On January 12, Franklin Graham, the eldest son of the late Billy Graham, stopped in Plant City on his Decision America Sunshine State Tour. The free evangelistic event drew more than 9,600 people—approaching the seating capacity of the Strawberry Festival Soundstage.
While Plant City may be synonymous with strawberries, the city also earned a new distinction—the largest number of volunteers to serve at a Decision America Tour event. Nearly 1,000 trained volunteers from 40 local churches prepared and participated in the prayer rally.
“Many people in Plant City don’t know who God is. They think God is irrelevant, boring or they think He doesn’t care about them,” said Scott McIntosh, senior pastor of City Pointe Church. “When we truly experience God and His powerful love for us, it changes us. Plant City needs to hear this message that gives our lives meaning and purpose.”
In a face-to-face interview before the event, Franklin Graham was asked for advice on how to reach others for Christ.
He said, “For every person who claims the name of Jesus Christ, they have a responsibility to share our faith with others and to give them the hope that we have. And so, you don’t have to have the gift of evangelism to share your testimony; the Holy Spirit will take that and do the rest.”
The event kicked off with music from the award-winning guitarist Dennis Agajanian, who began performing at Billy Graham’s events more than 40 years ago. Then taking the stage was the GRAMMY®-nominated artist Jeremy Camp, who shared his music and his motivation for performing.
Camp said, “I’m not out here trying to be a rock star or trying just to sing music. I’m out here because Jesus Christ changed my life.”
Following Camp’s performance, Franklin Graham was greeted with thunderous applause. He remarked on the city’s beautiful weather before delving into the issues dividing the country. Then he encouraged everyone to pray for all elected leaders—national, state and local, regardless of party affiliation. The entire venue buzzed as thousands of prayers were lifted toward heaven.
His message centered on the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ. After presenting the gospel, many rose from their seats and professed Jesus as their Lord and Savior. As people stood, the on-site volunteers furnished the new believers with resources to help them cultivate a relationship with Jesus and get plugged into a local church.
Franklin Graham is the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse. For more information, visit https://billygraham.org.