Statement by World Vision President Richard Stearns Regarding the Death of Billy Graham

Billy Graham poses for a photo with Rich and Reneé Stearns during their meeting in 2010. (Photo courtesy of World Vision International)

February 21, 2018 (Seattle) –– God’s greatest messenger of our time is silent today.

Billy Graham’s death brings a significant sense of loss to people throughout the world. Believers and non-believers everywhere knew and admired him as a man of personal, professional and spiritual integrity.

That integrity enabled him to cross national, racial and class boundaries. No matter the audience – be they world leaders or everyday people – Dr. Graham’s message was the same: the power of Jesus Christ transforms lives. He had the courage of his convictions to bring that message to some of the most influential people of our time. A dozen U.S. presidents looked to Dr. Graham for advice and counsel.

My wife Reneé and I had the pleasure of a short meeting with Dr. Graham in 2010. It was one of the most meaningful and profound times of my life.

Billy Graham had the extraordinary ability to take complex problems facing humanity – war, poverty, disease, prejudice – and explain them simply in spiritual terms. And he did it so effortlessly that one would think he had been discussing the issue with God just moments before.

He probably had.

Dr. Graham played an important role in the early years of World Vision. Alongside World Vision’s founder Bob Pierce, he visited children’s homes and preached to U.S. troops in Korea, and later served as chair of the World Vision board.

In 1950, Dr. Graham announced he was canceling an order for a new Chevrolet and instead giving the money to World Vision to help orphaned Korean children. His gift and his endorsement helped the fledgling organization to survive the early years, and grow into an agency that today has more than 40,000 staff helping serve victims of poverty and injustice in nearly 100 countries.

Today, Billy Graham has been reunited with his wife Ruth, who probably introduced him to Jesus Christ face-to-face. And I’m certain the Lord greeted him with the words, “Welcome home.”

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.