Decision America Tour Builds on BGEA’s History in Florida

By   •   January 6, 2020

For the past several decades, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has actively shared the Gospel in Florida through Billy Graham Crusades, Franklin Graham's 50-state Decision America Tour, and Rapid Response Team (RRT) deployments and trainings. Franklin Graham is giving Floridians another opportunity to hear about God's love as he visits six cities during the Decision America Sunshine State Tour. >> Find out more about the tour.
"You cannot come to Jesus Christ intellectually alone, that last step has to be by faith," Billy Graham told the audience in Tampa in 1979. Here, he stands with his wife, Ruth, at the Crusade. >> Listen to Billy Graham's sermon.
Billy Graham returned to Florida to preach in Jacksonville in 2000. While there, he received a personalized jersey.
Billy Graham's ministry as an evangelist started in the Sunshine State while he attended the Florida Bible Institute. Here, he poses with two of his teachers, John Minder (left) and Cecil Underwood (right). On Easter Sunday in 1937, Minder took Graham to visit Bostwick Baptist Church in Palatka, Florida, and told him to preach. "No sir," Graham replied. "I've never preached before." His teacher insisted, so Graham preached to a sparse congregation of cowboys and ranchers. He secretly memorized four sermons for the occasion, each to last 45 minutes. Instead, he spoke loudly and quickly, telling all four in eight minutes.
The Decision America Sunshine State Tour is the second Decision America Tour to take place in the state. The first prayer event with Franklin Graham was held at the Capitol in Tallahassee in 2016.
Nearly two decades after his first Tampa Crusade, Mr. Graham returned to the city in 1998 to share the Good News. Here, George H.W. Bush (middle) sits between Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham.
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has deployed to Florida more than 20 times since 2004, including responses to hurricanes Irma and Harvey, as well as the Pulse nightclub and Parkland shootings. Several chaplains will attend the Sunshine State Tour, which includes four cities where chaplains have offered emotional and spiritual care during disaster.
A Florida billboard points people to Christ. >> Have you made the decision to trust God? Start a relationship with the Lord.
Billy Graham prays while in Tampa for his 1979 Crusade. The area is less than a 30-minute drive to Plant City, one of the stops on the Decision America Sunshine State Tour with Franklin Graham.
During the first Sharing Hope in Jesus' Name conference in Orlando, Franklin Graham shared with Samaritan's Purse volunteers and RRT chaplains how they could make a difference in the kingdom of God. >> Learn more about becoming a crisis-trained chaplain.
Just as hundreds came forward during Billy Graham's Jacksonville Crusade in 2000, please pray many people will open their hearts to Jesus during the Decision America Sunshine State Tour.