Gospel-Fueled Road Trip Sets Off From Joliet, Illinois

By   •   September 20, 2021

Franklin Graham podium
For the first time since February 2020, Franklin Graham is sharing the Gospel with live and in-person crowds. His 8-city Route 66 God Loves You Tour began Sunday, September 19 in Joliet, Illinois.
people and dog walking
From the moment the gates opened, a steady stream of people filled an open lot outside the Chicagoland Speedway, lawn chairs and furry friends in tow.
Chicagoland Speedway
People usually fill the racetrack venue for thrilling sports events. But Sunday, thousands came to hear encouraging music and messages about God’s love.
Franklin Graham preaching with Bible
“In 2020, the pandemic changed the world,” Franklin Graham said soon after walking on stage. “But 2,000 years ago when Jesus came to this earth, it changed the world forever.” >>Watch a 1-minute clip of his message in Joliet.
Chicago skyline
Joliet is a suburb of Chicago located southwest of the major metropolis. The city also sits within the first 50 miles of historic Route 66, which begins in Illinois and extends to California.
God Loves You Tour volunteers
Over the summer months, hundreds of volunteers in the Chicagoland region attended Christian Life and Witness classes to be prepared to walk their friends, family members and neighbors through the steps of salvation.
young girl smiling
Each person who showed up for the first stop of the God Loves You Tour is known and loved by God, and that’s a message Franklin Graham wants to share during this evangelistic tour along Route 66.
Dennis Agajanian playing guitar
Patriotic lyrics and furiously fast guitar picking from Dennis Agajanian opened the event. The musician is a longtime friend of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) who has partnered with the ministry since the 1970s.
young man praying
“I want to surround myself with people who love Jesus,” said a local young man who brought a group of friends with him to enjoy the worshipful music and Bible-based messages.
Michael Tait singing with Marcos Witt
Michael Tait (left), his band Newsboys, and Marcos Witt (right), a well-known Christian musician among Spanish speakers, are teaming up to help people worship God through song at each stop of the God Loves You Tour.
crowd singing
“This is a picture of heaven,” Marcos Witt said after leading songs in both Spanish and English. “We’re going to be standing around the throne of Jesus declaring how great He is.”
Michael Tait and Franklin Graham
Then, Michael Tait introduced Franklin Graham to Joliet, Illinois. The pair will travel across the United States over the next two weeks to proclaim God's love.
woman listening
“Whatever crisis you’re going through, I’m here to say that God loves you,” Franklin Graham encouraged the attentive crowd.
Franklin Graham preaching
The evangelist referenced the Biblical story of Nicodemus to explain the Gospel message and what it means to be "born again."
two women praying together
“There are many of you here tonight who are religious, but like Nicodemus, you don’t have a relationship with God,” Franklin Graham said. He urged each person listening to come to Christ in a personal way.
three women talking and smiling
When the time came to respond, people stood up across the open-air venue to symbolize their desire to know Jesus as their Lord, Savior and Friend.
crowd view from stage
Some people in the crowd will always remember September 19 as the day they began a new life with Christ.
two men praying together
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” —2 Peter 3:9
woman counseling another woman
It’s humbling to see how God moved during the first stop of the God Loves You Tour. Please pray for new and renewed believers in Illinois, and watch the next tour stop live online.