Will Graham - The Calling
The calling of Will Graham as an Evangelist
Will Graham and top artists reach teens with a message of hope
In September 2011, evangelist Will Graham completed an 18-day visit to the United Kingdom on Monday, culminating in the long-anticipated Rock Thurrock event at the Thurrock Civic Centre. It featured a Celebration of Hope for all ages and two Main Events for young people. Nearly 2,000 people attended, with 299 coming forward to make a decision to follow Jesus. Approximately 75 percent of those who came forward were between the ages of 10 and 18.
Will was joined onstage by some of the top Christian musical artistes in the United Kingdom, including hip-hop group LZ7, rock band Empire Nation, and rhythm & blues group Beautiful Remnant. Along with The Gathering Band, Shell Perris led a time of worship also featuring local singer Debbie Spice. Shell and Soldier served as emcees.
In addition to his messages, Will brought greetings from his father, Franklin Graham, and grandfather, Billy Graham, who has a long history of ministry in the United Kingdom. Throughout his time in the country, Will was warmly welcomed by many people who recalled seeing the elder Graham preach in one or more of his many UK events, beginning with his Greater London Crusade at Harringay Arena in 1954 and ending with Mission England in 1989.
Prior to the opening night of Rock Thurrock, Will spent two weeks touring the United Kingdom and speaking to several different groups from Cardiff to Exeter. “I’ve spoken with Christians and church leaders across the country, and they’re all telling me the same thing,” said Graham. “They all say that it feels like God is getting ready to do something big in the UK. They’ve seen things they haven’t seen in 30 years, such as the level of prayer and unity in the churches.”
Colin Baker, pastor of Grays Baptist Church and Core Team Leader for Rock Thurrock, shared the excitement that has been felt by Thurrock churches. “Throughout this past year, we’ve seen churches come to realise that we can work well together. People came to the Civic Centre on Friday night to see what all the fuss was about, and they could hardly believe what they were seeing. On Saturday and Sunday, the young people of the borough, including many from the schools that LZ7 visited, discovered that believing in Jesus Christ is not so stuffy; in fact, 'it Rocks Thurrock.' So Rock Thurrock has accomplished all we set out to achieve!"
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