‘Back to the Basics:’ God Loves You Tour Helps the Church Re-focus

Ahead of the God Loves You Tour, Centerpoint Church in Burton, Mich., held a night of worship and prayer to ask God to move on behalf of their community.
Ahead of the God Loves You Tour, Centerpoint Church in Burton, Mich., held a night of worship and prayer to ask God to move on behalf of their community.

There’s a shift happening.

Although planning evangelistic events isn’t unusual for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), the ministry is noticing a key difference while preparing for this fall’s God Loves You Tour with Franklin Graham.

His message isn’t new. It’s the same Gospel it always has been. But the people he’s speaking to—and the nation itself—has changed.

“The timing is different,” explained Steve Rhoads, BGEA’s vice president of church ministry.

Stopping in six cities from eastern Pennsylvania to central Minnesota, the God Loves You Tour will span over 1,000 miles from September 24 to October 2, sharing the hope of Jesus Christ in a post-pandemic era.

“This part of the country has come out of a very difficult season with the pandemic,” said Rhoads, who’s been traveling between cities ahead of the tour. “The problems in society have hit these states particularly hard. There’s this strong sense of need for healing and restoration, which is what the Gospel provides.”

Steve Rhoads speaks at a night of prayer and worship in Burton, Mich., during a gathering for those involved in the upcoming God Loves You Tour stop in Flint, Mich.

The tour aims to serve as a remedy for the broken and hurting, letting people know they are loved by God.

Delayed three years due to the pandemic, the God Loves You Tour will be a time of “offering people hope and allowing people to look up instead of down at our circumstances … and say we need something from heaven,” Rhoads said.

“This tour is the ministry keeping its promise that the Gospel would be preached, that we would invite people to trust Christ.”

The uplifting, one-day outreach events will feature worship by Newsboys, Marcos Witt* and Dennis Agajanian; a time of prayer; and a hope-filled message from Franklin Graham.

Tour Schedule

  • Sept. 24 – Allentown, PA
  • Sept. 25 – York, PA
  • Sept. 27 – Youngstown, OH
  • Sept. 29 – Flint, MI
  • Oct. 1 – Waukesha, WI
  • Oct. 2 – Rochester, MN

“Our desire is to apply the Gospel in the middle of a time where it’s been bad news after bad news after bad news,” Rhoads said. “The pandemic was oppressive on people’s lives and it has colored and influenced thinking and perspective on the world.”

Rhoads has noticed two specific changes in communities trying to find answers: people want something authentic and they’re reexamining their priorities.

And in that, God is being reconsidered.

“The church feels that there’s a desire to go back to the basics. What’s Christianity all about?” continued Rhoads, who helps lead the ministry in partnering with hundreds of churches in each tour region.

“From state to state to state, what I keep hearing from pastors is we have to get back to the core of what it is that we believe. It’s Jesus only, the cross and inviting people to get saved. That’s a refreshing and important shift.”

Ways to Pray for the God Loves You Tour

  1. A great harvest of souls, that thousands would come to faith in Jesus Christ.
  2. A true revival in churches in each tour city, and that pastors will be full of faith and the Holy Spirit.
  3. A renewed burden on the heart of each Christian to reach those who don’t know Jesus—and to see all people as the object of God’s great love.
  4. An increase in hunger for the Word of God and a desire to pray.

*Performing in select cities.