Billy Graham will hold his final crusade Friday via his own funeral, which he planned years in advance as his last platform for sharing Christ’s message.
Graham’s last public crusade ended in 2005, but the man who had come to be known as America’s Pastor prepared for his funeral to serve as his true final crusade, according to The Charlotte Observer. The 90 minute service in Charlotte, N.C., will feature personal messages from his children, songs from worship artists who sang at his crusades, prayers from pastors all over the world, and elements that pay homage to Graham’s early tent revival days, according to plans that Graham developed over more than ten years with those closest to him,
“His fingerprints are on this service for sure,” family spokesman Mark DeMoss told the Observer. “The Graham family has long considered that his funeral eventually would really be his last crusade.”
Graham’s son Franklin will deliver the main funeral address after his other children have shared their messages. Christian worship artists Michael W. Smith, Linda McCrary-Fisher, and the Gaither Vocal Band, all of whom sang in Franklin’s crusades and more recently sang for him at his home, will sing at the funeral service as well. Graham’s executive assistant, David Bruce, and his pastor, Donald Wilton of First Baptist Church, will also speak at the burial.
Funeral attendees, expected to number at about 2,300 and to include President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, will gather under a tent as a homage to Graham’s first crusade in 1949 — the Los Angeles “Canvas Cathedral” revival.
Much like his life, Graham’s funeral will revolve around sharing the message of Christ’s gospel, presented in a fashion similar to his ministry’s online Steps To Peace message.
“It was Mr. Graham’s explicit intent that his funeral service reflect and reinforce the Gospel message he preached for more than 60 years,” DeMoss said, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Graham will be buried next to his wife, Ruth Bell Graham, on the grounds of the Billy Graham library.
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