No preacher in the twentieth century has had such influence on the church and on the world as Billy Graham. Over more than a half-century of ministry, he has moved beyond his identity as an evangelist to become a global evangelical statesman, yet he has never lost the focus of his message: preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and calling people to decision.
Just As I Am is the autobiography of this great preacher, published last summer. As much because of who Billy Graham is as because of the book itself, this volume has been recognized as the 1997 Preaching Book of the Year.
Our annual book award is often presented because a volume represents a significant contribution to the field of homiletics, or more broadly, to the work of ministry. This year’s award is presented because Billy Graham has been a remarkable model of effective preaching, and his story is deserving of attention from each of us who shares his calling to preach the Word. Graham’s autobiography tells the story of his life and ministry. He tells about various avenues his work has taken — such as publications and films — and about the development of his crusades. Of interest to many will be the comments Graham shares about his relationships with famous people, including several presidents.
Billy Graham has never seen himself as a “great preacher.” He is not eloquent as that term is usually used; his sermons are simple and straightforward, his illustrations drawn from the daily newspapers and pop culture. Yet what has made Billy Graham the personification of preaching for millions around the world is that he has been faithful to his calling, modest in his lifestyle, and true to the Word of God.
Though his sermons are not remarkable, they have been used by God in an incredible way. The Holy Spirit has used Billy Graham as a vessel through which to impact thousands upon thousands over more than five decades of ministry. God has honored his faithfulness and integrity, characteristics which are a model for every minister.
Just As I Am is about the life of a preacher whom God has used. It is a book for every preacher to read; it is a life for every preacher to model.

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