We know that the moment of salvation–precious as it is–is only the beginning, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV).
So it is tremendously encouraging for us to hear decades later how God is still at work completing these lives, often using them to touch thousands more.
That was the case recently in Australia, where I had the opportunity to lead Crusades in cities where my father first preached in 1959. There, two men who helped organize our Festival in Melbourne in March shared with me how God had touched their lives as teenagers.
Daryl Driver’s family ran the bus company that brought crowds to the 1959 Melbourne Crusade. As a 19-year-old bus driver, he saw the occasion simply as an opportunity for the family business. He was a former altar boy in his church, but he didn’t understand the need for a personal relationship with Jesus.
But one night while his bus was parked outside the venue, he decided to go inside and hear Billy Graham. After listening to my father preach, Driver came forward and gave his life to Christ. Forty-six years later, at our most recent Crusade, Driver served as our transportation chairman, helping to bring thousands more to hear the Good News of God’s saving love.
Bob Thomas was a shy 16-year-old when he heard my father preach by “landline,” which involved an audio broadcast and slideshow that relayed the message from the Crusade in Sydney to a stadium 100 miles away in Thomas’ hometown of Newcastle. “Even though it was landline, and even though we couldn’t see Billy Graham, I still felt that he was speaking directly to me,” he said.
Thomas resisted the invitation until the last night and the last verse of “Just As I Am,” when he came forward and accepted Christ. That led to a career as a teacher and, later, as editor of a Christian newspaper. He now serves as moderator general of the Presbyterian Church of Australia and was chairman of our Melbourne Crusade.
Testimonies like these are the true measure of a Crusade’s impact. We strive to make sure that all who respond are connected with local churches to help them become rooted in Scripture, devoted in prayer and fruitful in their witness.
The same power that saves us can transform us. As the Bible says, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV).