Font Size » + | -By President Randall Bach The Rev. Billy Graham ranks as the most effective soul winner in the history of Christendom, contributing to more than 1.6 million salvations. He shared the gospel with over 210 million people! Earlier generations could remember that they lived during the time of the Apostle Paul, Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday, or many other notable preachers of the gospel. It has been our opportunity to live and remember the preaching and worldwide influence of Billy Graham. Every president since World War II has met with Billy Graham: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, G.W. Bush, Obama, and Trump. Billy Graham met with many other world leaders as well. What an impressive record! It will be difficult for anyone to match such a legacy of influence on such a massive scale over a comparable period of time. As has been observed by many writers and commentators, one of the distinguishing characteristics of Billy in his 70-plus years of ministry was his integrity. What a testimony. He was a humble hero of the Christian faith. At age 99, Billy joined his wife, Ruth, and a host of other saints in heaven. It was an honor and privilege to be invited to attend Billy Graham’s private funeral service in Charlotte, North Carolina, in a tent on the grounds of the Billy Graham library. I did so as an ambassador on behalf of all of the Open Bible ministers and church members who for generations have loved and respected Billy’s ministry. Approximately 2,000 people were in attendance, including President and Mrs. Trump and Vice President and Mrs. Pence. There were several hours of waiting for the funeral because of the security-wrapped shuttle system from off site to the Library. I was there five hours in advance of the service during which time I had opportunity to meet and visit with a number of people. All access roads were closed, except to the circulating shuttle buses filled with registered invitees. Metal detectors were kept busy at the entrances. One staffer told me they had been preparing for the event for ten years. The preparation and planning showed. I have wondered if there has ever been such a gathering of Christian notables in one place, ranging from political leaders to media celebrities, from one end of the Christian spectrum to the other. When someone like Catholic Cardinal Dolan is in the same gathering as Joel Osteen and Kathie Lee Gifford that is quite a range. Just about any recognizable Christian face you have seen on television was there. All were there to pay tribute to a humble man of God who always kept the main thing the main thing – the Bible is the Word of God and salvation comes through Jesus Christ. As one writer observed, even though there were many “stars” in attendance, there was no special limo service for anyone; all rode on the same shuttle buses, a fitting tribute to a giant of the faith who remained a humble servant of God and never claimed to be anything other than a preacher of the Word of God. Billy, thank you for serving and for leading the way as a servant of the Lord. We thank the Lord for how He chose and used you. We were inspired and blessed by you!