In spring 1937 when Billy Graham was just starting out in ministry, John Minder, an Alliance church planter who was heavily influenced by the preaching and writings of A. B. Simpson, took Billy under his wing and invited him to stay at a conference center he had developed on the shores of Lake Swan near Melrose, Florida. On Easter Sunday, Minder took Graham to nearby Palatka, where Minder was to speak at a small Baptist church.
“You’re preaching tonight,” Minder informed Billy.
“No, sir!” said the horrified young man. “I’ve never preached before.”
“Well,” replied Minder, “you are preaching tonight. When you run out, I’ll take over.”
And so began the preaching legacy of “America’s Pastor.”
Since then, countless Alliance workers and laypeople have traced their spiritual beginnings and commitments to serve Jesus to one of Billy’s thousands of crusades attended by nearly 215 million people.
Of The Alliance, Dr. Billy Graham wrote, “As a young Bible student in Florida, I became acquainted with and involved in The Christian and Missionary Alliance church and the vision they have for world missions. Over the years I have enjoyed fellowship with Alliance missionaries around the world and support their endeavors to reach a lost world for Christ.”
Of Dr. Billy Graham, U.S. C&MA President John Stumbo writes, “Billy Graham walked with Jesus and preached His good news for my entire lifetime. I’m grateful and full of admiration for a life lived fully for Jesus. I can only imagine the multitudes welcoming Billy into his eternal home with the words, ‘God used you on my path to Christ. Thank you for your faithfulness!’ May the same be said of us one day.”
Read about the influence William T. MacArthur, an Alliance founding father, had on young Billy Graham.
Read about the invitation Alliance minister Howard O. Jones received to become Billy Graham’s first African-American evangelist.