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A Gathering of Souls: The Billy Graham Crusades Promo

Here is a promo for a film I produced with Larry Eskridge, “A Gathering of Souls: The Billy Graham Crusades”. The Rev. Billy Graham passed away on February 21, 2018. In 2012 I worked with Larry Eskridge from Wheaton College to produced a documentary, A Gathering of Souls: The Billy Graham Crusades. It was produced for the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College through a grant from the Lilly Endowment. You can order a DVD copy through Vision Video.

We recorded the open to this 50 minute documentary in Moshi, Tanzania. The site was chosen for two reason. 1. I was already in Tanzania with Godparents for Tanzania. 2. The 1960 Graham East African Crusade was a great example illustrating the enduring global impact of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on the lives of individual people from across the globe.

While producing this documentary, the possibility of actually meeting Graham came up. I declined to pursue it, mainly because Rev. Graham was in declining health and I didn’t want to be just one more person wanting a selfie with a famous person. Also, and most importantly, the Billy Graham Crusades were never really about Billy Graham. The BGA was a team effort from the get-go. Beyond the professionals, tens of thousands of local churches, pastors, and fundamentally, volunteer laypersons, poured years of effort into each crusade. Yes, he was the featured speaker, and yes, the organizations bore his name.

But my sense was that Billy Graham recognized that his public personality was nothing more than a useful tool in achieving his larger goal… evangelism. If Billy Graham thought they could draw crowds and change people’s lives by using a horse to tap out John 3:16 with its hoof, (they actually tried that) he would have done it.

Billy Graham was always about results. He would use any ethically responsible means at his disposal to preach the Gosple to as many people as he could. He just happened to have a great personality and an uncanny ability to preach in a way that struck a chord in millions of peoples hearts. Billy Graham always gave the glory to God alone.

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