Cliff Barrows was born on April 6, 1923 in Ceres, California. He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1944 and served as an assistant pastor at Temple Baptist Church in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Cliff first met Billy Graham while on his honeymoon in 1945. He attended a Youth for Christ rally in Asheville, North Carolina and learned the music leader had failed to show. Cliff volunteered to help with the music for the evening, and a lifetime friendship with Billy began. Cliff gave up pastoring to join Billy Graham’s ministry full time.
Over the years, Cliff led countless numbers of singers in the Crusade choirs and was instrumental in the weekly radio program Hour of Decision. He also directed the work of World Wide Pictures, the film company of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Additionally, he managed the Crusade platform and oversaw production of the television ministry.
In Billy Graham’s autobiography, Just As I Am, he says of Cliff: “But all of that talent is not the secret of Cliff’s effectiveness. It is his humility and his willingness to be a servant, which spring from his devotional life and his daily walk with Christ. The love of Christ so monopolizes his heart and will that he never seeks his own advantage at the expense of others or puts another person down. I trust Cliff, and I love him like a brother.”
Cliff was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1996.
In “Then Sings My Soul, “ a special exhibit at the Billy Graham Library featuring the music of the ministry, Cliff’s significant contributions play an important role. Among the items on display are the microphone he used to record “The Hour of Decision” when he was at home; his trombone, given to him in 1950 by the Billy Graham Atlanta Crusade Choir; and his personal songbook with his handwritten notes.