More than 500 people packed the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday afternoon for a chance to hear a free acoustic concert by country and bluegrass artist Ricky Skaggs.
A 14-time GRAMMY winner who has graced the music stage for more than 50 years, Skaggs shared tunes including “Can’t Shake Jesus,” “Music to My Ears” and “A Work of Love” before holding a short Q&A with the audience.
Afterwards, hundreds stuck around to get his autograph on everything from album covers to guitars—even a prosthetic leg.
Skaggs also signed copies of his book, Kentucky Traveler—My Life in Music.
“It’s not a Christian book,” Skaggs said. “It’s a book about a Christian—about an artist that is a Christian, but a marketplace minister that wants to go in the streets, that wants to go to the marketplace and take the Gospel through any means that I can.”
In an interview before his acoustic performance, Skaggs talked with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association about sharing his music in bars, clubs, casinos and other places most churches won’t go.
“But I can go and take the love of Jesus with me and sing songs that touch men’s hearts,” he said, referring to those opportunities as “seed sowing.”
Skaggs has also shared his music at many Billy Graham Crusades throughout the years.
“When we get to do a Graham Crusade, we get to see the seed that someone else has sown and the Holy Spirit has come on and watered that seed, and now it’s the harvest…we get to see it all come forth right then.”
In addition to traveling with Mr. Graham, Skaggs has been involved in various Franklin Graham events all over the world.
“We’ve been to Croatia and Bosnia together on Operation Christmas Child,” Skaggs said. “We’ve been to Alaska. We’ve done a lot of things together, so it’s been a great friendship.”
A believer who clearly understands you don’t have to be a pastor to preach the Gospel, Skaggs spoke repeatedly about “marketplace ministry” and using God-given gifts to be a light to the world.
“I think the arts is a great way to minister to the nations,” Skaggs said. “God wants us to be effective out of the church. We go to the church to get revived….to go out and love people.”
Whether he’s performing at The Billy Graham Library, The Grand Ole Opry or a street corner bar, it’s clear Ricky Skaggs views his musical calling as a true “Work of Love.”