Since 1967, more than 167,000 pastors have attended the Billy Graham School of Evangelism, which has visited more than 110 cities. The most recent conference, held from Oct. 26-28, gathered pastors at the Hyatt Regency OHare, 15 miles northwest of downtown Chicago.
Featured speakers at the Chicago School of Evangelism included Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association; Nancy Leight DeMoss, host of the national radio program Revive Our Hearts; and Joe Sowell, the seventh president of the Moody Bible Institute.
During the three-day gathering, pastors were motivated to serve their congregation by looking to God first and foremost. They believe that as stated in the book of James the fervent prayer of a righteous man is most effective and that only a pastor who is a seeker himself can lead others.
About evangelism, one pastor who attended the school said that his vision has been like a developing Polaroid picture.
The vision became clear, he said. I got it!
The pastor left with a focus and direction to take back to the congregation and for them to take to the world.
For almost 40 years, the Billy Graham School of Evangelism has been training pastors to seek self improvement by recognizing that everyone falls short of Jesus.
The conference is not focused merely on how to preach better, but on how live as an example. It helps pastors to be more effective, teaching techniques of living in the church that enrich their personal lives and then to let that overflow into the whole congregation. They are brought closer to the plan that God has for them and his vision for their church.
According to Billy Graham some things are caught rather than taught.
Grahams approach to ministry and evangelism is to pray first, second and third. The one who is not in touch with God can not expect to work for God. When prayer is pursued with this type of passion then evangelism comes naturally to the time that is not spent in prayer.
At the school, pastors learn to lead people to Christ regardless of where they are on their path. If a student is hostile to Jesus, there is a place for evangelism there, and if they are faithful to Christ there is still a need for evangelism. The School hopes to train Pastors to look to God to find ways that can strengthen each student regardless of how strong their faith is.
The next stop for Billy Grahams School of Evangelism will be Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, Nov. 8-10. Tickets cost $55 for a single, and $75 for a couple.