Billy Graham, Ridgecrest
Terrell O’Brian, Pavilion, Wyoming, Sculptor
The statue at 9 feet, 4 inches tall depicts Graham in a three-piece suit standing slightly in front of and to the right of a 17-foot tall cross. The arms are outstretched with the proper left hand wrapped around a Bible. At the foot of the cross is a scattering of stones, three nails and a tablet inscribed with the words of John 3:16, that come together to form the base. The memorial stands on a circular concrete pad outlined with a low stone wall.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" ( John 3:16.)
Ridgecrest Conference Center
Unveiled (Greensboro, NC): June 13, 2006. Dedication (Nashville, TN): December 13, 2006. Relocated (Ridgecrest, NC): October 2016
35.621360 , -82.277790 View in Geobrowse
Boan, John. “Billy Graham Statue Unveiling Emotional for Southern Baptists,” The Tennessean (Nashville, TN), December 14, 2006
Earls, Aaron. “Billy Graham Statue Finds New Home at Ridgecrest,” Lifeway.com, December 14, 2016, (accessed January 11, 2022) Link
French, Rose. “Billy Graham Statue Unveiled,” The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, SC), December 14, 2006
French, Rose. “Billy Graham Statue to Be Unveiled at Convention,” The Evening Sun (Hanover, PA), April 28, 2006
Novelly, Thomas. “Nashville’s Billy Graham Statue to Move to WNC,” Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC), June 8, 2016
Whitmire, Tim. “Baptist Nix School Pullout,” Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC), June 15, 2006
Zylstra, Sarah Eekhoff. “A Tale of Two Billy Graham Statues,” Christianity Today (Carol Stream, IL), June 9, 2016, christianitytoday.com, (accessed January 7, 2022) Link
“Nonprofit Ministry to Buy Ridgecrest Conference Center and Summer Camps,” WLOS TV, October 15, 2020, (accessed January 12, 2022) Link
The statue was donated to LifeWay Christian Resources by Chris Fryer and Matt Samuelson, two Southern Baptist businessmen from Atlanta, GA.
Will Graham, grandson of Billy Graham was present and spoke at the Nashville dedication before an audience estimated at 200 people.
The sculptor, Terrell O’Brian, was also a Baptist pastor. He wanted to “recognize Graham’s evangelism all over the world... so the artist created the outstretched gesture,” as an invitation for people to accept Christ. The statue was first viewed with an unveiling at the annual Southern Baptist Convention Conference held in Greensboro, NC in June 2006. It was then transported to Nashville for installation and a second unveiling and dedication in December 2006. It was placed on the campus of LifeWay Christian Resources, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. When LifeWay moved to a smaller campus in 2016, the decision was made to move the statue to the Ridgecrest Conference Center which was also owned by LifeWay. The conference center was then sold to a group of private investors in 2020 but still operates as a Christian retreat and camp.
The statue stands near the entrance to the Ridgeway Conference Center at 1 Ridgecrest Drive, Black Mountain, NC 28711. It is on the left shortly after turning on to Ridgecrest Drive from Old Highway 70E which runs parallel to I-40.
The memorial stands on a slight rise backed by a stone wall and woodlands.
The statue first stood on the grounds of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee, at the corner of Rosa Parks Boulevard and Commerce Street. After the 15-acre campus in downtown Nashville was sold and the publishing company moved to a smaller location it was decided to move the statue to Ridgecrest, NC.