UK's Top Evangelicals Invite Billy Graham for Mission in Autumn

An exciting opportunity for a mission revival in the UK is a possibility this autumn. The Baptist Times has reported that a group of top British evangelicals and major church leaders have signed a letter to invite the world-renowned American evangelist Billy Graham for a mission tour.

Revd Dr Billy Graham has already received the invitation at his new headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is understood to be willing to come if his health permits it.

The UK Christian figures who have been involved in the invitation include the Revd Joel Edwards, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance; the Revd Sandy Millar of Holy Trinity Brompton, home to the Alpha Course; Roy Crowne, National Director of British Youth for Christ and Viscount Brentford.

The Revd David Coffey, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB), signed as moderator of the Free Churches group, with the support of his co-presidents of Churches Together in England - the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor and the Revd Esme Beswick, president of the Joint Council for Anglo-Caribbean Churches.

Rev Coffey said to the Baptist Times, Dr Graham has had a significant ministry over the years. Also, despite of Dr Graham’s old age and his troubled health, he has never been confined in presenting the Gospel message in a way which was relevant to young people.

"Sometimes a younger generation will listen to a grandfather figure rather than a parental one," Revd Coffey added.

The 86-year-old Dr Billy Graham, is one of the most respected and effective evangelists in the world. Graham started his life-long commitment to mission when he was ordained in the Southern Baptist Convention in 1939. Gifted with powerful preaching ability, a Los Angeles crusade in 1949 that lasted for eight weeks launched Graham into international prominence. He founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in 1950.

Over the past 50 years, Graham has stepped across all continents in the world to hold crusades. He has preached the Gospel to more than 210 million people in more than 185 countries. He is regularly listed by the Gallup organisation as one of the "Ten Most Admired Men in the World".

If the hope of the UK Christian leaders is fulfilled, evangelist Billy Graham’s visit to the UK this autumn will be regarded as a final opportunity for a significant ministry in the country, following the so-called "last crusade" event at the Flushing Meadows Park in New York on 24th-26th June. The number of young people that will rush to this event is too large to estimate.

The UK event would be billed as a "Tribute to the Gospel" and an "Endorsement of its integrity" from an elder statesman, and as a call to the nation to decide to follow Christ.

Dr Billy Graham’s first crusade to the UK was held in London's Harringay arena in 1954, under the sponsorship of the British Evangelical Alliance. The crusade lasted for 12 weeks in addition to many other special events held around London. He also visited London in 1966 and 1967.

The last crusade to the UK was held in 1989. Billy Graham preached from London to more than 800,000 people gathered at 247 "live-link" centres throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and to an astonishing 16,000 sites in 13 nations of Africa.

Dr Billy Graham is now considering coming in November, however the visit may be delayed until next spring.