The Gospel’s transforming message can be heard throughout the Billy Graham Library, a historical, spiritual site that works as an active ministry for millions of visitors. Religious groups of all kinds make the trek to learn about Billy Graham’s life and his mission to spread the love of the Lord and show people the path to God through Jesus Christ. The Library is an ongoing crusade, dedicated to Billy Graham’s life and ministry, conveyed through exhibits, guided tours, and a beautiful campus.[/one_half]
Who Was Billy Graham
Graham, born William Franklin Graham, Jr., grew up on his family’s dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina. At the age of 15, he professed his faith in Jesus Christ after attending a series of revival meetings. He became a preacher during his university days at Wheaton College, and hosted several speaking engagements there. Soon after leaving school, he began his mission of spreading the Gospel through Crusades, marking the start of his ministry in 1947. Since that day, he’s conducted more than 400 evangelistic outreaches in 185 countries on six continents, preaching his inspiring words to more than 215 million people.
History of the Billy Graham Library
Graham’s message lives on at the Library. The 40,000-square-foot campus first opened to the public back in 2007. It is located on the grounds of the international headquarters of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, only a few miles from where Graham spent his childhood. Styled to reflect Graham’s upbringing, the Library is designed after a dairy barn, and his boyhood home was restored and placed near the main Library. The exhibits are organized by the four main themes of The Man, The Message, The Ministry, and The Mission; and each contributes to the ministry and its goals to continue Graham’s work.
Group Experiences at the Billy Graham Library
Hundreds of religious groups—from church retreats to youth groups—visit the Billy Graham Library every year. Visitors can learn about the life of the famous pastor through state-of-the-art exhibits, film presentations, galleries, and more.
One of the best ways to experience the Library is through a tour. The Journey of Faith is a free, hour and a half tour that retraces Graham’s life and ministry through films, rare photos, memorabilia, and educational exhibits. Groups will discover Graham’s innovative use of radio and television to share the Word of God, his inspiring Crusades all over the world, and his relationship with many influential figures.
Groups can also visit the Graham Family Homeplace, where Graham lived from the time he was nine until he left for college; and take a stroll through the Memorial Prayer Garden, a peaceful setting nestled next to the burial sites of Billy and Ruth Bell Graham.
Several tour options are available. Guests can take the free self-guided tour of The Journey of Faith by visiting the Billy Graham Library information desk. Groups of 10 or more are encouraged to contact the Library ahead of their visit. For a close look at Graham’s life and home, groups of 10-15 can schedule a History and Heritage Tour ($11, lunch included) where participants will discover pivotal moments memorialized at the Library along with a special tour of the Graham family home and the Video Media Services department at the headquarters of Mr. Graham’s ministry, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Groups looking to learn more about Billy Graham’s impact on his hometown of Charlotte, N.C. can sign up for the Billy Graham Hometown Tour through C-Charlotte Tours ($39/adult; $22/child 6-12 years). The tour highlights many major events in Graham’s life, while also showcasing his home state of North Carolina. The tour begins at the Billy Graham Library with a look at how the humble farmer’s son became a pastor. Groups can enjoy lunch at the Graham Brothers Dairy Bar, serving fresh sandwiches, salads, and cookies; and then peruse unique gifts and souvenirs in Ruth’s Attic, including books written by Graham’s family members. After lunch, groups will take a tour around Charlotte, visiting historic sites from the life of Billy Graham.
For those planning a student youth trip to the Billy Graham Library, there are several helpful resources. Educators can download lesson plans to use prior to, during, and after their visit, keeping the ministry message front of mind even after the trip is over.
The Mission Lives On
The Billy Graham Library is not a museum, it’s a living ministry where groups of all faiths and backgrounds can come together and be inspired by Billy Graham’s message. Graham’s overwhelming dedication to God’s Word transcends time, continuing to influence and motivate thousands of visitors who make their way to the Library every year.