In June 1996 for five consecutive nights over 70,000 people/night packed into the Metrodome in Minneapolis to hear the Reverend Billy Graham. Each night an additional 25,000 people watched on jumbotrons in the Metrodome parking lot! As a pastor, I was selected to be one of several supervisors of the counseling team and was trained weeks in advance of the crusade. My job at the Billy Graham Crusade was to match all who came forward at Dr. Graham’s invitation with a counselor. I was given materials, the two most important being a blue paddle and a pink paddle. The blue paddle was to alert the counselors that a male counselor was needed and the pink paddle a female counselor. When the invitation was given supervisors and counselors stood on the ground floor of the Metrodome in front of the platform. The surge of the crowd was breathtaking! Thousands responded to the gospel and people began pouring out of the stands and ground floor and running toward the front. When the last one arrived, Dr. Graham prayed a prayer of salvation with them and invited them to receive Jesus Christ. It was a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime moment!
After the prayer it was counseling time. Each counselor was given a new believer packet which included a Bible study booklet, a “Steps to Peace with God” tract, a decision card, and a pen. As a supervisor I was given extra supplies in case counselors ran out of materials to give to those with whom they prayed. During the course of the evening I distributed all of my extra supplies. Using my blue and pink paddles, I began matching the counselors with the appropriate gender.
After two hours of ministry, I was sure we were done. I didn’t see any latecomers needing someone to lead them in the prayer of salvation besides I was completely out of materials. So, I was done . . . or was I? From my left side I saw a very large black man standing there silently. I looked at him and he nodded indicating he needed a counselor. I held up my blue paddle but after several minutes no male counselors were available. With a bass voice that was so deep it sounded like it was coming from a well, the black man said, “It looks like it’s just you and me.” He stepped forward to meet me and we introduced ourselves. This man, I’ll call him Kendrick, was a bodyguard for national performers who came through the Twin Cities. Judging from his size, I assumed he was pretty good at his job since he intimidated me! I had one copy of “Steps to Peace with God” stuffed in my pocket and I asked Kendrick if he would allow me to walk him through its pages. We did and at the conclusion I hesitatingly asked Kendrick if he’d be willing to pray with me to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior. He answered, “Absolutely!” His answer was decisive and firm. We prayed together and I directed him to contact a black pastor whom I knew for follow up.
I’ve seen Kendrick at a number of events around the Twin Cities in which high-powered politicians or performers were present. He always acknowledges me and tells the other bodyguards that I’m the man who led him to Christ. I thank God for putting me in the right place at the right time. God makes no mistakes.
Our God is an Awesome God,