Montreat College has partnered with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in order to offer a Preaching and Evangelism concentration as part of the school’s Bible and Religion program. Montreat professors will use a curriculum developed by the BGEA to teach some of the college-level courses.
“I believe strongly in this training, and I think it would be a benefit to any Christian college, or even any Christian,” said Rev. William “Will” Graham, vice president and associate evangelist at the BGEA and a trustee at Montreat College. “[This program] will help you to be more evangelistic in your focus in life, and that’s one thing that I think will be a great benefit to Montreat College students.”
Graham also sees a unique opportunity in the fact that the classes will be offered online, as well. “This will allow some students in Asheville, Charlotte, and Black Mountain to get the same type of class and to get a very good course on evangelism, on how to share their faith. I think it will be very beneficial to them and will open a lot of doors.”
“We are very excited to partner with the BGEA on this program,” said Montreat’s Bible and Religion Department Chair Dr. Mark Wells. “The BGEA has long been a world leader in evangelism training, and the curriculum they’ve developed is one of the best available tools for teaching on the subject; we feel privileged to be able to offer it.”
The partnership between Montreat College and the BGEA is part of a larger connection between the school and the Graham family that stretches back nearly a century, to Mr. Graham’s father-in-law Dr. L Nelson Bell and his involvement with the school and community. And Ruth Bell Graham, Billy Graham’s late wife, was a student at Montreat in the 1930s.
“Montreat College has been a special place for the Graham family,” said Will Graham, whose grandfather Billy Graham still lives in Montreat. “Montreat is the local college there in the community where my grandparents live, where my great-grandparents lived, and it was where my dad would go to school for a while. My grandparents always had a love for the college and they would have a lot of the students up at the house personally to entertain them and to disciple them. My grandparents always had a true love for the school so it’s great to be able to partner with them.”
Montreat and the BGEA have continued to remain close. Will Graham serves on the Montreat College Board of Trustees. Montreat President Paul J. Maurer accompanied Will Graham’s BGEA delegation on their recent visit to China. BGEA Chief of Staff Ken Barun delivered the commencement address at Montreat’s graduation ceremony this month. And Dr. David Bruce, BGEA board member and longtime executive assistant to Billy Graham, is set to join the Montreat College Board of Trustees in July.
“Our relationship with the BGEA is one we at Montreat College hold very dear,” said Montreat President Paul Maurer. “One would be hard pressed to find an organization that has shared the word of God with more people over the past century. We have the utmost respect for what they have done and what they continue to do, and we are always looking for ways in which we can support and partner with them.”