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Southern Seminary students tapped as Billy Graham crusade counselors

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–When Billy Graham comes to Indianapolis for a crusade June 3-6, he’ll be joined by more than 160 counselors from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
To prepare for their assignment, Southern students attended a one-day instructional seminar March 22 led by Gary Cobb, coordinator of counseling and follow-up for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
“What better way to prepare a student for evangelism than real application and practice,” said Don Cox, instructor of evangelism and church growth in Southern’s Billy Graham School of Evangelism, Missions and Church Growth. Cox is also the seminary’s coordinator for participation in the crusade.
Cox said the training prepared students for seed-planting and harvesting alongside the ministry of a man who has proven his passion and his faithfulness for bringing the message of the cross to a world in need in a way they will understand. The counselors also will be responsible for seeing that converts are “plugged into a local church,” he said.
Southern was chosen as a source for counselors because of the seminary’s ties to Graham and Graham’s relationship with Southern’s president, R. Albert Mohler Jr., Cox said. Another factor was Jim Bohrer, a Billy Graham crusade associate and a 1998 graduate of Southern’s Billy Graham School.
Bohrer said counselors usually come from the immediate area near a crusade. But his desire to pull in Southern students was rooted in the institution’s emphasis on evangelistic outreach.
Focusing on methodology, the seminar addressed the need for personal preparation and an intimate relationship with Christ. Bohrer said one intention of the initial preparation is to challenge the counselors in the basics of their own Christian life. “Unless you have a vital life with God,” he said, “you have nothing to share.”
The overall purpose of the training session was to introduce students to the methods used by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for counseling and follow-up. The course equipped the counselors to minister effectively to those who will respond to the evangelistic call given by perhaps the most influential mass evangelist of the 20th century.
“The highlight of the instruction was the overwhelming response by the student body interested in leading people to Christ,” said Cox, who is still receiving requests from students interested in participating even after the training has been completed.
Kim Robertson, an M. Div. student at Southern from Floyds Knobs, Ind., described the seminar as particularly beneficial because of its personal application and her strong anticipation for the event.
“I chose to participate for two reasons,” she said, “To see Dr. Graham’s ministry firsthand and to be a part of its impact in reaching others for Christ.”
The June 3-6 Billy Graham Indiana Crusade will be held in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. For more information, contact the crusade office at (317) 577-4242 or visit the Internet site, www.IndianaCrusade.org.

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  • Steve Smartt