. He became a full-time evangelist when he joined the new movement Youth for Christ in 1945, but did not come to prominence until four years later, during seven weeks of revival meetings in Los Angeles.
Dr Graham hit the world stage during the Greater London Crusade at Harringay in 1954, during which time he met the Queen, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and Sir Winston Churchill, who was Prime Minister at the time. Many British Christians have dated their conversion to that campaign.
In his own country, Dr Graham was said to be an unofficial spiritual adviser to Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon and preached at the latter’s funeral. He was close to many US Presidents and was visited by them all, including Barack Obama. In his early days, he was also outspoken against Communism but latterly sought to avoid being pigeonholed. He was a supporter of the civil-rights movement in the United States and insisted that any rally he led must be racially integrated.
In his lifetime, Dr Graham conducted more than 400 evangelistic campaigns in 185 countries. His writings sold well, particularly his first book, Peace with God".
The news of Dr Graham's death is particularly poignant to myself as it was in 1984 at a Billy Graham Crusade at Roker Park in Sunderland that I gave my life to Christ.
He has also acted to many as a role model demonstrating the heart of an evangelist inspiring many to follow in his footsteps. His example, however, has probably put many off the role of evangelist as most of us feel totally out of his league when it comes to sharing the gospel.
If this is you, I would point you to someone else, a somewhat unknown travelling evangelist Rev. Mordecai Ham. It was Rev. Ham who led a revival meeting in 1934 on the farm on which Billy Graham lived. It was at this meeting that Dr Graham experienced the transforming power of God - the rest of history.
Whether you are Billy Graham or a Moredcai Ham we need to share the love of God and the message of salvation we have in Jesus.
As you share your faith you might be speaking to the next Billy Graham.