Anne Graham Lotz is the daughter of world-famous evangelist Billy Graham. She’s getting ready to lead one of her revivals in Indianapolis, next month.
“It never crossed my mind I would do this,” she told me, this week. “I was a shy mother of three children. Just a housewife and actually had a longing for God in my heart. I knew him in a personal relationship. But just the busyness of motherhood had put Him on the back burner of my life.”
Gradually, she started studying scripture for herself. That inspired an interest in teaching. Eventually, Anne Graham Lotz became a world-traveling evangelist in her own right. It followed her conclusion that, if she had “needed a fresh touch from Heaven, then I bet there are a lot of other people out there who need that, too.”
That was the genesis of her “Just Give Me Jesus” gatherings.
Anyone is welcome. But, these revivals are targeted at women.
“Women have enormous influence,” Mrs. Lotz said. “Much more influence than, sometimes, they give themselves credit for. They can reach their children and their neighbors, their schools and their places of business, their friends.”
In 2009, research done by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life indicated women are more devout than men. The study found women to be more likely to believe in God, more likely to spend time in prayer and more likely to say religion is important in their lives.
That doesn’t surprise Anne Lotz. She recalled several examples from the Gospels in which women were disciples or church leaders. “It was the women who seemed to understand Jesus was going to the cross. And, it was the women who were first there the morning of the resurrection.” She said, at the tomb, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene not to John or Peter.
PUTTING PEOPLE IN THE PEW
The Pew researchers have also studied the country, state-by-state, to see how we gauge the role of religion in our lives. Sixty percent of Hoosiers said religion is “very important.” But, Anne Lotz said, to some people, churches “seem irrelevant.” They don’t worship regularly because they don’t see how church helps them in their daily lives.
Mrs. Lotz said she goes to church to help her faith grow. But, she also said, “God is not inviting anybody to a church, a denomination, an organization. He’s inviting us into a personal relationship with Himself.”
That’s what she hopes people take from her revival at the Convention Center in April. “We just want each person to meet Jesus in a fresh way.”
HER FAMOUS FATHER
Billy Graham is “doing well,” Anne said. “He’s 95 years old. So, he has some aches and pains and some issues. He has a hard time hearing and a hard time walking and a hard time seeing. But his mind is clear.” He still loves apple pie and loves the people he met on visits to Indiana.
Her mission in Indianapolis, April 5th and 6th, won’t be much different than what her dad used to do. The Gospel message “doesn’t fade and doesn’t grow old.”