Hundreds of Poles respond to Jesus Christ at Franklin Graham event

By Chris Eyte |
Franklin Graham speaking in Poland
Franklin Graham preaching to a packed stadium in Poland. | Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

More than 800 people responded to a simple yet powerful message about God’s love by evangelist Franklin Graham, son of the late Billy Graham, at a packed-out evangelistic arena in Poland. 

The Bóg Cię Kocha Tour, which is Polish for ‘God Loves You Tour’, saw Graham visit the TAURON Arena in Krakow city on Saturday, April 13. Some 13,200 people attended the event, following invites by local evangelical churches working with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). 

“I’m here tonight to tell you that God loves you. He made you, He created you – He knows everything about your life,” Graham reportedly told the crowds. “God is real and He’s here tonight in Krakow.

“The Bible says, ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life.’”

Franklin Graham sharing the gospel in Poland.
Franklin Graham speaking at TAURON Arena as part of the Bóg Ci? Kocha Tour. | Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Graham, president and chief executive officer of BGEA, then invited people to give their hearts to Jesus Christ. 

More than 420 churches from 15 denominations in Poland partnered with Franklin Graham and BGEA for the Bóg Cię Kocha Tour. The churches invited local communities to attend the free-of-charge event with free bus transport offered by the BGEA.

Graham also took time in sober reflection during the tour by visiting the former German Nazi concentration camp site, Auschwitz. More than 1.1million women, children and men died there during the Second World War. Christian singer Michael W. Smith accompanied Graham to visit the site, which is 43 miles from Krakow.  

“I was deeply moved by the heavy and heartbreaking history of Auschwitz,” Graham later said. “The Jews and the Polish people suffered unspeakable evils during WWII and that same kind of evil still exists in the world today. The only hope is God – no one else can transform the human heart.”

Worship music during the Bóg Cię Kocha Tour featured Smith alongside ‘Taya’ from Australia and a local Polish band. 

The Rev. Andrzej Bajenski, bishop of the Churches of Christ in Poland, and one of the evangelical national church leaders, said evangelical Christianity is not so well understood in Poland. 

“Evangelical communities and the gospel message are rather on the margins of life,” Bajenski told Christian Daily International. “So when an event takes place with several thousand participants, it cannot go unnoticed, even in a big city.”

“For smaller everyday communities, large events are important because, thanks to them, we [evangelicals] realize that there are more and more of us and we can create a ‘big mouthpiece’ for the gospel message.”

Large gospel events are thus important to unite Polish evangelical communities, according to Bajenski. He said that the response of 800 participants to Jesus Christ, during the recent Franklin Graham event, marked a crucial moment for evangelicals. 

“The most important thing is that over 800 [response] cards were received by participants, informing about their decision to follow Christ,” he added. “Being an eyewitness to such massive acts of declaration is especially important for small church communities.”

The bishop said that the BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse again managed to rally church leaders to mobilize most of the church communities. Cooperation is not commonplace for evangelical communities, said Bajenski. “It seems that as we grow in numbers, we also learn to grow in cooperation despite our differences.”

“Franklin's message has traditionally been very simple and straightforward,” he added. “It was not a large explanation of the gospel, but rather a simple invitation to make a decision about turning to God.”

Despite some misgivings by evangelical participants about the evening being “a bit too concert-like,” the bishop recalled excitement at seeing people discover the reality of Jesus Christ.

“Not knowing exactly how this mechanism works in the hearts of the listeners, we all felt great joy when we saw hundreds of people descending in front of the stage.”

Evangelical Poland (EP) states that Poland has a population with only 0.2 percent of evangelicals. Nearly 90 percent of counties in the country have no evangelical church. Most of the country is either “unaware or misinformed” about the evangelical church, according to the EP website. 

The Bóg Cię Kocha Tour tour marked 46 years since Billy Graham visited the country and preached at Wawel Cathedral in October 1978. The late Pope John Paul II invited him although the pontiff could not join the evangelist.

Franklin Graham leads the BGEA but is also president of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization. 

Samaritan's Purse has supported 10 million people in nearby war-torn Ukraine. The charity provided to date five field hospitals, five medical clinics, and supported more than two hundred healthcare facilities, along with thousands of tons of food and emergency relief supplied via airlifts.

About 200 churches in Poland partnered with Samaritan’s Purse to help some 250,000 refugees by providing temporary accommodation, food and clothes for families and children.