Billy Graham

The Worlds of Billy Graham

The Worlds of Billy Graham project and conference examined the impact of the life, career, and ministry of evangelist Billy Graham.



Poster of Billy Graham's Memphis Evangelistic CampaignThe undoubted lynchpin that held the modern evangelical movement together, Graham’s 60+-year career provides a unique lens through which to examine American religion as well as the larger story of 20th-century American cultural and political history.

Moreover, his vast influence in promoting world evangelism and missions through such efforts as the Lausanne Committee has meant that he may well have been the singular most important figure in world Christianity during the same period.



On December 6, 2011, the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded the Institute a two-year grant and the ISAE pursued this topic in several ways: 

Worlds of Billy Graham Conference

The project culminated in a major conference for the support of scholarly research and writing which explored the unique insights Graham's life provides into American religion and the larger story of American cultural and political history and took place Sep. 26-28, 2013 at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. View a list of participants and topics >

Other Lectures and Conferences

Project Public Lectures and BGC Archival Research Lecture

The sponsorship of a series of lectures and course offerings at Graham’s alma mater, Wheaton College. Learn more >

"Billy Graham and Modern Evangelism" Conference

A series of day-long symposia on Graham’s legacy at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina. Learn more >

"A Gathering of Souls: The Billy Graham Crusades" Video Documentary 

The project included the production of a DVD documentary designed for classroom and adult study group use, produced by ISAE and Vision Video. A Gathering of Souls: The Billy Graham Crusades, a 50-minute video documentary, made by award-winning documentary maker Tim Frakes, examines the crusades that shaped the face of Evangelical Christianity in the 20th century. Graham's campaigns served as a catalyst for dozens of para-church organizations, united a splintering Evangelical community, and altered the course of countless individual lives. With expert commentary from pastors, academics, Graham associates, and fellow evangelists such as Luis Palau, this documentary gives the history of the crusades from the first event in Los Angeles in 1949 to the groundbreaking 1957 New York City crusade and on to remarkable gatherings behind the Iron Curtain and in the Far East. Watch >>

Research Travel Grants

In April 2013 the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals (ISAE) awarded three $500 research travel grants for graduate students and younger scholars studying the life and career of Billy Graham in the collections of the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College. These research grants were aimed at promoting the collections of the Billy Graham Center Archives.

The recipients of the grants were: 

  • William Purinton of Seoul Theological University
  • William J. Schultz of Princeton University
  • Rebecca Wagner of Cambridge University


Press Coverage of The Worlds of Billy Graham: Project and Conference

Martin Marty on the "Worlds of Billy Graham" conference

Martin E. Marty, professor emeritus of Church History at the University of Chicago Divinity School offers some thoughts on the ISAE's "Worlds of Billy Graham" conference as well as on the larger questions involving Graham's influence within American Christianity in his Sightings column of Monday, September 30th:  "Billy Graham Taught Christians New Ways of Being in the World."

TV Coverage of "Billy Graham and Modern Evangelism" Conference

Coverage of the ISAE's "Billy Graham and Modern Evangelism" January 24th meeting at Gordon-Conwell Theo. Seminary's Charlotte campus in The Charlotte Observer and on WSOC-TV (channel 9) >>

"Is contemporary American evangelicalism a generation that knoweth not Billy Graham?" Article

Veteran religion reporter Ken Garfield (ex-Charlotte Observer) writes about the ISAE's recent "Worlds of Billy Graham" conference and present-day evangelicals' receding memory of Graham's influence and legacy: "Analysis: Billy Graham's Legacy is Fading 'Into the Mists of History.'"


Lilly Endowment, Inc.


This project was funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment >>

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