Europe

Connect the dots: Billy Graham's birthday, the Dallas Cowboys and Wembley Stadium

new poll released last month by Harris Interactive confirmed that the Dallas Cowboys remain America’s favorite football team for the sixth straight year.

Sunday, America’s Team will play the Jacksonville Jaguars in London at the historic Wembley Stadium, one of three NFL International Series games held at the historic facility this season. 

The event will take place 60 years after “America’s Pastor,” evangelist Billy Graham – who celebrates his 96th birthday on Friday, November 7 – set an all-time attendance record at the 90,000-seat venue.

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Mr. Graham’s first appearance at Wembley in 1954 was to preach the closing meeting of his three-month Harringay Crusade, attended by more than 2 million people.  An overflow crowd of 122,000 jammed into Wembley for the final service, with an additional 65,000 filling nearby White City Stadium – a record that will never be broken, due to updated laws limiting the gate to comply with increased fire and safety regulations.

The evangelist returned to Wembley the following year for a weeklong mission that drew 450,000 and again for the final meetings of follow-up crusades in 1966 and 1989, each resulting in overflow crowds.  

During a ministry spanning more than six decades, a total of more than 11 million people have attended his meetings in the United Kingdom, where Graham has conducted more crusades than any other country outside the United States. 

In the process, he has reacquainted and engaged citizens of Great Britain with the transformative message of the Gospel.  The meetings at Harringay and Wembley represented a turning point in the life and ministry of America’s Pastor and were a watershed for international evangelism – attributable in great part to a significant emphasis on prayer.

This weekend, the Dallas Cowboys have an opportunity to attract and energize new English fans with American football.  Let’s hope this expanded audience and opportunity similarly represents a catalytic pivot for America’s Team

Despite an opponent with a record of 1-8, and depending on the status of injured quarterback  Tony Romo, beyond a game plan what this team may need is prayer.  As we’re reminded in Isaiah 48:3 (taking the verse totally out of context), “…then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass...”

Larry Ross is president of A. Larry Ross Communications, a Dallas-based media/public relations agency that provides crossover media liaison emanating from or targeted to the Christian market. For more than 32 years, he served as director of media/public relations for evangelist Billy Graham - over one-half of his public ministry.  Follow him on Twitter@alrcand Facebook

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