Franklin Graham: Personal Reflections on His Father and Carrying on the Gospel Legacy

By   •   February 21, 2023

“I miss him,” Franklin Graham said of his father, Billy Graham, five years after his passing.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been five years.”

Since Billy Graham’s passing on Feb. 21, 2018, Franklin Graham said his father is constantly on his mind.

“I just miss him. I think of him probably every day.”

As he reflects on his father’s 99 years of life, Franklin Graham is still amazed at how God molded a country boy from North Carolina into a worldwide evangelist.

“God took that farm boy from milking cows and working in the fields to the ends of the earth, to preach and proclaim the Gospel,” he said.

More than 1.7 million people have visited the Billy Graham Library since it opened in 2007 in Billy Graham’s hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Inside, The Journey of Faith tour tells the story of Billy Graham’s life and ministry, and gives visitors a chance to respond to the Gospel. “This is going to have an impact on people’s lives for generations,” said Franklin Graham.

Like his father, Franklin Graham encourages people wherever he goes to put their faith and trust in God’s Son Jesus Christ who offers new life and forgiveness of sin.

Alluding to news headlines about natural disasters, war, and civil unrest, Franklin Graham said we shouldn’t be surprised. The Bible said these things would happen. Yet suffering and destruction also highlight the urgency of telling people about the love, joy, and hope found only in Christ—Good News in the midst of it all.

“The world is going to continue to spiral out of control,” Franklin Graham said. “Our hope is not in politicians. Our hope is not in our military. Our hope is not in our economic strength. All the things of this world are going to fail one day, and the only hope that we have is in God.”

Today, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), founded by Billy Graham in 1950, continues sharing the Good News through every means possible.

“The ability for us to use technology to reach people with the Gospel message is increasing—and we thank God for that opportunity He’s given us,” said Franklin Graham.

BGEA’s internet evangelism ministry, Search for Jesus, gives people around the world a chance to experience the Gospel through interactive websites and one-on-one discipleship opportunities in seven languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, and American Sign Language.

A state-of-the-art Billy Graham Archive and Research Center, located near the Billy Graham Library, opened last November as a place for researchers, leaders, and students to study time-tested principles for evangelism from Billy Graham and his team. Over seven decades of sermon notes, audio files, photos, videos, and memorabilia are housed there.

Before his father’s passing, Franklin Graham said, “I felt that my responsibility in life was to help my father finish well. And that was my focus, that was my goal, to make sure that he accomplished everything that he wanted to accomplish. And then after he could no longer minister, to make sure that the organization continued doing exactly what he had set it up to do, and that was evangelism.”

Franklin Graham went on, “When he died, I felt that my job was complete in many ways … that I had completed the task that God had called me to do.”

Franklin Graham addressed more than 52,000 people in Mexico City during a Festival of Hope Feb. 11–12. Over 6,000 people decided to begin a new life with Jesus Christ.

Today Franklin Graham is following another call God has put on his heart: to tell as many people as possible about Jesus.

“I realize I’m running out of time. I’m 70 years old, so whatever I’m going to get done with my life, I better get to doing it.”

Earlier this month, Franklin Graham preached during a two-day Festival in Mexico City, one of the most populous cities in the world. Next week, he’ll be in Vietnam for an evangelistic event in Ho Chi Minh City.

“I’m thankful for good health. I’m strong right now. I feel good,” Franklin Graham said. “And I want to reach as many people as I can with God’s love, with His Son Jesus Christ. … We want the people of the world to know that God hasn’t turned His back on us, that He loves us. He came not to condemn us but to save us.”

While so much has changed since Billy Graham’s preaching days, the Gospel message he shared is unchanging.

“I hope that at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we can continue what my father and his team started and that we can take it on to another generation,” Franklin Graham said.

Franklin Graham introduced his son, Will Graham, ahead of an evangelistic outreach in Pennsylvania last year. Will Graham also travels the world, preaching the Gospel, and will be in Moldova in July.