Is Bono our Billy Graham? Thoughts on Today's Evangelists Part 1

Last week, a few friends and i got together and among many things, we got to talking about Billy Graham and Bono.  I made the argument that to many,  Bono is our generation’s Billy Graham.  If you are a U2 basher, just hold on (or go listen to Lady Gaga or something) but hear me out.  Admittedly there are significant character differences, certainly Bono is cooler, and certainly Billy Graham was more influential to the Protestant Church but a case could easily be made for Bono inspiring more people outside the church.  Is that not huge part of the job description of an evangelist?

It started after reading this article from this month’s Christianity Today cover story how about bands like Jars of Clay have become so involved in mission work.  The article stated that using music in mission work  was not new by mentioning “In 1883, gospel singer Ira Sankey joined evangelist Dwight L. Moody in Edinburgh to raise £10,000 (equivalent to $373,000 today) to build a permanent home for Carrubbers Close Mission—which still offers the homeless a free breakfast on Sundays.”   While this is a great story something tells me that we are not comparing apples to apples here.

I could be wrong but during their touring, I am fairly sure that the crowd was coming to hear Moody.  I mean really, which name do you recognize between the two?  The article went on to say that musician-led activism has greatly increased and  soared in 2002 with Bono’s work.  This got me thinking.  More than 100 years ago it was the musician who accompanied the evangelist, today it seems the musician is the evangelist.

Overstated right?  Can you tell me the name of a real evangelist right now?  Oh I know, we do evangelism differently these days, we have broadcast evangelists.  Which one is your favorite?  Bono is mine.  Continued tomorrow.


  1. I take personal offense in you saying that people came out only to hear Moody. I am a huge Ira Sankey fan :)

  2. tim,
    i agree with you on the Bono thing. i also can’t think of any other “evangelists” except maybe……Joel Olsteen, LOL

  3. well, i never saw billy dancing cheek to cheek with women on a heart-shaped stage…but i like your thinking.
    -bono disciple in the church of u2

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