I recently accepted the position of executive director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C. This transition in responsibility is extremely personal to me, specifically because of the way that my grandparents, Billy and Ruth Graham, are completely ingrained in the fabric of this wonderful place.
Decades ago, God gave my grandparents a shared vision for The Cove. For my grandfather, the vision was one of inspiration, instruction and intercession. While his massive crusade outreaches were targeted to non-Christians and were his opportunity to reach them with the Good News of Jesus, he wanted to build The Cove to provide a place for Christian believers to spend time reading the Bible, developing a deeper understanding of their faith, and committing concentrated time to prayer. He knew that when people take time to allow God’s Word to transform their lives, they will – in turn – impact their community for Christ.
For my grandmother, the focus was more on the rest and renewal that this unique piece of mountain property could offer. She wanted to provide a respite, allowing Christians to get away from the world and recharge their spiritual batteries through resting in the Word of God. She was very involved in the development of the buildings and made every effort to make it a beautiful, inspiring sanctuary. You can still see furniture throughout the property that she personally hand-picked.
It’s unique that both of my grandparents’ visions are represented in the name on the sign as you drive into the 1,200 acre property: The Billy Graham Training Center (my grandfather’s vision) at The Cove (my grandmother’s vision).
All of this to say, my family heritage runs deep in this place and it is a humbling honor for me to be called by God to continue the great work that my grandparents began so long ago.
Two of the main things that I see in The Cove’s future involve making it a recognized place of prayer, and spreading the amazing teaching that takes place there to more people.
My grandfather used to talk about a place in South Korea that was known as Prayer Mountain. People would go there to get away and spend time specifically in prayer. He had a burden to make The Cove into a similar destination; a holy place where people can cry out to the Lord. We began efforts in that direction a couple years ago by placing markers on the property, encouraging people to stop and pray. Over the next year that will become an even greater focus as we facilitate additional opportunities for people to stop and cast their cares upon Him.
Those who know the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association well know that it is our mission to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everybody we can through every effective means available to us. That’s why my grandfather was one of the first to use radio, motion pictures, television, satellite and the Internet in communicating the Gospel. It’s with that in mind that I also want to make sure that we are using modern technology to offer the wealth of training that has taken place at The Cove over the past 24 years to those who have never even stepped foot on this property. There is plenty still to be worked out on that, but it’s something that I hope to accomplish in the months and years ahead.
As I close this note, I would ask you for your prayers. Please pray for The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, that we would continue to follow my grandparents’ vision and continue to glorify and direct people to our Savior. Please pray also for me. I’m on the road a lot, and my new role at The Cove will also require devoted attention. Pray that I will be able to balance my roles and get everything accomplished that God has placed before me.
Will Graham will hold a special seminar called “When the Shadows Speak” June 29 – July 1. Space is still available – reserve yours today!