Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Reaching a New Generation for Christ Through Music
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 31, 2011 – Through the years, the music at Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) outreach events may have changed, but the purpose remains the same – reaching people with the Gospel. In Denver and Milwaukee, youth and families gathered together this summer at Rock the Range and Rock the Lakes events. In the next Billy Graham television special, airing on Christian networks and online beginning Oct. 31, viewers see how these high-energy music and Gospel message events are reaching a new generation for Christ.
Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the BGEA, said “We’ve seen hundreds of young people put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.”
Beginning in the late 1940’s, Billy Graham circled the world preaching the Gospel at Crusades. In those days, events were filled with massive choirs and organ music. Today, Franklin Graham, the second generation to preach under the BGEA name, shares the stage with Christian rockers and hip-hop artists. Rock the Lakes Milwaukee, Rock the Range Denver and Rock the River Winnipeg are just a few of the Franklin Graham Festivals held in 2011, each attracting thousands of teenagers. The events featured such popular Christian performers as The Almost, The Afters, Lecrae and Skillet.
According to Sharon Wilson, who was a counselor at the Denver Crusade in 1965, the generation she was raised in may not understand how effective this new style of music is in reaching teens today. “I don’t want our generation to discount these younger bands, because I think they’ve got a real message,” said Wilson.
As a high school senior, Sharon accompanied her father, who was a pastor, to trainings for volunteers for a Billy Graham Crusade. In the television program, she recalls having the opportunity to pray with a couple and share Jesus with them at the 1965 event. Sharon’s teenage granddaughter, Maddie, became a counselor for the Rock the Range event in Denver in August.
Aaron Gillespie of the band The Almost made Sharon’s point clear in his message to the crowd. “You were made with a purpose today. You were bought with a price; the price of the blood of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that God has a plan for you, and it’s a good one - a plan to prosper you; a plan to give you a future. You have a future in Jesus Christ.”
To learn more about Franklin Graham Festivals, or to watch the program online, visit www.billygraham.tv.
About the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association?The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) proclaims the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the world by every effective means available. From its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., BGEA directs a wide range of domestic and international ministries, including: large-scale festivals led by evangelists Franklin Graham and Will Graham; Dare to Be a Daniel, a youth evangelism training project; My Hope World Evangelism Through Television; the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team of crisis-trained chaplains; and many others through print, television, telephone, radio and the Internet. For more information, please visit www.billygraham.org. Get news updates on Twitter at Twitter.com/BGEAnews.