Until the vision for the Billy Graham Library was explained in these terms, Billy Graham was against the idea of a library bearing his name. He was so adamant against anything that would detract from the message he has preached for more than 60 years—a message that points to Christ alone as the way to God.
When the concept of the Library was described to Mr. Graham as a “Crusade” that would continue for generations to come, he reconsidered. “When it was presented as an ongoing ministry and that people would have the opportunity to be won to Christ, I changed my mind,” he said.
In line with Mr. Graham’s wishes, the Library’s core experience is the Gospel and the transforming power it has on a life that says yes to Jesus Christ.
Built on the same property as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, right off of Billy Graham Parkway in Charlotte, N.C., the Library is organized around the themes of “The Man,” “The Message,” “The Ministry,” and “The Mission” with the message being pre-eminent: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The ministry is taking that message to the ends of the earth. The Journey of Faith focuses on what God did in the life of a young farm boy who grew up in rural North Carolina, committed his life to Jesus Christ at a local revival and, through God’s grace manifested in him, became what many consider “America’s pastor” and evangelist to the world.
Reminiscent of Billy Graham’s upbringing on a dairy farm on the outskirts of Charlotte, the Library building is styled after a dairy barn, and his boyhood home has been restored a short walk from the main Library building. The entrance to the Library is in the shape of a cross, a visual reminder to visitors that it is only through the Cross of Christ that we can be reconciled to God.
The tour begins and ends with multimedia presentations, the first to lay a foundation for what guests will encounter in the exhibits and, at the end, another to consider the same call Billy Graham has extended to millions of others in 185 countries.
“We are not lifting up or pointing to Billy Graham,” says son Franklin Graham. “We are pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ.” Throughout the tour, visitors hear the Gospel presented and have opportunity to respond to the message.
The Billy Graham Library is not a memorial, nor is it a museum. The Billy Graham Library is a ministry, prayerfully planned with the intention of communicating the unchanging, life-giving message of Jesus Christ to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who may never attend a Crusade.
Plans for the Library were announced on April 23, 2005, at the BGEA headquarters and the groundbreaking ceremony took place in August of that year.
The dedication ceremony took place on Thursday, May 31, 2007, and was attended by Billy Graham, former Presidents Carter, Clinton and Bush and a crowd of nearly 1,500.
The Library complex includes Billy Graham’s childhood home, built in 1927 on their dairy farm about four miles away from the Library. It has been beautifully restored and is filled with family photos and personal items of the Graham family.
In January 2010, the Library was closed for renovations to improve the sound in several areas of the tour, as well as the addition of Billy Graham’s personal library, and the installation of a custom mural painted by Thomas Kinkade.
Over a million visitors have been through the Library since its opening.
The Billy Graham Library will endeavor to bring inspiration to its guests through the story of a man who used his God-given potential to bring God’s love, strength, hope and kindness to millions of people around the world. The ongoing crusade message of the Library will continue for generations to come.