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Three Generations of Preachers: Will Graham follows his Father, Franklin, and Grandfather, Billy, into the Ministry of Evangelism

Dan Wooding : May 10, 2011  ASSIST News Service

He reveals the surprising final words of his grandmother, Ruth Graham, shortly before her passing.

Three generations of Graham(Nashville, TN)—The tall, willowy figure of William Franklin Graham IV (Will) is the third generation of Grahams to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the banner of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).

Will is the grandson of Billy Graham and the elder son of Franklin Graham.

The oldest of the four children of Franklin Graham and wife Jane Graham, Will grew up in a farm house in the mountains of Boone, North Carolina, along with his two brothers and one sister.

He converted to Christianity at the age of seven one Sunday after a church service. Since second grade, Will Graham has felt the call to ministry. He later surrendered to God's call on his life at 15, during a youth camp at the Billy Graham Training Center near Asheville, N.C.

After attending Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Va., he enrolled in Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Wake Forest, N.C., during which time he was called to pastor a church near Raleigh.

In 2004, Will started holding one-day youth events in Canada. In April 2006, Will's first three-day Celebration was held in Leduc, Alberta, and later that year his first ever three-day Celebration on American soil took place in Gastonia, N.C. Since beginning his North American evangelistic ministry he has spoken to more than 50,000 during his Will Graham Celebrations. Over 1,600 have made personal commitments to Christ during these multi-day outreaches.

I caught up with Will Graham, who had just returned from an outreach in India, at the recent NRB 2011 convention in Nashville, where he agreed to talk about his life, and what is has been like growing up as a Graham.

I began by asking him when he first realized how famous his grandfather was and he replied, "It wasn't until I was about five years old I went to Kindergarten and one of my teachers, while talking to someone else, pointed to me and said, 'This is Billy Graham's grandson.' I wondered how on earth they knew who my granddaddy was.

"Then, when I went to public school no one there really cared who he was. All they wanted to know was if you had the latest Nintendo Sega game.

"I probably didn't realize the influence my granddaddy [had on me] until later. I knew that he was famous and did lots of crusades and that he had met many presidents and kings and queens of countries, but it probably wasn't until I went to Liberty University, a Christian school here in the United States, that I saw the impact that my granddaddy had on the Christian world and that it was a lot bigger than I imagined.

"So my perception of my granddaddy changed and I love him dearly; he's a wonderful man."

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