Statistics say that many Christians do not share their faith on a regular basis.
But that percentage is changing among the body at Green Creek First Baptist Church in Green Creek, N.C., since the church began operating a BGEA phone center just over a year ago. Since June 2005, in response to both the TV specials and the weekly Billy Graham Classics programs, volunteers have taken 1,437 calls, 536 of them from people wanting to accept Christ.
A woman from the Green Creek phone center recounts her first night as a volunteer:
“The phone rang and I asked, ‘Would you like to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior tonight?’ A woman answered, crying, and said, ‘Yes, I want to be saved.’ With God working through me, she did receive Christ that night. It took my breath away! God was using me, sitting in a small rural church in Green Creek, N.C. I was hooked! I give God all the praise, honor and glory for preparing the hearts of these people and placing them in front of the television to watch Billy Graham–and as we answer the phones, for the ‘fruit’ that falls into our hands.”
Ann Tucker, the phone center chairperson at Green Creek, says that the volunteers are almost like children at Christmas. “They can hardly wait for their first call,” she says.
What’s on a Billy Graham TV Special?
This year, songs from artists such as Steven Curtis Chapman, Nicole C. Mullen, Point of Grace and Marcos Witt were woven into telecast programs, as were interviews and features from guests such as apologist Josh McDowell; Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz; and Crystal Woodman-Miller, whose life was forever changed by the Columbine High School shootings in 1999.
Messages, songs and interviews are often centered around relevant topics such as “The Secret to Happiness,” “Our Changing World” and “Is Jesus Who He Says He Is?” One of this year’s telecasts also focused on recovery and rebuilding efforts in New Orleans and how residents’ faith in Christ has been bolstered through their experiences. The program featured Franklin Graham’s message at the March Celebration of Hope at the New Orleans Arena.
- An 84-year-old caller said she had been in church her entire life but did not think she had what Billy Graham was talking about. The phone worker said that the caller “cried, then laughed, filled with the joy that comes only from knowing Jesus.”
- A 21-year-old caller said his parents were atheists and he had never been in a church or read a Bible. After a recent lawn-mower accident, he had lost half his foot and was coping with depression and thoughts of suicide. After flipping through channels and landing on a Billy Graham Classics telecast from the 1971 Chicago Crusade, he prayed to receive Christ.
- A Vietnam veteran called and said that he felt he was a Christian, but that because he had killed someone in the fields of Vietnam, he was having doubts. After the volunteer prayed with him, the veteran said that he had had full intentions of killing himself at the time of his call, but said, “Having shared this time with you, I assure you I will not.”
- Billy Graham and Franklin Graham television broadcasts air in the top 150 U.S. markets, plus the Global network in Canada.
- After a telecast, 37 BGEA phone centers across North America receive an average of 11,800 calls from people inquiring about the message they heard.
- Billy Graham Classics, which features Billy Graham Crusades from the last 49 years, airs every Wednesday and Saturday on TBN and on The Christian Channel Saturdays in Canada.
- Since March 1981 phone center volunteers have answered more than 1.2 million calls. Of these, more than 273,000 have been calls to accept Christ, and more than 111,000 have been callers wanting to rededicate their lives to Christ.
BGEA is always looking for more phone center volunteers. If you live near a phone center and are interested in being trained to answer calls during a telecast, or if your church would like to host a volunteer phone center (10 phones or more), send a message to email@example.com or call 1-877-862-4559 for more information.