Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
My life was influenced on a black and white TV in our family home while growing up watching Billy Graham Crusades. I remember I felt a conviction that Jesus Christ changed lives as I listened to Billy Graham and watched thousands of people come from all corners of the stadium to the stage to say, “Here I am. I give myself to follow Jesus.”
It would be years later that I would serve on the executive committee for a Graham Crusade in Philadelphia and then while serving as a bishop, I was asked to be the vice chairperson for the Graham Crusade in Baltimore. I was deeply honored to serve and I was moved by the lives that were touched at these crusades. Crusades and Billy Graham were not an answer, but a vehicle by which God worked to transform lives, including my life. I found that these experiences set me on a journey, inspiring me to live and lead a life shaped by Jesus Christ.
Today we mourn the life of Billy Graham, not a saint but a vessel, not perfect but a servant of God, not for everyone, but for millions he was the one that God used to draw them to Christ. Today we remember a life and I hope we recommit to sharing the Gospel in our preaching, witness and living so that others say, “I want what you have, what you live, Christ Jesus.”
Keep the faith!
Bishop John Schol
The United Methodist Church
of Greater New Jersey