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How Billy Graham Became a Preacher

'America's Pastor's' preaching was formed by letters, African-American leaders, and listening.

How Billy Graham Became a Preacher
Image: Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Billy Graham died Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at the age of 99.

Last year, Preaching Today’s editor Matt Woodley editor sat down with Leighton Ford, Presbyterian minister and brother-in-law of Billy Graham to talk about Graham as a preacher.

This is part one of a three part series.

Matt Woodley: Why don't you start with some of your personal memories of Billy Graham. I know you have a few about Billy Graham as a preacher and his role in your life.

My first impressions of Billy as a preacher would go back to when I was about 16 and Billy was with Youth for Christ and he was speaking at the Winona Lake summer Youth for Christ conferences. There were always a lot of very gifted, interesting preachers, but Billy was the one who always stood out. Just the dynamism of it. Of course it was his appearance, those gabardine suits, those flowery ties, that stabbing finger, that southern drawl with a bit of thunder in it. I can still hear "Prepare to meet thy God." Back in those ...

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