By JOHN FORTMEYER, CNNW publisher
VANCOUVER, Wash. — If evangelist Will Graham was looking for an especially appropriate moment to talk about ministering in uncertain, challenging times, he found it here the morning of Nov. 5. Not only was he speaking at an annual Clark County Prayer Breakfast that had been drastically altered because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he also spoke only a few hours after a national election which at that moment left the highly charged presidential race up in the air.
“There’s been so much fear this year, but we’re called to live by faith, not by fear,” said Graham to about 150 people at Church of Truth. He added that his wife, Kendra, notes that “Jesus is the name that dispels all fear.”
For many years the annual event has attracted as many as 1,000 people to the city’s conference center at the Vancouver Hilton, but COVID restrictions would not allow it there this year. Church of Truth, which has smaller seating capacity, stepped forward to offer its venue, and the traditional full breakfast was replaced by pre-packaged pastries and admission was made free.
Although the grandson of Billy Graham and son of Franklin Graham, Will, who is now 45, did not immediately follow their path to the evangelistic field as a young adult. But he also was initially reluctant to minister instead as a pastor. He recalled that he used to pray, “God, whatever you do, don’t make me a pastor.”
But he wound up loving being a pastor, which then made it difficult when he felt God calling him to join the Graham evangelistic team. However, he today finds great fulfillment sharing the Gospel in events large and small worldwide. He is a vice president of the Graham association and also executive director of The Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in Asheville, N.C.
As he opened his talk in Vancouver, Graham said he wanted to focus on those leading “ministry to others, especially when we don’t necessarily feel like it.” He said ongoing ministry involves both highs and lows, and that there is much worth in even the low points.
“The mountaintops are the Lord’s, and the valleys are the Lord’s,” he said. “But my grandaddy always said the ‘fruit” is in the valleys.”
Citing the story of the feeding of the 5,000 as outlined in Luke chapter 9, Graham noted Jesus often drew crowds during the times that He sought to go to the “deserted places.”
God the Son recognized that He needed time alone with God the Father, said Graham. And it is in those times when one might feel deserted that “God really does His work,” he said.
In the Luke 9 account, Jesus’ disciples tried to tell Him how to do ministry, said Graham, when they wondered how the thousands could be fed and suggested He just send the crowds away. Their mistake was focusing on their own abilities and resources rather than God’s, Graham said.
“The disciples looked at their own hands. Jesus took it and put it in God’s hands … “The result? Leftovers for everybody.”
That, said Graham, is “why we keep our eyes on Heaven … When you’re serving others, take what you have and give it to the Lord.”
Graham added that the most important thing anyone in ministry can do is pray in faith and with a total reliance on God to multiply the outreach done in His name.
“Let Him bless it 10 times, 12 times,” he said. “You’ll never be disappointed living by faith.”