Preparations are in full swing in Alice Springs for the town to welcome evangelist Will Graham, grandson of Billy Graham, this month.
Will Graham, from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), will appear at an enormous evangelistic rally run over a weekend in May, the likes of which Alice Springs has never seen before.
“We know a lot of people, especially amongst the Indigenous communities surrounding Alice, have expressed excitement about this event. They remember Billy Graham when he came to Australia and they’re excited that his grandson would come so far. It’s strong symbolism, that he’s coming to the heart of Australia to preach the gospel,” says Jorge Rodrigues, executive director of BGEA.
There are about 30 desert communities within a few hundred kilometres of Alice Springs and BGEA has asked Australian gospel singer Steve Grace to visit each community in the lead-up to the evangelistic rally and offer a personal invitation to come along.
“Steve Grace is loved by Indigenous people in the desert and often goes on outreach to the communities. It’s a massive undertaking involving thousands of kilometres of driving to visit each community,” says Rodrigues.
On his blog, Grace wrote, “we are believing that many will make the journey to Alice Springs for the historic three-day event. So far the expectation is very positive as people make plans to travel the corrugated outback roads from many remote communities.”
A television advertising campaign around Alice Springs and remote communities will also be conducted.
BGEA has been working with local churches of all the main denominations in Alice Springs for the last year, offering outreach programmes to equip church members to tell friends and family about Jesus, and invite them to the rally in May.
Rodrigues says the Reality rally has two aims. The first: “To see boys and girls, men and women come to a personal faith and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ; that they recognise Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. That’s the whole point of the rally,” he says.
The other is to rally the churches, encouraging and reviving them with the gospel.
“We’re all being encouraged to invite our friends and work colleagues and neighbours,” says David Blackman, a linguist and Bible translator working for the Australian Society For Indigenous Languages (AuSIL) in Alice Springs. “So it will be huge.”
Blackman told Eternity that the buzz in Alice Springs surrounding the Will Graham event is being felt across the churches.
Reality Alice Springs runs from 20-22 May.