Franklin Graham has spoken of a major increase in the number of people who've accepted Christ in 2020.
The president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Samaritan's Purse told The Christian Post that 1.7 million people have indicated they made decisions for Christ so far this year through BGEA’s online ministries. The figure is 30 per cent higher compared to this time last year.
"I think there's nothing normal about 2020," Graham said. "We've never gone through a pandemic in my lifetime. The world has never been locked down before. It's God who touches people's hearts and opens up people's eyes. The pandemic hasn't stopped it. If anything, it's advanced it."
While the figures are no doubt impressive, Graham said that he tries "to shy away from the questions on numbers" as being directly linked to him and instead seeks to keep the focus on what God is doing.
"God’s the one who gives the increase," he said. "It’s not Franklin Graham and it’s not the institution.”
Graham added that people who hadn't listened before to the Gospel were now doing so and that "for evangelism, it may be one of the better years we've had".
It's the first year that BGEA has bought national television time in the US with a targeted message. It has seen Graham connected with viewers praying with them during a one-minute commercial.
BGEA is also managing a Gospel hotline that's available around the clock.
The US has seen a drop in church attendance since the coronavirus pandemic began due to worship restrictions. However, numerous churches have reported a strong online presence.
"Bible-teaching churches have generally done very well and are full. The pews may not be full, but more people are watching online than those who usually attend the church," Graham said.
BGEA and Samaritan's Purse offers discipleship training designed to equip believers to follow Christ and live out the Gospel.