The Next Billy Graham is Here

Let me get right to the point with this post.

I have been deeply influenced by some great Christian preachers and teachers of our times. For their words and example, I am (literally) eternally grateful. It’s been nearly one year since the Billy Graham stepped from this life into glory and many have wondered who will be the next Billy Graham.

The answer, I believe, is that there is no next Billy Graham. For the better part of his ninety-nine years, Rev. Graham preached and counseled millions, delivering the gospel in countries around the world. Myriads of souls went forward and entered a relationship with Jesus in response to one of Billy’s alter calls.

I was one of those souls. It was probably the 1965 televised crusade and I was a little girl, maybe 4, almost 5, when I heard him preach and issue the call. I walked forward in front of our black and white television in our living room as my mom sewed at the dining room table. I can still hear them playing “Just as I am.”

I loved Jesus from that moment forward, and while I’ve still managed to sin and make a mess of things at times, I have followed Him from that moment on and never looked back. This frightened face, it what I still look like inside – not a likely candidate to go on to teach about hard conversations, but that’s what Jesus does – He works through the meek and unlikely to impact eternity.

So, I am deeply grateful there was this one man who reached millions. There was a time for that, clearly. Our generation was blessed through his ministry.

But now, that time has passed. And I believe that what Jesus would say to us now is that we don’t need another Billy Graham to preach the gospel and minister to millions. NOW, we need each of those millions to touch the lives of those around them, whether they can reach many or few.

Just as the Israelites needed a Moses to lead them into the promised land, but when they returned to ruined Jerusalem after the dispersion, Nehemiah showed them now each family must build and defend the wall in front of their own home. So, it is with us. Each of us, much build and defend the kingdom in front of our own territory.

It is why I wrote my most recent book. While I deeply appreciate the great preachers and speakers of our times, these are not the ones everyday people turn to in times of need with hurts, questions, struggles, or fears. Billy Graham’s preaching changed my life, but when I needed counsel, direction, or encouragement, I turned to those closest to me.

Each of us needs to take seriously God’s commands to speak the truth, share our story, minister to the sick and grieving, bear with one another through trial, correct those going astray, and represent Jesus to the world through our actions AND our words. When we stop avoiding hard conversations, release our fear and need for control, and trust God enough to open our mouths, we will see Him work in ways that will thrill and surprise us.

The keys to transformation, unification, and authentic breakthroughs are usually found on the other side of hard conversations. And most soul-shaping, life-altering discussions won’t happen before international audiences or from televised pulpits, but in kitchens, cubicles, foyers, and front porches.

I guess, if truly pressed, what I believe is that you and I are the next Billy Graham, God’s final wave of influence before the times become nearly impossible to navigate. We are the ones designed and equipped for these times. We must trust His wisdom in placing us here and believe that He will provide us the words we need. All we have to do is open our mouths and let them come out.

Buy my book or don’t buy my book. That’s not the point of my post. In the great battle for souls, these are the days of the guerilla gospel, hand-to-hand soul-combat, and special forces sent to foray for stragglers behind enemy lines, and we are the ones to carry this out – conversation by conversation.

Look at what the Bible has to say about our words and then do what it says. Stop waiting for the next great preacher – it is you. Stop searching for the next wave of revival – it has begun and you’re an agent of it. Stop thinking it’s going to come through another and believe that Jesus is with YOU and that the souls within your hearing are as valuable and worth reaching as the throngs who walked forward to “Just as I am.”

He is coming again – the time grows nearer every day, but we aren’t home yet. Ultimately, the world doesn’t need a church free of conflict. It needs a church, individual believers, who are unafraid of conflict and tough talks because our God is with us.

Thank you, Jesus, for the work you did through Rev. Graham. Grant us, now, the courage and confidence to carry on, each one, in Your name. Amen.

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9 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Linda Harris says:

    Wow! This is powerful, Lori, and just what I needed to hear. I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, because I took it to church and someone immediately wanted to borrow it!

  2. Marilyn says:

    Great article Lori.

  3. Paul Taylor says:

    Those hard conversations scare the daylights out of me. Not having them scare me worse. So, count me in.

  4. Jan Clough says:

    Like you Lori my life was wonderfully changed forever through Billy Graham’s outreach at Liverpool football stadium. Although l went forward it was 6 months later after attending a bible study that l decided to give my life to Jesus Christ. For 6 months l battled with so many questions but l was challenged on every one to look to God’s word and it never failed. You see friends had been praying for me and speaking to me about the hard questions of life, one of those friends had a drink problem and l saw first hand how his life was turned around in a magnificent way.
    I thank God for those people who never watered down the gospel or shied away from the hard questions.
    Salvation and baptism in the same week, my life has never been the same since hallelujah!

    God bless you Lori
    Jan Clough

  5. Connie Clyburn says:

    Amen. I agree wholeheartedly.

  6. Pam Halter says:

    Yes, girlfriend – amen!

  7. Les Stobbe says:

    I personally knew and worked with an evangelist God used in the Welsh Revival. I was editor on two of his histories of world revivals. What struck me is that throughout U.S. history God has not let many decades go by before he releases another effective revival-causing preacher. The West Coast has a stadium-filling pastor/revivalist from Riverside, CA who God has been using mostly on the West Coast. His name is Greg Laurie, pastor of a charismatic church- I was aware of him in the 1980s–and Christian media give his crusades support.

  8. Diane McElwain says:

    Great words, Lori. We are all servants of God, with the Word in us. We can’t wait to share this valuable information, Thank you.

  9. Faith Durie says:

    I am from South Africa and don’t miss a thing you blog.
    Thank you for being available!
    Thank you for using your 2 fish and 5 bread.