Hall of Faith Class of 2014
William Franklin Graham, III, born July 14, 1952, is the fourth of five children born to evangelist Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth Bell Graham. Raised in a log home in the Appalachian Mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina. Franklin now lives in the mountains of Boone, North Carolina.
He was born into a heritage rich in Christian ministry. By the time of Franklin’s birth, his father, Dr. Billy Graham was already known around the world as a spiritual leader. Franklin’s maternal grandfather, Lemuel Nelson Bell, was a medical missionary to China for more than 20 years; a respected moderator of his denomination, the Presbyterian Church in the United States, and a co-founder and executive editor of Christianity Today. At age 22, after a period of rebellion and traveling the world, Franklin committed his life to Jesus Christ while alone in a hotel room in Jerusalem.
Franklin conducted his first evangelistic event in 1989 and now conducts Franklin Graham Festivals around the world for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). He has preached to more than 7 million people in cities from Johannesburg, South Africa to Tupelo, Mississippi.
When Franklin was in his early twenties, Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of Samaritan’s Purse, invited Franklin to join him on a six-week mission to Asia. It was during that time that Franklin felt a calling to work with hurting people in areas of the world affected by war, famine, disease, poverty and natural disaster.
Franklin was elected to the Board of Samaritan’s Purse in 1978, and one year later, following the death of Dr. Pierce, he was elected president of the organization. Today, he serves as president and CEO of the international relief and evangelism organization headquartered in Boone, North Carolina. It has affiliate offices in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, plus partners and field offices around the world. Franklin also serves as president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He has met privately with five U.S. Presidents as well as world leaders from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Using traditional and social media and speaking opportunities, Franklin regularly speaks to current moral and social issues, challenging Christians to make a difference in the world. He also offers Biblical context and application to current national and world events. Through the organizations he leads he has been instrumental in helping people impacted by crises including the nine-eleven terrorist attacks, civil war and natural disasters.