Veteran Billy Graham preached in Los Angeles in November, 55 years after his first Los Angeles tent mission, which propelled him into a worldwide ministry. You can read a news story about the crusade and the health of the 86-year-old evangelist on page 10.
Billy Graham has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history - over 210 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film, and webcasts. Since the 1949 Los Angeles crusade vaulted him into the public eye, he has led hundreds of thousands of individuals to make personal decisions to live for Christ, which has been the main thrust of his ministry.
We can't all be like Billy Graham; he has a very special anointing from God - but we can and we should be like Bert McMakin. The teenage Billy Graham was not interested in spiritual matters. When an evangelist visited his local town - he rejected invitations to attend, even his good friend Albert McMakin couldn't persuade Billy to come along. However Albert owned a truck and offered 16-year-old Billy the powerful incentive of driving to the meeting - that swung it. Billy drove a truck full of young people to the revival meeting and was captivated by the message, triggering the 180 degree turn that his life took. Every Christian knows the name Billy Graham, while Albert McMakin is virtually unknown, but what an incredible impact his concern and creative response has made!
This month several articles focus on this unseen heroes theme: In the first of two articles about The Brethren, Andy Peck explores the huge impact a relatively small but dynamic group of believers has made. They exploded into life in the 1820's, and their impact continues to be felt in virtually every denomination and network today. Their rise and recent decline has important lessons for us today.
Our cover feature focuses on the growing trend in the UK to work towards healthy bodies, minds and spirits in health clubs. One in 10 Britons is now a member of a health club - Catherine Larner explores the creative, but mostly unseen, ways that individuals and local churches are trying to share their faith at the gym.
Our specially extended Feedback section mostly focuses on the ongoing debate over atonement theology - but it also includes a letter from a reader who took on a supermarket chain over lewd and sexist greetings cards - singlehanded she got the head office to reconsider their stance.
You may not be a Billy Graham preaching to millions and see thousands respond - but you can make a huge difference by the way you live, the choices you make, the genuine love you give, the determination you hold, the respect you offer others, the practical and prophetic words of life you share… Being available and sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit means each day is a risk and an adventure - who knows where it might lead! When Bert let 16-year-old Billy take the wheel he could hardly have expected the amazing consequences. What might God do through you and me this year, this week, this day?