While Billy Graham’s enduring devotion to God gave him his boundless drive, he realized the Lord placed individuals in his path to provide crucial support to the ministry. Their loyalty and faithfulness allowed Billy to reach millions of people around the world with the Bible’s message of hope through forgiveness, and share the wonderful gift of salvation and heaven.
Some of those individuals included pastors such as Dr. Calvin Thielman, Billy’s pastor in Montreat NC, Dr. W.A. Criswell, Dr. Lloyd Oglivie, Dr. E.V. Hill, Dr. Harold Ockenga, and Dr. Richard Bewes. Mr. Graham also talked about Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade, Dr. V. Raymond Edman of Wheaton College, and Dr. Charles Fuller of Fuller Seminary giving him good counsel. Guiding Mr. Graham to use radio and television were Walter Bennett and Fred Dienert. He also asked Millie Dienert to oversee and guide the world prayer effort for large events such as the three Amsterdam Conferences in 1983, 1986, and 2000. Additionally, Mr. Graham expressed many times how he treasured his time with and guidance received from his father-in-law, Dr. Nelson Bell, and when it came to spiritual things, he has said that his wife Ruth had the greatest influence on his ministry.
In the early 1950’s, as the ministry was beginning, Mr. Graham was concerned about how to best handle the finances. “I asked Dr. Jesse Bader when he was secretary for evangelism at the National Council of Churches how he would suggest that we handle our finances, and his advice was that we incorporate as a non-profit organization with a board of directors to which we were accountable, and that all of us have fixed salaries, comparable to what an urban pastor would receive, and that we not accept speaking fees or honorariums. This was wonderful advice and a completely new approach.”
Dr. Harold Lindsell, Editor of Christianity Today expressed, “Billy Graham has been gifted with the ability to gather around him men and women of great skills who can execute and bring to pass the things he envisions. His vision and leadership come from a man whose blameless life, financial integrity, and loyalty to the Word of God is unequalled.”