This article originally appeared in the November 18, 1988 issue of Christianity Today.
Billy Graham has been gifted with the ability to identify and gather around him men and women of great skills who can execute and bring to pass the things he envisions. He has also benefited from, and has brought to fruition, ideas that have come from the fertile minds of these many associates and friends. The list of organizations that have come into being directly and indirectly through his ministry is extensive and impressive; only a few of them can be mentioned here.
First on the list is the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). More than a billion dollars have been contributed across the years to this multifaceted organization, money that has been used with care and discernment to advance the cause of worldwide evangelization. Hundreds of talented people have been associated with this one enterprise as trustees and as co-laborers carrying out the visions of the founder.
The BGEA, as it is known popularly, publishes Decision magazine, with millions of copies circulated around the world in English and other languages. In addition, hundreds of millions of books published by the BGEA's World Wide Publications have helped individuals either come to Christ for salvation or build them up in the holy faith.
World Wide Pictures also sprang out of the BGEA. Its films have been shown in neighborhood movie outlets and in thousands of churches, as well as in homes and small-group gatherings. The Corrie ten Boom film alone connotes the greatness of this particular enterprise brought into being by Graham.
The Billy Graham Center, located on the campus of Wheaton College, again illustrates the genius of Graham in working for the completion of the Great Commission. The center houses the artifacts connected with Graham's crusade history as well as those related to other significant evangelists and their ministries. It also houses a vital missionary research library widely used by scholars from around the world. The center has a missionary training program, offers graduate study, and is a repository for the effects and papers of a host of well-known scholars.
Christianity Today magazine was another Graham idea that came to fruition quickly. It has become the largest evangelical conglomerate by adding to its roster of magazines Leadership, Marriage Partnership, Today's Christian Woman, Campus Life, Sunday To Sunday, and Lay Leadership, as well as a host of ancillary products that are having a positive impact on the minds and hearts of so many.
Graham also played a major role in the merger of Gordon Divinity School and Conwell School of Theology, now Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Here men and women are trained for the parish ministry and for overseas services as missionaries. CUME in Boston is a multiracial instructional offshoot of Gordon-Conwell and exists to train minority leaders. It has become a model effort that is being replicated in other large metropolitan cities in America.
Billy Graham goes on dreaming dreams and is now engaged in developing and seeking to endow the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove, in the mountains of North Carolina. Here laypeople and clergy can come for training in fruitful Christian service.
All of these endeavors (and so many more!) were brought into being through the vision, leadership, and businesslike gifts of a man whose blameless life, financial integrity, and loyalty to the Word of God is unexampled. His wife, Ruth, has shared and contributed to those dreams. Without her prayers, counsel, and support, it is hard to believe that all of this could have taken place. Together they have had one aim—to glorify God, advance the work of the church, and finish the task of world evangelization.
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