"My home is in heaven. I'm just travelling through this world."
- Billy Graham
In his 99 years on earth, the legendary evangelist Billy Graham is estimated to have preached to 215 million people in more than 185 countries across the world, with an estimated lifetime audience across TV and radio of 2.2 billion people.
He counselled every US president from Lyndon B. Johnson through to Barack Obama, holds the record for most appearances on the Gallup list of admired people (55 times) and is widely regarded as one of the most influential preachers in history.
Where did it all start for Billy?
In the world of student mission. Billy Graham frequently spoke of a powerful encounter with God during his days as a bible college student where he first felt a strong calling to the ministry and public evangelism. He described his student years as the most important years in his life and this was where his lifelong conviction to serve the mission of God was birthed.
One year into his public ministry in 1948, Billy spoke at the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s student mission conference, an event he spoke at nine further times throughout his life. He held evangelistic meetings and outreaches on campuses across Europe and the US on multiple occasions and funded multiple training events and schemes to support student missionaries.
Billy Graham was a firebrand. A man who was utterly consumed by a burning passion for the gospel and who believed that anyone and everyone could encounter the love and salvation offered by Jesus. He fervently desired to see the name of Jesus glorified above all other names and longed for people to know life in all its fullness on this earth.
It began with his student years.
His legacy of evangelism, his anointing to preach to presidents and street cleaners, princes and paupers, white and black in an age of intense segregation, was all birthed in significant moments of encounter in his student years.
Your calling as a follower of Jesus and your commissioning to share the gospel with all people doesn’t begin the moment you graduate from university, it begins NOW. This is your time to be bold, to be brave, to be utterly unashamed of the God you serve and the gospel you declare.
If not you, then who? If not now, then when?
The spirit of God is moving across this continent, drawing students back to Him and birthing in them a hunger to know him as Lord and saviour. Now more than ever, we need ambassadors and missionaries who are willing to serve God and give their time and energy for their campuses and universities.
Billy Graham challenged generations of students to commit to following Jesus, often quoting the phrase “no reserves, no retreat, no regrets” as he longed for students to embrace all that God had for their lives.
This summer, book yourself on to the Firebrands conference to tool yourself up and stoke the fires of God in your heart to burn for your campus and your friends, to give yourself to the mission of God as Billy Graham did.