Saturday at the Billy Graham Library was a big day for many who grew up listening to hits by 1950s teen star Pat Boone.
With a nearly 70-year career, the renowned singer, actor, TV host, and author has experienced his share of success and fame. Selling 45 million records and starring in a dozen Hollywood movies could have led him down a different path.
But through the years, Boone has held firm to his faith and is a dedicated witness for Jesus Christ.
Signing copies of his latest book “IF: The Eternal Choice We All Must Make,” the spry 88-year-old smiled and greeted fans, staying longer than scheduled so he could meet all those who waited in line to see him.
As he gets closer to Heaven, Boone wants people to know about the choice they have to make now—in this life—if they, too, want to live forever with Jesus Christ.
“I want you to know this One who died to save you, … who wants you to spend eternity with Him,” said Boone. “The big ‘if’—the reason behind the book—is He’s offering it all if you will accept Him.”
Before the book signing began, Will Graham introduced Boone as “an incredible man of God, [who] loves the Lord Jesus Christ, [and] has been used mightily to reach millions of people with the Good News.”
Boone and his wife, Shirley, who passed away in 2019, were personal friends of Billy and Ruth Graham.
“He and I were very close,” Boone said. “Shirley and Ruth were prayer partners, and we visited back and forth.”
The musical artist sang at two Billy Graham Crusades: in Anaheim, California, in 1985, and a year later in Washington, D.C.
A Divine Call
As a teenager, Boone worked manual labor jobs because he wanted to earn enough to attend a Christian high school. His plan was to be a “teacher-preacher”—teaching school and pastoring a church.
But in the 1950s, a different door opened for the talented singer, and Boone knew it was a divine calling. “God … was giving me a platform in which I could fulfill my other role, which was to help young people find their way through teen years into adult life.
“Jesus was saying, ‘OK, you want to serve Me? I’ll give you a platform. What will you do with it?’
“He put me to the test. That’s the way I always looked at it. Jesus was wanting to see if I’d be faithful to my wife, to Him, [and] the church.”
Boone still has a hunger for God’s Word. In his 42nd year of reading through the Bible, he said he’s still learning. “Just opening more and more truths,” Boone said. “You can’t exhaust the wisdom in it.”
Colleen Moody-Koch is giving the book to her elderly parents in South Africa.
“They are 93 years old,” she shared. “I’m just heartbroken that though they believe in Jesus, they believe in God, they don’t have a relationship [with Jesus Christ].
“I’m struggling to get through to them, so I’m just praying that maybe something in this book will mean something to them.”
Many of those who waited patiently in line enjoyed reminiscing about their favorite Pat Boone songs, his movies, and TV appearances.
John Zack loves Boone’s optimism, along with his unflinching morals and faith. “I respect that he stood up for his values regardless of the fallout in his Hollywood career,” Zack said. “He did not compromise, and he’s still standing.”
Eighty-year-old Donna Cartner and her daughter, Karen Walter, were thrilled after meeting Boone Saturday. “I started singing ‘Twixt Twelve and Twenty,’ and then he and Karen started singing,” said Cartner. Laughing, she said, “We just had a little concert.”
Walter recalls seeing Boone in concert and how he challenged the audience to introduce their grandkids to Jesus Christ and be spiritual role models for them.
“He’s been an inspiration to me,” Walter said. “It’s an inspiration that he emerged from the entertainment industry with his eyes still on the cross.
“Jesus came to save me and my mother and Pat Boone and all people,” she said. “I want that freedom that comes in Christ for everyone.”