Billy Graham will hold his final crusade Friday via his own funeral, which he planned years in advance as his last platform for sharing Christ’s message.
Graham’s last public crusade ended in 2005, but the man who had come to be known as America’s Pastor prepared for his funeral to serve as his true final crusade, according to The Charlotte Observer. The 90 minute service in Charlotte, N.C., will feature personal messages from his children, songs from worship artists who sang at his crusades, prayers from pastors all over the world, and elements that pay homage to Graham’s early tent revival days, according to plans that Graham developed over more than ten years with those closest to him,
“His fingerprints are on this service for sure,” family spokesman Mark DeMoss told the Observer. “The Graham family has long considered that his funeral eventually would really be his last crusade.”
Graham’s son Franklin will deliver the main funeral address after his other children have shared their messages. Christian worship artists Michael W. Smith, Linda McCrary-Fisher, and the Gaither Vocal Band, all of whom sang in Franklin’s crusades and more recently sang for him at his home, will sing at the funeral service as well. Graham’s executive assistant, David Bruce, and his pastor, Donald Wilton of First Baptist Church, will also speak at the burial.
Funeral attendees, expected to number at about 2,300 and to include President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, will gather under a tent as a homage to Graham’s first crusade in 1949 — the Los Angeles “Canvas Cathedral” revival.
Much like his life, Graham’s funeral will revolve around sharing the message of Christ’s gospel, presented in a fashion similar to his ministry’s online Steps To Peace message.
“It was Mr. Graham’s explicit intent that his funeral service reflect and reinforce the Gospel message he preached for more than 60 years,” DeMoss said, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Graham will be buried next to his wife, Ruth Bell Graham, on the grounds of the Billy Graham library.
Also from the Daily Caller – some of the best quotes from the funeral service.
Billy Graham’s family, along with thousands of mourners, laid Graham’s body to rest Friday with touching tributes to his memory and powerful Gospel presentations.
Graham’s ministry profoundly impacted the lives, ministries and countries of attending mourning pastors from across the globe. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania and Vice President Pence also arrived to pay their respects to Graham and his legacy. The most moving remembrances, however, came from Graham’s sister and his children. Here are some of the best quotes from those who paid tribute to Graham by honoring what they saw God do in his life and by presenting the Gospel, for his final crusade.
- “On February the 21st, Heaven came down and took my brother from me. One day, Heaven will come down and take me. And I know what he would want me to say today is, Heaven is coming again and would like to take you also.” – Jean Graham, Billy’s sister.
- “My father was not God, but he showed me what God was like that day. When we come to God with our sin, our brokenness, our failure, our pain, and our hurt, God says ‘Welcome home.’ And that invitation is open for you.” – Ruth Graham, Billy’s daughter.
- “The Billy Graham [who] the world saw on television, the Billy Graham [who] the world saw in the big stadiums, was the same Billy Graham [who] we saw at home. There weren’t two Billy Grahams.” – Franklin Graham, Billy’s son.
- “My father also was a great liberator. He brought millions of people out of bondage to sin, and he gets us to the edge of Heaven, the edge of the promised land, and then God has called him home… And I believe this is a shot across the bow from Heaven. And I believe God is saying ‘Wake up Church! Wake up world! Wake up Anne! Jesus is coming.” – Anne Graham Lotz, Billy’s daughter.
- “So I want to make a pledge to my daddy. And I pledge to you daddy, that in view of His appearing, and in front of all of these witnesses, I will preach the Word. I will do the work of an evangelist. I will share the gospel. And I will run my race and live my life so that five minutes before I see Jesus I have no regrets. I will live my life to exalt and glorify the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, I love you, daddy.” – Anne Graham Lotz.
- “My father was F-A-T. He was Faithful, he was Available, and he was Teachable … May we all be that way.” – Nelson Graham, Billy’s son.
- “Mr. Graham had a profound and deeply spiritual conviction concerning the word of God. The Bible. He loved the Bible. It governed how he lived and it governed how he died.” – Dr. Don Wilton, Billy’s Pastor
- “American people, I thank you in the name of Jesus for standing behind this great man to fulfill the mission which was given to him by God and I do pray that God will bless America for giving the world such a great man as Billy Graham.” – Rev. Sami Dagher of Lebanon
- “Thank you for bringing salvation message to our part of the world… Indeed, you have had impact on millions of lives including Kings, and presidents, and vice presidents, and common people around the world.” – Rev. Billy Kim of South Korea