The Record (Cambridge, ON)
January 30, 2012
CAMBRIDGE - He looks like his grandfather and speaks with the
same Southern U.S. drawl.
But Will Graham, the grandson of well-known American evangelist
Billy Graham, says he's his own person, following the way of
"I'm not trying to imitate my grandfather. I want to imitate
Christ just like my granddaddy did,'' said Graham, who was in
Cambridge this week to drum up support for a youth event to held in
April at the Auditorium in Kitchener.
Graham, who turns 37 on Monday, said he's often told that he
resembles his preacher grandfather.
"I look like him, big nose, big ears and I talk a lot,'' he
Graham, a father of three, lives in North Carolina, 10 minutes
away from his grandfather, who's now 93.
Graham spoke to a group of pastors and church folk at the
Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre at a breakfast meeting
earlier this week.
He was in Waterloo Region to speak to volunteers and organizers
of Epicentre, a large-scale event for youth sponsored by the Billy
Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada.
The event will be held at the Aud on April 21. More than 6,000
Christian youth from 60 partner churches are expected to attend.
Graham will return to the region to address the crowd.
Pastor Tim Loveday, youth pastor of Bethany Evangelical
Missionary Church in Kitchener, said Epicentre is an opportunity
for local churches to work together and it gives youth training in
evangelism and mentorship, and how to reach others with what they
"I don't force faith in God and Jesus on these kids. I present
them with the truth and experience to allow them to grow in their
faith,'' Loveday said.
The region, including Guelph, is the seventh location in Canada
to host Epicentre since 2004.
Locally, youth in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph have
been involved in community service projects in preparation for
In June, 800 young people filled a freight truck with 22,000
pounds of food for the local food bank.
In April, students will walk seven kilometres with a jug of
water, taking part in the Turn on the Tap Safe Water Walk to show
them how far many people in developing countries must walk for
water each day.
Students have a goal of $200,000 that they hope to raise for the
In June, 24 youth, including seven from Bethany, are going to
Trinidad to participate in a community service project, visiting
orphanages and prisons.
Trying to follow Christ, just like his granddaddy
Heather Wear, 16, said she's looking forward to sharing her
faith with others in Trinidad. The Grade 11 student at
Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School expects to be pulled from
her comfort zone and do what God wants her to do.
Alyson Whyte, 17, said she expects to be challenged on this trip
- her first overseas community service project.
"I will be a servant and see what God has in store for me,''
said the Grade 12 student at Forest Heights Collegiate
Epicentre is exciting because churches that have existed
independently come together, said Graham.
"They put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ,'' he said.
Graham said he gave his life to Christ when he was just a child
of about six or seven.
"I felt God tugging at my heart,'' he said. Then at 15, he told
God he would do whatever He called him to do.
"I didn't want to be a preacher. I wanted to be a football
player,'' he said. "God chips away at the edges of your life.''
Graham went to Liberty University in Virginia for an
undergraduate degree and has a master's degree in theology from
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina. He
later became an ordained pastor at a church for seven years.
Graham said God called him in 2006 to help his father, Franklin,
who is the CEO and president of the Billy Graham Evangelical
Graham said he was mowing the lawn when a scripture from the New
Testament came to him. He stopped the lawn mower and went to the
read the Bible passage.
He had been praying to God for help in what he should do. His
father had wanted him to join him but Graham was enjoying being a
pastor at a church in Raleigh, N.C.
Even to this day, more than five years later, he won't say what
the passage was that proved so significant. He will say, though,
that it gave him direction to focus on a new life with the
Graham is now the assistant director of the Billy Graham
training centre in the mountains of North Carolina and associate
evangelist with the Billy Graham Evangelical Association.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada