Billy Graham still inspiring evangelical leaders

Billy Graham is gearing up for his final major outreach this year and a fresh poll by the National Association of Evangelicals in the US reveals the admiration many evangelical leaders still have for him.

The NAE's Evangelical Leaders Survey for April revealed that 73 per cent had attended a Billy Graham crusade.

Nearly half (44 per cent) had met Graham in person.

"The evangelical resurgence in America has been centred around Billy Graham," NAE President Leith Anderson said.

"He communicated the gospel of Jesus Christ for everyone. Never about politics, ambition, money or power. Just about Jesus."

Many of the responses to the survey included testimonies of Graham's influence.

Paul Cedar, who worked with Graham as a crusade associate and director wrote: "Billy Graham has been and is one of my spiritual heroes of the faith!"

Bill Lenz, Senior Pastor of Christ the Rock Community Church, in Menasha, Wisconsin, shared that his life was a mess before he saw Billy Graham preaching on TV in September 1975.

"It was the first time I understood the gospel," he said.

It was on that day Lenz turned his life over to Christ but it wasn't until last year, at a planning meeting for Graham's final outreach, that he was able to meet the man who had brought him to faith and thank him personally.

The final outreach, My Hope America with Billy Graham, takes place in November. Christians will be inviting their friends and neighbours to their homes to watch videos featuring Billy Graham.

The videos will include a specially recorded message from Graham.

Greg Johnson, NAE board member and president of Standing Together, is helping to coordinate outreach for the event.

"My Hope is going to be an awesome national outreach that will help many people discover the grace and wonder of Jesus Christ," he said.

Anderson added, "Billy Graham has influenced American faith more than anyone else in the last century; perhaps, more than anyone else in American history."