The Message & The Goal
- To mobilize the Christian community to gather as many people as possible to hear the message that Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6, NKJV).
- To give people an opportunity to make a personal commitment to Jesus Christ.
- To refer inquirers to a local church for follow-up and Christian nurture.
- To strengthen the local church.
A Will Graham Celebration is much larger than the few days of the actual evangelistic event.
It all begins with local Christians praying and working behind the scenes preparing for the Celebration. Long after the event, area churches carry on the work—discipling those who came to faith during the Celebration.
A Celebration is built upon the principles and experience of Billy Graham Crusades, following the God-blessed pattern developed over the years by Billy Graham and his team. A Will Graham Celebration isn’t simply in the community a few days and then gone. It’s a Spirit-led process that begins months, even years, before through the efforts of people like you. Lives are affected and changed for years afterward—and for eternity!
Through the Bring a Friend program, a Will Graham Celebration uses individual evangelism in a mass setting. It strengthens and builds local congregations through involvement and training opportunities.
Here are six ways a Celebration can benefit you and your church:
Prayer Without prayer, we could not survive as Christians nor would we ever hold a Celebration. Every aspect of the Celebration directs believers toward prayer—determined, heartfelt, ceaseless prayer.
Evangelism Training Many committed Christians have never shared their faith because they don’t know how or they are afraid. The Christian Life and Witness course teaches Christians how to effectively and confidently present the Gospel. The classes also prepare believers to pray with people who come forward at the Celebration.
An Action Plan for Witnessing Christians put their learning into practice through Bring a Friend. After participants identify family and friends who need to know Jesus Christ, they commit to pray for and build relationships with them—leading up to an invitation to the Celebration, where their friends and loved ones will hear the message of salvation.
Spiritual Renewal As Christians prepare for the Celebration, bring friends and family to events, and worship with other believers, the Lord can bring renewal into individual lives and congregations.
Christian Unity The church is never stronger than when it is united with one common goal, to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lasting relationships and bonds are formed in planning for the Celebration that unite community churches.
New Christians in Local Churches The Celebration process is designed to bring new believers into churches where their spiritual growth is encouraged. New Christians add vitality to congregational life and worship.
All Celebration inquirers—those who come forward and respond to the Gospel message—are asked by counselors to state their church preference or the church that invited them; this is recorded on the counseling card.
According to the person’s stated preference, a card with contact information is sent to ministers of participating churches for follow-up and nurture.
In cases where the inquirer has stated a nonparticipating church preference, he or she is referred for follow-up and nurture to a local small-group Bible study. A follow-up report with contact information is sent to that person’s pastor, indicating his or her decision.
In cases where the inquirer has not stated a church preference or has indicated a non-Christian assembly, a special pastor follow-up report with contact information is sent to the participating church nearest the person’s home.
Reports with inquirers’ contact information are sent to participating churches for follow-up.
Each Celebration is organized as a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), and a leadership team of local pastors and laypeople serves as the controlling body of the Celebration. This team works to coordinate the schedule of events, leads various working teams, raises Celebration funds, and partners with BGEA in the ministry and outreach of the Celebration.
Since involvement and mobilization of local churches is critical to the success of the Celebration, each church is encouraged to form a local church leadership team—usually composed of four to six people—to mobilize men, women, students and children.
With the help of the local church leadership team, a congregation can be mobilized through planning, information sharing, distribution of Celebration materials and recruitment of volunteers for different areas of involvement. Local working teams and a Celebration director assigned by BGEA assist the local church leadership teams in their work, which extends over a few months’ time.
Our Finance Policy
The Celebration operates as a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, without having to be a separate nonprofit entity. The local leadership team accepts and raises a percentage of the total Celebration budget, with all funds going toward the Celebration budget. All financial activity is promptly receipted, reported and audited at the conclusion of the Celebration.
Will Graham receives no part of contributed funds designated for the Celebration. His salary, travel, accommodations, etc., are expenses paid by BGEA.
The local leadership team is responsible for adopting and implementing the general finance policy for the Celebration as set forth in a charter.
Click below to download the Will Graham Celebrations brochure.