The Rev. Billy Graham and his ministry will be honored with the Hope Medallion for Graham's worldwide leadership in creating life-changing films through "unswerving commitment to the gospel message" by The JESUS Film Project, a ministry of Cru.
Presenters say the award, which is given to individuals who have demonstrated their dedication and unfailing commitment to sharing eternal spiritual hope around the world, will be given to Graham's daughter, Gigi, accepting on her father's behalf, on Saturday in Asheville, N.C.
"Mr. Graham long ago recognized the impact that various forms of media had on people and culture, both as a method for communication and as a means to influence opinions and perceptions, or more viscerally, to impact hearts and minds," said Dr. Erick Schenkel, executive director of The JESUS Film Project. "Much as he used a microphone to amplify his voice to reach those present in a stadium, he leveraged all the various forms of media that could be utilized in the presentation of the gospel, from the printed page, to radio broadcasts, then to television and motion pictures, extending all of that around the world via satellite and then Internet."
Graham embraced movies as a method for sharing the Gospel at a time when many Christians were wary of motion pictures. He released the film "Mr. Texas" in 1951 and officially established World Wide Pictures the next year as the motion picture division of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Since then, Graham has produced and distributed more than 130 films, including many full-length movies, through WWP.
Graham's evangelistic films have been translated into more than three dozen languages and viewed by more than 250 million people around the world. Studies show that more than 2 million people have made a spiritual response to one of these films shown in theaters, churches, auditoriums, schools, or in homes on TV or video. In October 1989, Graham became the recipient of the 1,900th Hollywood Walk of Fame star.
"Mr. Graham's work in film inspired Dr. Bill Bright to also use this medium to impact the world and paved the way for the creation of 'JESUS,'" Schenkel said. "We are grateful for Mr. Graham's faithful work for the Lord and his willingness to answer the call to take the gospel to the ends of the earth."
The Hope Medallion will be presented at The Carmike Theater in Asheville, N.C., prior to a special showing of the re-mastered, high-definition 35th anniversary edition of "JESUS." The film, re-titled "The JESUS Film," is now showing in select theaters around the U.S. through Tugg, Inc., and will be in retail and online stores nationwide on Blu-ray, DVD and digital format beginning April 1.
"The JESUS Film" is the timeless story of the most beloved – and yet the most controversial – figure ever to walk the earth, ministry officials say. Over the last 35 years, the film has been viewed billions of times, translated into more than 1,200 languages and recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records as the "Most Translated Film" in history.
Project leaders say the film is a faithful depiction of Christ's birth, ministry, death and resurrection as told in the biblical account from the Gospel of Luke, virtually every word Jesus speaks in "The JESUS Film" is quoted from Scripture. The script was reviewed for biblical accuracy by 450 leaders and scholars. Further historical accuracy was ensured using clothing, pottery and other props made with first-century methods to portray a 2,000-year-old Palestinian culture. After viewing the original "JESUS" film, more than 200 million individuals have indicated decisions to follow Jesus.
"The JESUS Film" was created by The JESUS Film Project, a ministry of Cru, following founder Bill Bright's vision to take the message of Jesus to the world through video.
For more information, visit http://www.JESUSFilmHD.com.