What is a Festival or Celebration?
Since 1950, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has held Crusades all across the globe for one purpose: to proclaim God’s love to people who need Jesus Christ. Today, Franklin Graham Festivals and Will Graham Celebrations continue this life-changing mission. A Festival or Celebration is not just an evangelistic event; it is a process of prayer, training, outreach, and followup that takes place over a 12-month period—and it begins and ends with you, the local church.
It usually consists of three services:
Friday Night for Adults
Saturday Night for Youth
Sunday Afternoon for Young Families
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 Festival or Celebration is much larger than the few days of the actual event. While the evangelistic services are the most visible aspect of the Festival, they are not the only part. It all begins with local Christians praying and working behind the scenes to prepare the way for the Festival. Long after the event is over, area churches carry on the work, discipling those who came to faith during the Festival.
A Festival or Celebration is built upon the principles and experience of Billy Graham Crusades. From the earliest days of preparation to post-Festival follow-up, it follows the God-blessed pattern developed over the years by Billy Graham and his team. A Franklin Graham Festival isn’t just 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, and it continues to affect and shape lives for years afterward—and for eternity!
Through the Bring a Friend program, a Franklin Graham Festival uses individual evangelism in a mass setting. It strengthens and builds local congregations through involvement and training opportunities.
Here are six ways a Festival or Celebration can benefit you and your church:
Prayer Without prayer, we could not survive as Christians nor would we ever hold a Festival or Celebration. Every aspect of the Festival or 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 classes teach Christians how to effectively and confidently present the Gospel. The classes also prepare believers to pray with people who come forward at the Festival.
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 Festival, where their friends and loved ones will hear the message of salvation.
Spiritual Renewal As Christians prepare for the Festival, bring friends and family to the meetings, 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 the development of the Festival or Celebration that unite churches in the community.
New Christians in Local Churches The Festival 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 Festival or 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 Festival or 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 Festival or Celebration. This team works to coordinate the schedule of events, leads various working teams, raises Festival funds, and partners with BGEA in the ministry and outreach of the Festival or Celebration.
Since involvement and mobilization of local churches is critical to the success of the Festival or 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 Festival or Celebration materials, and recruitment of volunteers for different areas of involvement. Local working teams and a Festival or 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 Festival or 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 Festival budget, with all funds going toward the Festival or Celebration budget. All financial activity is promptly receipted, reported, and audited at the conclusion of the Festival or Celebration.
Franklin Graham and Will Graham receive no part of contributed funds designated for the Festival or Celebration. Their 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 Festival or Celebration as set forth in a charter.
Click below to download the Franklin Graham Festivals and the Will Graham Celebrations brochures.