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Billy Graham (or William Franklin Graham) (born: 1918) is an American Christian evangelist who has preached the message of Christianity around the world. Many of his sermons center on the topic: Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.
Billy Graham has preached the message of Christianity around the world, reaching live audiences of 210 million people in 185 countries. He has led hundreds of thousands of people to make personal decisions to accept Jesus Christ into their lives.
While still a seminarian at Wheaton College, Graham was ordained a Southern Baptist minister in 1939 and served briefly as pastor of the Village Church in Western Springs, Illinois, not far from Wheaton, in 1943-44. While there, a friend of Graham's, Torrey Johnson, pastor of the Midwest Bible Church in Chicago, told Graham that his radio program "Songs in the Night" was about to be cancelled for lack of funding. Consulting with the members of his church in Western Springs, Graham decided to take over Johnson's program with financial support from his parishioners. Launching the new and revitalized radio program on January 2. 1944, still called "Songs in the Night," Graham recruited the baritone George Beverly Shea as his director of radio ministry. While the radio ministry continued for many years, Graham decided to move on in early 1945. He served as president of Northwestern College in Minnesota in 1948, and at age 30 was (and still is) the youngest person to serve as a sitting college president.
Initially, Graham intended to become a chaplain in the armed forces, but shortly after applying for a commission he came down with a severe case of mumps that ended that plan. After a period of recuperation in Florida, Graham went on to co-found Youth for Christ with evangelist Charles Templeton. He travelled throughout the United States and Europe as an evangelist. Unlike many evangelists then and now, Graham had little formal theological training; he turned down offers to attend Princeton Theological Seminary.
Billy Graham has conducted over 41 evangelistic crusades since 1948. He began this form of ministry in 1947 and continued until recently. He would rent a large venue, such as a stadium, present the gospel to a large crowd and call for a response.