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Thousands make decisions for Christ during Franklin Graham's Route 66 'God Loves You' tour

Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham speaks during the the "God Loves You" tour event in Joliet, Illinois, on Sept. 19, 2021. |

Thousands made decisions for Christ throughout Franklin Graham's 14-day "God Loves You" tour, helmed by top Christian artists, including the Newsboys and Marcos Witt. 

Graham, the son of late famed evangelist Billy Graham and who has led the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) since 2001, traveled to eight cities preaching the Gospel at free events. 

More than 56,000 people attended the free outdoor events along Route 66 that began in the Chicago area on Sept. 19 and finished outside Los Angeles in San Bernardino, California, on Saturday. Over 5,000 people indicated they made decisions for Jesus Christ at the events, a BGEA spokesperson told The Christian Post.

Following his final stop in San Bernardino, Graham reflected on his largest in-person events since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

"Two weeks ago we began the God Loves You Tour along historic Route 66 to share a message of hope in 8 cities across the heart of America," Graham, who also heads the Samaritan's Purse humanitarian ministry, wrote.

"And tonight at the last stop in San Bernardino, I told the crowd that I'm not offering religion to anybody because religion can't save your soul from Hell—only Jesus Christ can. I thank God for all those who responded to the invitation to come to Jesus Christ in repentance and put their faith and trust in Him. Join me in praying for them."

The 69-year-old evangelist, who has shared the Gospel at nearly 200 evangelistic events worldwide since 1989, quoted Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

Other stops on the tour included St. Louis on Sept. 21, Springfield, Missouri, on Sept. 23, Oklahoma City on Sept. 25, Amarillo, Texas, on Sept. 26, Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Sept. 28, and Flagstaff, Arizona, on Sept. 30. 

BGEA, evangelicals, worship,
Attendees raise their hands in worship during Franklin Graham's Route 66 "God Loves You" tour in Springfield, Missoui, on Sept. 23, 2021. |

Graham thanked those who participated in the tour, including the Newsboys, Dennis Agajanian and Witt, a five-time Latin Grammy-winner.

He also thanked The Tommy Coomes Band and Greg Laurie, lead pastor of Harvest Church, for their involvement in Saturday's event. 

People from over 1,400 churches in eight cities partnered with the "God Loves You" tour to bring hope and encouragement to attendees. The churches involved will reportedly follow up with those who responded to the Gospel invitation.

"Times change, culture changes, but people's need for a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, doesn't change," said Graham. "With all the bad news around us day in and day out, people need hope. I want people along Route 66—and the rest of this nation—to know that God loves them."

In a recent interview with CP, Newsboys lead singer Michael Tait reflected on the band's heart for evangelism and sharing the Gospel with the next generation. Gen Z has been described by researchers as both the "loneliest" and "least biblically minded" generation. 

"We have a song on the record called 'Won't Be Afraid.' We didn't call it 'Don't Be Afraid.' That gives them a choice," Tait said, pointing out that in Joshua 1:9, God commands His people to "not be afraid."

"Be courageous. Be unfrightened," Tait said. "The fact is, He is with us wherever we go. Now it's easier said than done. True enough. But we have to remember that God is in control because the second we think that we're in control, the fear starts coming in. It lies to you. It deceives you. You lose sleep. Kids, stay the course. Take your Bibles to school. Stay strong. God knows your heart. God's walked the earth. He's been where we are. We've been where you are. Stay the course."

The singer added that the band wants to use their talents for God's glory and remind listeners that God can redeem even the most broken individual. 

"We are not perfect. We are not without flaws. We are not a mess some days," Tait said. "But thank God that that in that mess, there's a message. And the message is, God loves me. God forgives me. Every day I get to choose to start over again, with grace and mercy for every day."

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: leah.klett@christianpost.com

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