Honouring the Legacy of
November 7, 1918 — February 21, 2018
The global stories of lives and ministries that Billy Graham impacted and the trickle down effect will never be known this side of eternity. Canadian Youth Network is one of those stories!
CYN’s history has its roots in the 1995 Mission Ontario Billy Graham event. The youth night set the attendance record of over 70,000 at the Skydome (now Rogers Centre). Following this historic event the Mission Ontario Youth Committee gathered together to dream of ways to keep the momentum. The result was the gathering of at least 7 different denomination leaders, ministry leaders and youth pastors from across Ontario. Together they organized a project called 2000 ACTS under the newly formed Canadian Youth Network.
2000 ACTS led over 8000 youth in the study of a 5 week curriculum focusing on the Great Commandment and Commission. 11,000 students gathered at Copps Coliseum (now First Ontario Place) to be commissioned to do acts of service in their communities in the year 2000 and over 500 students gave their heart to Jesus that night.
After this project there were over 50 established youth ministry networks, prior to this event, there had only been 8. CYN became a resource to consult and guide these new local networks as they strategized ways to show God’s love and reach youth with the gospel.
As a result of the impact of the gospel and Billy Graham’s initial momentum back in 1995, CYN has remained faithful in serving the church for almost 20 years. By supporting youth leaders as they develop spiritually healthy teens and through our events we continue to pursue the dream that every teenager in Canada has the opportunity to experience God’s love, respond to the gospel and be discipled in a spiritually healthy church.
The most compelling way to share Billy Graham’s legacy on CYN is through the stories we hear of lives that have been changed. Many of our stories come from our annual Change Conference, which has been sponsored by BGEA Canada. This year was no exception with 500 new decisions for Christ. Whether it was the student who became a Christian at age 17 and is now a lead pastor or the 14 year old who raised her hand and was reading her new Bible to her 10 year old sister the next morning; all these stories are part of the legacy of Billy Graham through CYN.
In 2014 our ministry came full circle, having the privilege to work in partnership with the Billy Graham organization as key leaders organizing the Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham. Over 40,000 attended the Air Canada Centre over 3 nights and the project saw over 4000 commit to Christ as a result of this event. One of the greatest stories is of Matt Baker who in grade 12 became a Christian at Skydome in 1995. Then in 2014 Matt, who was now a youth pastor working on our Festival of Hope youth committee, brought students from his own church who became Christians on the Friday night.
Matt’s story can easily get lost in the millions of stories of people who can trace their spiritual journey back to Billy Graham. The Bible says in Mark 16:15 that we are to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel…”. Today Billy Graham is hearing the, “well done good and faithful servant” while reclining with Jesus as they reminisce over scores of incredible stories.