Reaching Generations to Come
June 1, 2006 - “An ongoing Crusade ...” Until the vision for the Billy Graham Library was explained in these terms, Billy Graham was against the idea of a library bearing his name, so adamant was he against anything that would detract from the message he has preached for 60 years—a message that points to Christ alone as the way to God and away from any human strategy or effort to gain salvation.
by Amanda Knoke
When the concept of the Library was described to Mr. Graham as a “Crusade” that would continue for generations to come, he reconsidered. “When it was presented as an ongoing ministry and that people would have the opportunity to be won to Christ, I changed my mind,” he said.
In line with Mr. Graham’s wishes, the Library’s core experience will be the Gospel presentation and the transforming power it has on a life that says yes to Jesus Christ.
Currently under construction yards away from Billy Graham’s ministry headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., the Library is organized around the themes of “The Man,” “The Ministry” and “The Message,” with the message being pre-eminent: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The ministry is taking that message to the ends of the earth. And the story of the man focuses on what God did in the life of a young farm boy who grew up in rural North Carolina, committed his life to Jesus Christ at a local revival and, through God’s grace manifested in him, became what many consider “America’s preacher” and evangelist to the world.
Reminiscent of Billy Graham’s upbringing on a dairy farm on the outskirts of Charlotte, the Library building is styled after a dairy barn, and his boyhood home will be replicated a short walk from the main Library complex. The entrance to the Library is in the shape of a cross, a visual reminder to visitors that it is only through the Cross of Christ that we can be reconciled to God. The Library will include a bookstore with resources helpful for the Christian walk, as well as a café where visitors may linger, have a bite to eat and discuss what they have seen.
Rooms in the Library will be organized mainly chronologically by decade: “God’s Mosaic-1940s,” “The World Discovers Billy Graham-1950s,” “Response to Troubled Times-1960s,” “Restoring the Priorities of Evangelism-1970s,” “Equipping Others-1980s” and “Evangelist to the World-1990s to Present.” Guests will see a continuously updated presentation on BGEA’s current and future worldwide ministry.
The tour will begin and end with multimedia presentations, the first to lay a foundation for what guests will encounter in the exhibits and, at the end, another to consider the same call Billy Graham has extended to millions of others in 185 countries.
“We are not lifting up or pointing to Billy Graham,” says son Franklin Graham. “We are pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.” According to Franklin, throughout the tour visitors will hear the Gospel presented repeatedly and will have opportunity to respond to the message they are hearing. He adds that every employee and volunteer at the Library, from the bookstore workers to the receptionist to the janitor, will be able to pray with any guest who wants to commit his or her life to Jesus Christ.
The Billy Graham Library is not a memorial, nor is it a museum. The Billy Graham Library is a ministry, prayerfully planned with the intention of communicating the unchanging, life-giving message of Jesus Christ to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who may never attend another Crusade. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will use the Library to draw many people to faith in Christ alone for salvation and the forgiveness of sin.
If you live in the Charlotte, NC metro area and would like to be involved in this exciting ministry, apply now to volunteer at the Billy Graham Library using our online form. We would be honored to have you join our team of volunteers in the Lord’s service!
The Billy Graham Library is scheduled to open in early 2007. A formal dedication will be held in the spring. For further updates, visit the Billy Graham Library online.