|JESUS Film Project to honor Billy Graham|
|Written by Jeremy Burns|
|Wednesday, 12 March 2014 01:48 PM EDT|
The JESUS Film Project plans to present the Hope Medallion to Billy Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) the evangelist’s worldwide leadership in creating life-changing, gospel-focused films. The JESUS Film Project is a ministry of Cru—formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ—and the organization behind the most watched film in history, JESUS, which has been renamed The JESUS Film for its 35th anniversary re-release this year.
Given to individuals who have demonstrated their dedication and commitment to sharing eternal spiritual hope around the world, the Hope Medallion will be presented to Graham's daughter, Gigi, accepting on her father's behalf, at a March 15 ceremony in Asheville, N.C.
“Mr. Graham long ago recognized the impact that various forms of media had on people and culture, both as a method for communication and as a means to influence opinions and perceptions, or, more viscerally, to impact hearts and minds,” said Erick Schenkel, executive director of The JESUS Film Project. “Much as he used a microphone to amplify his voice to reach those present in a stadium, he leveraged all the various forms of media that could be utilized in the presentation of the gospel, from the printed page to radio broadcasts, then to television and motion pictures, extending all of that around the world via satellite and then Internet.”
At a time when many Christians were wary of motion pictures, Graham embraced movies as a method for sharing the gospel, releasing the film Mr. Texas in 1951 and officially establishing World Wide Pictures (WWP) in 1952 as the motion picture division of BGEA. Since then, Graham has produced and distributed more than 130 films, including many full-length movies, through WWP.
Graham's evangelistic films have been translated into more than three-dozen languages and viewed by more than 250 million people around the world. Studies show that more than 2 million people have made a spiritual response to one of these films shown in theaters, churches, auditoriums, schools or homes. In October 1989, Graham became the recipient of the 1,900th Hollywood Walk of Fame star.
“Mr. Graham's work in film inspired Dr. Bill Bright to also use this medium to impact the world and paved the way for the creation of JESUS,” Schenkel said. “We are grateful for Mr. Graham's faithful work for the Lord and his willingness to answer the call to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.”