1.6 million accept Christ in 2014 through Billy Graham ministries

by Will Hall |

(Courtesy of BGEA)Will Graham kicked off the 2014 Crusade season with a Celebration of Grace in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, on Feb 7-9. In a place where Christians make up just 6 percent of the island's population of 20 million, thousands of people heard the Gospel and hundreds made decisions for Christ.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Christian Examinre) -- The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association released the results of its 2014 evangelistic outreaches, noting that the Gospel was shared with nearly 9.5 million individuals with more than 1.6 million of these surrendering their lives to Christ. The evangelistic ministry had a presence in every nation in the world in 2014 with the only possible exception of North Korea, where information cannot be verified.

"Our hearts overflow with gratitude to God for all He has done and is doing, and we are eager to keep pressing forward as He continues to open doors," Franklin Graham, BGEA president and CEO, said in a statement on BillyGraham.org.

The ministry pressed forward in 2014 through multiple approaches, including festivals (crusade-like efforts), online outreach, in-home videos and crisis response.

Highlights for the year included:

-- Marking a milestone for its Internet evangelism through "Search for Jesus," which reached its 5 millionth person for Christ since launching in 2011. More than 20,000 people a day log online to view a presentation of the Gospel and engage with trained counselors.

(Courtesy of BGEA)Worshiping the one true God in both English and Spanish at the Greater El Paso Festival of Hope in April.

-- Hosting large-scale events in El Paso, Texas, Pittsburgh and Erie, Pa., Clinton, Miss, Toronto, Canada, Sapporo, Japan, Tbilisi, Georgia, Warsaw, Poland, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, Fukuoka and Tokyo, Japan, Broken Hill, Australia, Mount Hagen, and Papua New Guinea. Together, live audiences totaled more than 180,000 with more than 14,700 making commitments to Christ.

-- Ministering through its Rapid Response Teams' 300 crisis-trained chaplains in 17 situations across the country, most recently in the community of Ferguson, Mo., following the unrest there. More than 11,000 survivors of tragedies received emotional and spiritual care. Internationally, Billy Graham chaplains responded to flooding in the United Kingdom, and continued a longstanding presence in the Philippines following the massive devastation of Typhoon Haiyan (also called Typhoon Yolanda).

(Courtesy of BGEA)Ferguson, Missouri, residents Calvin Taylor and Sharonda Williams were married by Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains on Dec. 12 in the heart of Ferguson. A team of chaplains went into the hurting community following violence and unrest in the wake of a grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Since the chaplains arrived in Ferguson just before Thanksgiving, they've encountered kindness and hospitality from all parts of the community and have had opportunities to talk and pray with hundreds of people.

-- Distributing more than 200,000 copies of the My Hope video, "Heaven" and logging 150,000, plus, views on YouTube. In the United Kingdom, 12,000 churches and organizations registered for My Hope UK to show the film "The Cross" – making it one of the largest evangelistic outreaches in recent years in the UK.

The ministry even saw 840 inidividuals commit their lives to Christ among the approximate 142,000 persons who toured The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C.

In 2015, the BGEA is planning major evangelistic crusades on five continents, in countries that include Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Philippines, and Tanzania, as well as in several places in the United States. My Hope will continue in the U.S., Canada and the UK, and, plans are in development for additional countries.