Billy Graham’s beginnings with Youth for Christ

Billy Graham served as the first full-time evangelist of the Youth for Christ ministry in the mid-1940s. Torrey Johnson, the founder of Youth for Christ, called a young Graham to take over one of his radio programs in Chicago. At the time, Billy was serving as pastor of a small Baptist church in Western Springs, Illinois. After several months on the air, Johnson offered Billy Graham an even greater opportunity – to kick off the first night of “Chicagoland’s Youth for Christ” meetings and, eventually, become the first vice-president of Youth for Christ International.

“Johnson could have had any famous preacher from the city or afar, but wished to work with the circle of young ministers who shared his vision and had instinctive understanding of their generation. They were all Chicago men except North Carolinian Billy, but Johnson had not the slightest doubt that for an evangelistic sermon to youth, Billy Graham had no equal.” (from “Billy Graham: The Authorized Autobiography” by John Pollack, 1966, McGraw-Hill)


Several memorabilia items from Billy Graham’s days with Youth for Christ were recently added to the Journey of Faith at the Billy Graham Library, including a Youth for Christ gift notepad; “Calling Youth to Christ,” a book written by Billy Graham urging young people to follow Christ; a special edition of the Youth for Christ Revival Magazine recounting Graham’s Portland and Minneapolis meetings; and several promotional pins given during Youth for Christ events.


For a closer look at the Youth for Christ memorabilia and look at the highlights of historic moments in the life and ministry of Billy Graham, visit the Billy Graham Library’s Journey of Faith.

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  1. I will never forget Youth for Christ as a 15 year old guy in the city of Carlisle in the far north west UK ….. Praise the Lord !

  2. I will never forget Youth for Christ as a 15 year old guy in the city of Carlisle in the far north west UK ….. Praise the Lord !

  3. David M Sand says:

    I came to Medicine Lake MN Christian Camp as a small MK from Colombia. I was allowed to go to the messages for the older YFC students.. The last night of the camp Billy was talking about holding up the torch. Then he said, “The torch that burns most brightly burns quickly. (B G) said, I want to be the brightest torch no matter how quickly. I want to be bright and shining for Christ for as long as I live.” I have been remembering that message that he gave in either 1946 or 47. It has been with me for all the years as a worker in missions.

  4. Pastor Nelson Namba says:

    God’s greater plan of salvation must be fulling through love and through His amazing grace. No wonder God makes man through man. Ezekiel 37: 1++ , God caused prophet Ezekiel to see the very dry bones in the valley of dry bones. And God commanded Ezekiel to preach the Word of God to the dry bones. Well praise the Lord! Rev Billy Gram in his times God used in a mighty way, and world through his preaching many people get saved and make heaven has their final home. His preaching still speaks today. I am one of the members who do spent some time looking at his preachings when having access through Internet.
    Praise and all glory be to God.

    Pastor Nelson Namba
    Your Christian friend in Papua New Guinea.

  5. Aiden Reed says:

    I Love this thank you

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