Softened Hearts in the UK’s ‘Steel City’

By   •   May 25, 2022

Wednesday night, prayers were answered for Sheffield, England, the third of four stops on the God Loves You Tour. After hearing Franklin Graham preach about a faithful God who forgives, hundreds of people made the life-changing decision to follow Christ in Sheffield Arena.
Sheffield is part of the historic county of Yorkshire—one of the first places Billy Graham ever preached internationally. In 1946, four years before BGEA was founded, Billy and Ruth Graham traveled across England with song leader Cliff Barrows and his wife, Billie. WWII had just ended, and the team—all in their 20s—had many adventures together.
After being postponed in 2020, Wednesday's event was much anticipated. For churches—some who came on buses—it was an integral time to not only see people come to faith in Christ, but to encourage them to be bold and tell others about God's love. "The church was encouraged, challenged and reminded God is at work in the tough times," said Nigel Fawcett-Jones, lead manager of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team in the U.K.
After clapping along to Dennis Agajanian’s country Gospel tunes, voices all around the arena turned into a choir during hymn favorite “Nothing But the Blood.”
"Jesus!" The crowd chanted without being prompted in between the Newsboys' set. The heartwarming audience was quick to respond, cheer and praise God alongside lead singer Michael Tait, who is known for getting people on their feet in worship. But Tait also slows things down so people can hear the Good News. “You people love so well,” he said. “Tonight you can become a believer. Because with a love like that, you should be a believer.” >>Have you ever accepted Jesus as Lord? Start a relationship with Him.
Nicknamed the “Steel City,” Sheffield was once the steel capital of the world, playing a significant role in the Industrial Revolution. It’s also the place where stainless steel was invented. Located in north-central England, the city has more trees than people and has been named the “Greenest City in the U.K.” It’s also quite the hotspot for hikers, featuring Peak District National Park.
“When you think of Sheffield, you think of an industrial city," Franklin Graham commented. “What makes Sheffield so special is the people. Everywhere we have gone, we have been met by the most friendly people, encouraging. We just hate to leave. It’s been a real joy for all of us to be here—and we thank God for it.”
Even those in the deepest pits of sin can be rescued. That’s why Franklin Graham shared a message from 2 Chronicles 33 about the life of King Manasseh—an idolator who led his nation in adultery and witchcraft. “God forgave him, and He’ll forgive you,” Graham said.
In 1985, Billy Graham’s sermons in Sheffield were broadcast to multiple locations across Great Britain, from church halls to theaters. On Wednesday, the event’s online livestream was viewed over 20,000 times, expanding the Good News to people on phones and tablets across the world.
Nothing could contain the excitement of this crowd as they praised God.
Early on in the evening, Franklin Graham greeted some Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains and counselors serving at the event. They play a vital role in praying for attendees and helping anyone who makes a decision for Christ get connected with a local church.
Sheffield is home to the world’s oldest football (soccer) clubs—Sheffield F.C., founded in 1857—and Sheffield Hallam F.C., which began in 1860. Sheffield Hallam F.C. still plays on the world’s oldest football ground.
No ear is too young to hear the Word of God.
More than 12,000 people attended one of the first three stops of the God Loves You Tour in Liverpool, South Wales and Sheffield—and 700 of them responded to the Gospel message.
For those who made the bold step to follow Christ, there was a smiling counselor ready to welcome them into the family of God.
“I look forward to being back in the U.K. for the fourth stop on the God Loves You Tour—in London—on July 16,” Franklin Graham shared on his Facebook page. Will you pray for people's hearts to be continually softened in the U.K.? >>Get details on the next event.