1959 – A time of national revival
In 1959, Billy Graham came to Australia and New Zealand to spend 4 months touring and preaching the gospel. He did 114 meetings in 106 days . This tour became known as the greatest moment of revival history in our nation. To this day, I often meet men and women who were saved in that campaign and are still serving the Lord.
Billy Graham was invited out by Anglican Archbishop Howard Mowell, who rallied churches and believers for 6 years in the lead up to the gospel campaign. During the campaign over 146k across Australia made a commitment for Jesus.
Preparing the way
In lead up to this rally, over 40 000 individuals signed up to pray for the event. In Sydney, 600 of the 650 churches worked together to door knock around 400 000 homes with a spiritual survey. Over 8000 counselors (45k nationally) were trained to disciple the new believers. In Sydney, 150k people turned out on the last night and over 56k decisions for Jesus were made. Some churches reported 75% and 94% retention of the new believers.
These numbers are great for Sydney, however across Australia and New Zealand over 3 million (out of a total population of 10 million) turned out to hear the gospel, face to face, and even many more heard it across radio and TV. Almost 2% of the nation publicly admitted to deciding to follow Jesus.
God moved and on top of the multitude of decisions, judges, mayors and politicians are reported to have said that Sydney was a different place. On top of these reports, there was actual city-transformation that had measurable results.
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me JOHN 17:20-23
The fruit of the revival
Directly after the campaign, the crime increase rate dropped to half. This remained that way for 3 years. Alcohol sales dropped by 10% the following year. Pubs closed down, ex-nuptial births decreased and businesses reported an unusual amount of bad debts being paid off. That gospel campaign changed the social and cultural landscape of our nation, but in particular, Sydney.
The 1959 “Southern Cross Crusade” truly was a momentous occasion for Jesus, in our nation. There has not been a move like it in the last 70 years, but there were keys we could learn from the 1959 revival.
Keys to revival
When looking back at the event, three things have been attributed to the transformation Missional unity in churches. The churches not only organized the event together, but they worked together to door knock around 400k homes with a spiritual survey An immense amount of prayer. In lead up to the event, 40000 individuals committed to pray.The Gospel. At the centre of the activity was a gospel event. It wasn’t about the event, it was about Jesus and His gospel, but God used the event to mobilize the Body with prayer and outreach.
1 – Renshaw, W. F., 2014. Torrey-Alexander: Revival comes to Melbourne. In: Marvellous Melbourne and Spiritual Power. Acorn Press, pp. 42-49.
2 – Faase, K., n.d. Lessons from the 1959 Billy Graham crusade. [Online] Available at: https://www.crossover.org.au/revitalised-in-witness-the-lessons-from-the-billy-graham-crusades-of-1959-pt-3/ [Accessed 2019]
NEXT, WE LOOK AT
1 – IS GOD STILL USING GOSPEL CAMPAIGNS TODAY?
2 – WHY DO ONLY SOME CAMPAIGNS SEE CITY TRANSFORMATION?
3 – HOW CAN WE SEE THE TRANSFORMATION CONTINUE AND GROW?