Volunteers: The Heart of the Billy Graham Library

April 9, 2024

Categories: Volunteers

When you hear the words ‘The Billy Graham Library,’ what comes to mind? Is it the Gospel, or do you think of Billy Graham himself? Maybe you think about books or about Billy Graham Crusades. But do you think about volunteers?

Volunteers are what make The Billy Graham Library so special. They bring the Library’s mission to life day in and day out, interacting with every guest that walks through its doors. They have the unique opportunity to set the tone and atmosphere for guests – from the parking lot to The Journey of Faith, volunteers enhance the experience.

Susan Waters, a volunteer at the Library, shared, “Sometimes people are really hurting, and even though you don’t know them, just a few kind words and scripture seems to give them a peace and calmness they couldn’t get anywhere else.”

Susan Waters, a volunteer at The Journey of Faith, in the Billy Graham Homeplace

The Billy Graham Library stands as an ongoing Billy Graham Crusade, bringing in visitors from all corners of the world.

“So many people come from all over – it’s amazing. At times, I don’t even have words to explain how Billy Graham touched people throughout his life, spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said volunteer, Pilar Pizarro. She went on to say, “Just today, I met someone from Brazil that heard Billy Graham speak when he was young, and now he is here at the Library going through The Journey of Faith. It’s just amazing.”

Chuck Starr, another Library volunteer, put it this way, “On any given day, I could be in conversation with people from six different continents. It expands your world view. For example, we’ve gotten to talk to people from the Ukraine who have come here to the States as refugees. That puts us on the front lines.”

The Journey of Faith volunteer, Pilar Pizarro, in the Prayer Room

Not only do volunteers have the opportunity to relate with visitors and tell them about Billy Graham’s message of hope, but they also get to pray with them. Many of the volunteers have shared that praying with guests also benefits them, deepening their own faith and trust in the Lord.

Pizarro shared, “When I first started volunteering in 2016, even though I am Hispanic, it was kind of hard for me to pray in Spanish, because I speak fluent English also. But I could and still do feel the Holy Spirit using me. It’s all God. He speaks through me and to me, giving me the right words to pray.”

There is a deep need for volunteers to be able to connect with visitors in a way that resonates with them. One way God has blessed Pizarro to be able to do this is by being fluent in two languages.

“Once I start speaking Spanish, it’s like a light bulb, peoples’ faces just light up, and they open up,” she said with the biggest grin on her face.

Service team volunteer, Chuck Starr, assisting with the STEAM Field Trip Program 

When you take part in the volunteer program, you are not only planting seeds, but you, too, get fed and watered by the Holy Spirit.

“Volunteering has helped draw me out of the world of introverts and to be able to share the Gospel in everyday life. The boldness is incredible. We are given the freedom to test out that boldness here [at the Library], so when we do go home to our neighborhoods or to Walmart or wherever we go, that boldness starts to build in us. And all of a sudden, things start coming out of my mouth that I’m like ‘where did that come from?’ and I know it’s God,” said Starr.

Bessie Powell has been serving as a volunteer at the Library since it opened in 2007. Now, seventeen years later, and she still has the same joy and excitement for volunteering each week as she did that very first year.

She expressed, “Everything I do around here [at the Library] is rewarding in some way. I really truly look forward to Tuesdays. And if I can’t make it one Tuesday, then I will try my best to switch my shift for a different day.” When asked what one of her favorite things about the Library is, she responded with, “The people. They are not co-workers; they’re friends. They are here because they want to be, not because they have to be.”

The Journey of Faith Volunteer, Bessie Powell, pictured with Bessie the cow

The volunteer program consists of two year-round categories: service team volunteers and The Journey of Faith volunteers. The purpose of having two volunteer teams is to better accommodate peoples’ schedules, giving people the opportunity to volunteer even if they can’t commit to a regular, reoccurring volunteer shift.

Service team volunteers work Library events. They can pick and choose seven events in a year that align with their passions and schedules. On the other hand, The Journey of Faith volunteers, work set schedules on a regular basis. They have assigned areas throughout The Journey of Faith tour, which also includes the Prayer Room and the Homeplace. The heart behind both teams is the same though – to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to prayerfully love each Library visitor.

Waters said it best, “Run towards the Library, don’t walk. If you need a ride, I’ll come pick you up!”

You can learn more about joining the volunteer family at https://billygrahamlibrary.org/volunteer/.

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