Remembering Billy Graham

Matthew Crouch, Chairman of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, made the following statement on the passing of beloved evangelist Dr. Billy Graham:

On behalf of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Laurie and I send our love and prayers to the family and ministry of Dr. Billy Graham as this humble, one-of-a-kind servant of God has finished his earthly mission and taken his place with Christ and the saints of the ages.

Billy Graham will go down in history as the greatest evangelist of all time.

On a personal level, as a teenager working Billy Graham’s Reno, Nevada event — and later his 1985 California Anaheim Stadium event in my early 20’s — I saw Billy Graham as larger than life. I still do, but at that time I could not have been more impressed had the Apostle Paul and the sitting President of the United States both walked into the greenroom after my first event working as a young cameraman.

Beyond the thousands who gave their hearts to the Lord in those stadiums and on television (Reno was the first time Christian television worked together, with both TBN and then CBN covering the event live), what made an unforgettable impression on me was that Billy made me feel like the most important person in the room when we shook hands — a room full of dignitaries. He was without a doubt one of the most gracious human beings I’d ever been privileged to meet.

Over the years, my family’s relationship with Dr. Graham grew closer and closer in the common vision we all shared: to see individuals and families around the world transformed through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In my mother’s final days, she would often travel to Billy’s mountain home, share a meal and read the Bible to him. This happened numerous times, and they became extremely close in their twilight years.

In his final public days, I was honored to serve on the executive committee for Billy Graham’s last stadium events held in Los Angeles and New York City, a committee chaired by Bishop Kenneth Ulmer and Dr. Jack Hayford. Once again, Dr. Graham was as kind to me as he was the first time he met that young cameraman.

Only eternity will reveal the fruit borne by Billy Graham’s untiring, life-long pursuit of souls for Christ. He was a friend and confidant to ministry leaders and presidents, 20-something cameramen, and everyone in between fortunate enough to have known him. And for countless individuals across the earth, he helped unlock the door of heaven. Today we honor his remarkable life and unmatched Kingdom legacy.