Franklin Graham’s tour of Australia has wrapped, ending a 16-day, six-city itinerary in Sydney on the 60th anniversary of Billy Graham’s 1959 Crusades.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association says more than 59,000 Australians attended the events. Over 2500 answered Graham’s call to accept Jesus as their Saviour.
More than 30,000 people watched the live-stream of the events from 114 countries. A further 1200 people indicated they had made decisions for Christ online, and another 400 did so via text.
Now, work begins for local churches to follow up those who became Christians during the tour. More than 12,000 Christians completed the Christian Life and Witness Course as part of preparation for Franklin Graham tour, equipping themselves to share their faith. Another 6000 Christians from local churches acted as prayer volunteers for the events, answering questions and praying with those who came forward to accept the gospel message.
“I really enjoy it – the impact that praying with new Christians can have. It’s very refreshing and feels so meaningful.” – Norman Wong
One of those volunteers was Norman Wong, who says he viewed it as an opportunity to be part of a big vision in a small way. Norman completed the Christian Life and Witness Course, travelling over an hour to attend a church that was running it. He then attended the first Sydney event on Saturday night, and prayed with five people who came forward.
“I really enjoy it – the impact that praying with new Christians can have. It’s very refreshing and feels so meaningful,” he told Eternity. “I guess I feel like I’m helping bring people to Christ, and while I do mission trips and am involved in overseas missions [Norman works at Bible Society], I like that this is very local.”
Norman says he made plans to meet up with one of the men he prayed for. The thousands of others who came forward filled out new believer forms, and BGEA says it will match them with local churches who will conduct further follow-up and introduce them to Christians in their local areas.
“I am not here for American politics … I am here simply to call Australians to repentance.” – Franklin Graham
BGEA’s Chairman, Karl Faase called the tour a “spectacular success”, writing on Facebook that most venues had had to turn people away as they were over capacity. In several cities, screens were erected outside the stadiums to allow people to watch the live stream.
The tour has not been without controversy, with many Christians boycotting the events and encouraging others to stay away, protesting Franklin Graham’s politics and vocal support of US President Donald Trump. He told Eternity at the beginning of his tour that he was hear “to preach the gospel. I am not here for American politics … I am here simply to call Australians to repentance.”