Library Reopens Jan. 21; Launches 'Friends' Initiative
'Friends of the Library' to Help Continue Legacy
January 20, 2013 - During what would become Billy Graham’s first crusade in 1949, a base of supporters would come to the tent every day—for weeks—to pray for that evening’s meeting. The prayer was so intense that Cliff Barrows said the sawdust was literally wet with tears. More than 60 years later, the Gospel message is the same, and we need an army of passionate supporters more than ever.
"We want this experience to always be free so that no one will be kept from the Good News of Jesus Christ."
By Joy Allmond
“Billy Graham has always said that the three most important things to this ministry are prayer, prayer and prayer,” said David Yerry, director of development for the Billy Graham Library.
“I’ve heard many say something similar, but that truly is the ethos of who we are as an organization. Historically, BGEA has been supported by an army of individuals who pray for us fervently as well as give modest amounts of financial support on a regular basis.”
Yerry has been an eyewitness to this kind of loyalty during his years with the ministry, particularly during his days in the mailroom.
“It wasn’t unheard of to see three stamps or a nickel in a donation envelope. That’s literally all some people had to give. For those donors, that truly was sacrificial giving, and that is what really made us the organization we’ve been over the years.“
Now, BGEA hopes to continue this legacy of prayer and financial support through a new program called Friends of the Library.
When a donor commits to a gift of $20 or more per month, he or she becomes a Friend of the Library and will receive several benefits, including:
- Access to special events not available to the general public
- Purchase discounts in Ruth’s Attic bookstore in the Library and in the Graham Brothers Dairy Bar, the in-Library café
- Free parking during Christmas at the Library
- Commemorative lapel pin
- Newsletter with testimonies from the Library as well as inside information
The Library will reopen on January 21 after a temporary closure due to routine maintenance, and soon thereafter will kick off its next special event, “How Sweet the Sound: A Tribute to George Beverly Shea.” This exhibit will begin Feb. 1, Shea’s 104th birthday, and will run through March 31. Some of the things Library visitors will see include:
- Shea’s Lifetime Achievement Grammy
- The suit Shea wore to receive his Lifetime Achievement Grammy
- The piano he used to compose the melody for the classic hymn “I’d rather Have Jesus”
- A documentation of his early beginnings
On Feb. 7, Friends of the Library will have the opportunity to attend an invitation-only meet and greet event with Ron Shea, “Bev’s” son. Light hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served as Ron visits with guests and shares anecdotes about his father.
Friends will have other special opportunities throughout the year, such as exclusive access to meet and greet events with authors prior to book signings.
Building a Connection
“We want to build a family connection with people who become Friends of the Library, as they come to visit us more frequently through these events,” Yerry said. “The lapel pins will serve a purpose; by wearing them when they visit, we can recognize these friends and thank them for partnering with us to continue spreading the Gospel through this ongoing Crusade.
“These events are keys to building relationships with the Friends of the Library. We want to create engagement with them in an ongoing way, so that they truly are friends. Friends get together and do things.”
Continuing the Work of the Gospel
Since its inception, the Billy Graham Library has been referenced as “an ongoing Crusade,” and BGEA intends to keep this legacy of ministry strong through prayer and the support of Friends of the Library.
“We want people who are passionate about the Library,” Yerry said. “One of the key things we want to do is to continue to proclaim ‘one powerful message for generations to come.’ People are constantly coming to Christ through the message they hear at the Library.”
As a center of ministry, the Billy Graham Library is not about a man, but about a Message—a Message of freedom. And the very best thing in life is free.
“We need an army of prayer partners and monthly financial supporters who will stand with the Billy Graham Library,” said Franklin Graham. “So my father’s ongoing Crusade can continue for generations to come—until Christ returns.”
“We want this experience to always be free so that no one will be kept from the Good News of Jesus Christ,” he added. “The Gospel is free.”
Will you be a part of God's story? Become a Friend of the Library today!