CLINTON, MISS. — Following in the footsteps of his famous grandfather Billy Graham, who preached in nearby Jackson in 1952 and 1975, evangelist Will Graham proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ this weekend in Clinton, Miss.
Approximately 10,115 attended the three-day Central Mississippi Will Graham Celebration in the A. E. Wood Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi College, the oldest university in the state. More than 460 responded to the invitation to commit their lives to Christ and begin a relationship with Him.
Mississippi was recently found to be the most religious state in the country by Gallup. Graham, however, sought to ensure that the audience understood the difference between being “religious,” and completely surrendering one’s life to Jesus.
“There are some of you here tonight who think you’re going to Heaven because you go to church, but you’re on the path to Hell because you have never made Jesus the central part of your life and had Him forgive your sins,” said Graham. “Tonight you can settle it once and for all, and let Jesus take control of your life.
“God’s saying, ‘Give me your marriage, your guilt, your shame, your life.’ God’s trying to get your attention. Are you willing to listen?”
Clinton Mayor Phil Fisher, who served as the chair of the local Celebration Executive Team, said, “I think this has been a real inspiration to people. A lot of local folks have come, and I think they’ll be excited and fired up. They’ll go back to their churches, and to their lives, and to the people in their lives. I think we’ll all be better because of this.”
Local Christian leaders pointed out that one of the biggest impacts of the Celebration can be found in the newfound unity amongst the area churches. “We’ve seen incredible things happen in Central Mississippi where different ministerial groups, from different races and denominations, came together to work on this thing,” said Rev. Neel Grantham, senior pastor of Pineview Baptist Church in Clinton. “It’s just been a powerful movement of God through this whole event.”
Graham was joined on stage by several award-winning Christian artists, including Paul Baloche, the Rhett Walker Band, The Afters, Tedashii, Canton Jones and Matthew West. A special event for children on Saturday morning, called KidzFest, featured music from Go Fish and a 400-voice choir made up of children from across the region, as well as a program called The Greatest Journey.
The Central Mississippi Will Graham Celebration followed outreaches in Sri Lanka and Japan earlier in the year. In May Graham will travel to Australia to preach in Broken Hill, New South Wales. In July he will share the Good News of Jesus in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea.