My Burden for America's Youth
June 1, 2009
by Franklin Graham
For the past six decades, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has been proclaiming the only message that can liberate men from the penalty and power of sin—the saving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In large stadiums in hundreds of cities, millions have gathered to hear my father and me preach the Good News of Christ’s sacrificial death for sin and his triumphant resurrection, defeating death and sin.
The message never changes— “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 8:13, NIV). Times change, though, and so have some of our events. We are always looking for new ways to compellingly present the Gospel.
Before even 25 percent of American homes had televisions, my father was already preaching on NBC. Years before the Civil Rights Act, he organized racially integrated meetings in the Old South. Ahead of the Internet, he used satellite technology to proclaim the Gospel in 185 countries at once. At the height of the Cold War, he was preaching behind the Iron Curtain.
We are engaged in an intensifying struggle, where the demonic forces of secularism and hedonism are trying to deceive and enslave the youth of America, seeking to capture an entire generation.
We are going to do all we can to shine the light of God’s liberating truth into the darkness, waging war against the enemy with weapons that are “divinely powerful”
(2 Corinthians 10:4 ).
This summer in the heartland of America, the BGEA is going to battle for the souls of our children and grandchildren. Along the length of the Mississippi River, from Baton Rouge to St. Louis, the Quad Cities, and Minneapolis/St. Paul, we are holding a series of youth-focused evangelistic outdoor concerts called “Rock the River.”
On the surface, these events won’t look much like my father’s Crusades. Instead of stadiums, we will be meeting in parks. Instead of a series of nightly sermons, we will have all-day Saturday events with lots of activities and music by cutting-edge Christian bands. The crowds will be young and exuberant. The atmosphere will be loud and fun.
Yet the goal and message will be the same—to win souls through the proclamation of the Gospel. My father and I share a burden for the young people of America. We see them searching for meaning in their lives but not finding it in school, on TV or online. So many of them are growing up in families that never go to church, or in broken homes where they have never experienced the kind of love that God intended.
Rock the River will go upstream. We are going against the tide of ungodly culture, against the empty messages of sex and pleasure, and instead boldly presenting the riches and fullness of God’s great grace and goodness.
Pray that thousands of young people will be drawn by the Holy Spirit to attend Rock the River. Pray that He will convict them of sin, and bring true repentance. Pray that young hearts and minds will be drawn to the only Person who can truly satisfy—the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you have children or grandchildren or know young people in the region, encourage them to go. Come if you possibly can as well, and watch as God’s Spirit works powerfully and redemptively to rescue the perishing, and save the lost.