Billy Graham's close friend, Cliff Barrows, has entered into the arms of Jesus after serving as a faithful contributor to the organization's music ministry for decades.
Barrows, the longtime director of music programming, and later television and radio programming for Billy Graham Crusades, passed away Tuesday at Carolinas HealthCare System-Pineville after a brief illness. He was 93 years old.
Dr. Tom Phillips, Vice President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Executive Director of The Billy Graham Library, told The Gospel Herald, "Cliff Barrows will be buried here at the Billy Graham Library. This is a holy place, we've had 28,000 people make various commitments to Christ in 8 years. Cliff lived as Mr. Graham does - to win souls, to bring people to love God abundantly and eternally."
He added that there will be a display for Barrows up at the Billy Graham Librakry until December 1: "We will honor him because he honored the Lord," Phillips said. "What a great man of God - he led more people in worship than any man in the history of the church, he knew more Scripture than just about anybody I've ever known. Billy Graham once said, 'He's like a brother to me.' What an amazing person."
According to the BGEA website, Barrows served with the organization for more than 70 years and was an "integral part" of the ministry. He not only traveled the world with Billy Graham since the first Crusade in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1947, but from 1950 to 2014 hosted the weekly Hour of Decision radio program, heard around the world.
The website notes that just a few weeks before he passed away, Barrows recorded several sessions of the Hour of Decision Online-a rebirth of The Hour of Decision radio program.
The BGEA website quotes him as saying: "The Christian faith is a singing faith, and a good way to express it and share it with others is in community singing."
Barrows and Graham met in 1945 while Barrows was on his honeymoon, and quickly became close friends. Shortly after meeting, the duo formed the first team of what was to later become the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
"Cliff Barrows was the voice behind my father for 60 years, emceeing the platform for his Crusades and 'The Hour of Decision' radio program," said Billy's son, Franklin Graham. "Not only was he one of my father's closest friends, but he was a friend to all of us on the team and in the family. Growing up, and until the day of his death, I called him Uncle Cliff. He was very much a part of our family. My father has said: 'The remarkable contribution Cliff has made to my ministry cannot be measured in human terms. I love him like a brother.' His counsel and suggestions were invaluable. He was a great friend and will be missed by all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Ann and the entire Barrows family."
Over the course of his life, Barrows received a number of honors and was inducted into the Nashville Gospel Music Hall of Fame in April 1988 and into the Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame in February 1996. Barrows was also inducted into the inaugural class of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists' "Hall of Faith" in 2008.
A public funeral service for Barrows will be held at Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C. (5801 Pineville-Matthews Road), on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a private interment.
One of Billy Graham's closest friends and ministry partners, Cliff Barrows, has passed away. Mr. Barrows partnered with Mr. Graham for his Crusades and 'The Hour of Decision' radio program for 60 years. He will be missed by many. The Library will be closed for a private service on Tuesday, Nov. 22, and will reopen to the public on Wednesday, Nov. 23.