What is a Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusade?

It is a concerted effort by Christians in a specified community or area to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the attention of every person in that community or area.

For business and tax reasons, each crusade is incorporated under the laws of the appropriate state as a non-profit corporation.

What is the usual length of a crusade and how is it determined?

Currently, most crusades are a maximum of five days in length and are sometimes less. This decision also is made by Mr. Graham, after consultation and consideration of many factors, primarily his personal schedule. Shorter crusades enable him to schedule more appearances and thereby ultimately reach more parts of the world.

What is the difference between a crusade and a rally?

They are identical in purpose--to persuade individuals to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord--and the fundamental principles of their procedures are the same. A crusade may be described as a more massive effort which has greater preparation, is longer in duration and has a broader potential impact on a community than does a rally. A "rally" usually includes public meetings on only one day.

Who invites Mr. Graham to conduct a crusade in a specified community?

The invitation usually originates with a ministerial association or a similar organization cooperating with other groups including many churches and denominations. It is normally accepted 18 to 24 months prior to a crusade taking place.

Who decides whether to accept or reject a crusade in a specified community?

The decision is always preceded by much prayer and consultation. The situation is discussed thoroughly by Mr. Graham, members of his team, and other trusted advisors. The final decision, however, is made by Mr. Graham himself, seeking to act under the guidance of God's Holy Spirit.

How do churches share in a crusade?

In some cases, through the addition of new members, but apart from this numerical benefit, they share through the participation of their members in many ways:

  1. Counselors are trained and motivated to help inquirers at the meetings and as they gain experience in spiritual counseling.
  2. Singers rehearse and sing with a great volunteer choir recruited from participating churches.
  3. Ushers, several hundred of whom are required for each service, work with those from other congregations.
These and other opportunities for participation have made the rekindling of spiritual fervor in the hearts of church members one of the major accomplishments of the crusades. The backbone of a successful crusade is the gift of the evangelist joined with the gifts of local pastors and their pastors.

Are crusade meetings open to all who wish to attend?

Yes. There are no restrictions. All seats are available free of charge or on a first-come, first-served basis. Special provisions are frequently made for other language groups and for persons with disabilities.

How is the administration of a crusade organized?

The actual administration is in the hands of the local Executive Committee of Christian laity and clergy. Members of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association work closely with the Executive Community, giving it the benefit of their experience.

This Executive Committee is the policy-making body for the entire crusade. (Details may be modified from time to time, but the procedure is basically the same.) It selects the chair and members of the general Crusade Committee and chairpersons of the several working committees and subcommittees for the crusade.

What does a crusade cost?

The amount varies with location and circumstances, but the total operations budget in each case is determined by the Executive Committee, in close cooperation with members of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The budget covers actual operation costs during the preparation period, the week of the crusade meetings, and the follow-up.

Does the Billy Graham team make any requirements with respect to the budget?

The team always asks an Executive Committee to accept these requirements in drafting its budget:

  1. The budget is to be determined by the local Crusade Committee.
  2. All money to meet budget requirements is to be raised by the local Crusade Committee and disbursed by it.
  3. Not one penny of crusade funds is to go to Mr. Graham or members of his team as salary, honorarium, or gift.
  4. At the conclusion of the crusade, a certified public accountant is to audit the books and the result of the audit is to be published in local newspapers; a copy of the audit is to be provided for every participating clergy.
How is the money raised to meet budget requirements?

The largest single source of crusade income is the offerings taken at the meetings. It is anticipated that approximately one-half of the budgeted amount will be received from offerings, while the other half usually comes from individuals and organizations supportive of the crusade.

What happens if a budget is over-subscribed?

The Crusade Executive Committee decides. Since the funds have been given for evangelism in the community, the committee usually recommends that the money be used to telecast the crusades services throughout the crusade area and surrounding region, thus making the ministry of the crusade available to others who could not or did not attend. Occassionally, there are also specially designated offerings for relief of human suffering in the city and throughout other parts of the world.

Can the permanent effects of a crusade be determined?

Not all permanent effects can be measured immediately or even ultimately. Mr. Graham has said that you can't judge the real results of a crusade until 30 years later. Apart from the actual record of individuals brought into a personal relationship with God through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, there is the strengthening of the churches in the community as new members are added and others are renewed in their faith and practice. There is also an increased God-consciousness among non-believers in the community. The participation in current crusades of so many pastors and individuals who have come to faith in previous meetings, indicates the lasting effects of the crusades. Church membership can be recorded statistically; few of the other results can be measured this side of eternity.

What is meant by the "follow-up?" Is it a specific process?

It is a specific process and very definite process. The moment a person comes forward in response to Mr. Graham's invitation, that individual (referred to as an "inquirer") is met by a trained counselor. The counselor (of the same sex and approximate age as the inquirer), with an open Bible, attempts to help the inquirer think through what the Scriptures say about his or her situation and to commit the entire matter to God in prayer.

A mature and experienced counseling supervisor is available if the inquirer has specific needs which he or she wants to discuss more in-depth.

Together, the counselor and inquirer fill out a card with specific information for follow-up information from the counseling card is mailed within 24 hours to a pastor in the inquirer's community. Ordinarily, this would be the pastor of the church to which the individual already belongs, would normally attend, or has a special interest. The pastor also gets a letter asking him to make immediate contact with the inquirer. A postage-paid reply form is provided to the pastor so that he can indicate to the crusade office that he is in contact with the individual and attempting to bring that person into a closer relationship with the work and fellowship of the local church.

The counselor also makes contact with the inquirer, either by telephone or in person, to encourage him or her and identify any further needs or problems.

A letter is sent to the inquirer from the crusade office to encourage him in his Christian walk and to urge him to apply these four basic rules to his Christian life:

  1. Pray daily
  2. Read the Bible daily
  3. Give evidence of his new faith to others around him
  4. Find his place in work and fellowship of the local church
Every effort is made to encourage these "new Christians" to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" through bible study, personal devotion, and effective work in the local church. The counselors trained for a crusade share the additional responsibility for this follow-up, but the major part of the burden must of necessity rest upon the local churches, committee members, and individuals who have volunteered for this most important work. Follow-up is also done through a Bible Study Correspondence Course offered to each inquirer. A more recent innovation also has been to invite each inquirer into a small, crusade-related Bible discussion group fellowship. A Billy Graham crusade is ALWAYS a church-centered crusade. The crusade organization offers every assistance in fulfilling the purpose for which the crusade was started.

What happens to the thousands who respond at Billy Graham crusades?

A study completed in 1988 involved 15,000 interviews with BGEA inquirers, over a 30-year period. Findings form this research were published in a book, "Billy Graham: Do the Conversations Last?," by Robert O. Ferm, a BGEA team member for many years. That research indicates that 70-80 percent of our inquirers remain steadfast in their decision to follow Christ. Also, the statistics show that approximately one out of every hundred of those converted in a BGEA crusade has entered the Christian ministry in some way.

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