14) The Last Bit: Tribute to Billy Graham’s Impact on Missions

Yes, Billy Graham was an incredible evangelist at revivals, crusades, and campaigns in cities across the USA. And we know that his son has had a profound effect on missions through Samaritan’s Purse. But let us not forget that he was also the central lightning rod to call together that famous 1966 “World Congress” in Berlin. (Read the full text of his keynote address here:


That congress helped redefine the word evangelism. It clarified our motives for evangelism and missions. It addressed the problem of lost humanity at the very time many were calling for missionaries to go home. It clarified the MESSAGE of evangelism at a time when liberals were running away with the heart. It also discerned strategies, methods, and brought unity to a world full of evangelicals. What followed, among other things, was the establishment of the Lausanne Movement. And guess who its founder was? None other:


At that congress, he called for the establishment of a declaration on evangelism, which, as we know, came to be called the Lausanne Covenant, and called by some to be one of the most significant documents in modern church history. He called for the completion of the task of reaching the whole world, a watchword that has inspired a generation.

But, perhaps more important than everything else, he modeled for everyone else the bringing together of representatives from (almost literally) all nations. And he brought them together to an even table. The majority world, the global south, not only was invited, they were INCLUDED — in a big way — as speakers, planners, and peers. This was a game-changer (perhaps as much as the Lausanne Covenant itself). And of course, we all know that, at that congress, leaders defined a new way of thinking about the world. Ralph Winter let the shoe drop about how many “hidden peoples” there are — and that factor has shaped the thinking of modern missions profoundly.

In fact, Billy Graham, it could be argued, shaped the thinking of modern missions, then, through all these steps and more. Thank you Billy Graham, a life well lived — 1918 – 2018.

One Response to 14) The Last Bit: Tribute to Billy Graham’s Impact on Missions
  1. Ted Bjorem Reply

    in 59 Crusades in Australia had a huge impact on this Country and, to the salvation of his own son!
    The reason for the impact? Christian leaders had been praying about the horrible shape of the church here, when someone told them of this American evangelist.
    His son?
    At one of the crusades this particular lady went forward, after some training she felt called to help in a kibbitz. There she met a young man running from God and his Evangelist father!! Loved him back to God, full circle.

    Cant remember if I read it or met her, she was part of Churches of Christ in NSW

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