Mission Helsinki 1987 facts
Despite its metropolitan name, Mission Helsinki 1987 was the mission of Finland as a whole. Billy Graham has always worked closely with churches from all different denominations. This was also the case in Finland.
Billy Graham’s invitation to Finland
The Collegiate Evangelical Committee worked on calling Billy Graham to Finland over several years. The decision for the invitation was made in October 1986.
In December of the same year, the association of Missio Helsinki 1987 was founded, to arrange and coordinate the crusade together with representatives of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Missio Helsinki 1987 Secretary General Juhani Peltonen was appointed, and also the Chairman of the Managing Board, Director Ahti Hirvonen, and the Bishop of Helsinki Samuel Lehtonen, as the Chairman of the Advisory Board.
Members of the Managing Board with Mr. Hirvonen were vice-chairmen Kai Antturi and Henrik Perret. Juhani Peltonen, Tapio Aaltonen, Heikki Bergström, Pirkko Jalovaara, Juhani Kopposela, Erkki Kuusanmäki, Olli Luoma, Hannu Nyman, Martti Paajanen, Jouko Paukkunen, Olavi Räsänen, Mauno Saari, Esko Taipale, Jarno Tepora, Jouko Salonen, Pauli Tuohioja, Timo Vasko, Veijo Vatka, Jorma K. Virtanen and Juha Savela.
12,500 trained volunteers
Mission preparations and the follow-up were primarily the responsibility of parishes. Many local churches established their own mission working group. There were about 250 registered work groups in July 1987.
There were 49 courses for the volunteers throughout Finland. Three of them were in Swedish and one in English.
A total of 12,500 people attended the Christian Life and Witness Courses in March-April 1987. Many of them served as counseling assistants at the stadium.
The highest number of course participants was in Saalem in Helsinki (1300), the second most in the Siion Temple in Jyväskylä (800) and the third most in the Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki (500).
For the Mission small groups that started after the crusade in local churches were trained 3.889 small group leaders.
Choir of 2,500 singers
2,500 choir members performed at the Mission Helsinki. Choralists had been practicing in local groups across the country. The choir was co-directed by Kari Tikka, Sakari Kokkonen, and Cliff Barrows from Graham Team.
Numerous domestic and foreign singers and musicians appeared in the program. The performers included Päivi Paunu, Rakel Lignell, Kari Kuuva, Mikko Kuustonen and Jukka Leppilampi.
Budget mainly from private donations
Mission Helsinki 1987 budget of FIM 4.9 million was largely raised through private Christian donations. Partly the donations were collected at the stadium events. In addition to the office and administration costs, the budget included education, information and advertising, as well as arrangements and rent for the stadium.
Billy Graham and his representatives did not receive any salary or expenses from Finland. The budget surplus was used to evangelize in developing countries.
The mission continues
Billy Graham’s Mission Helsinki was the beginning of numerous crusades that took place during the next 20 years.
Mr. Graham challenged his interpreter Kalevi Lehtinen to continue the crusade in Finland and the neighboring countries. And so during the next 10 years Mr. Lehtinen arranged numerous Missions in Finland, the Baltic countries and Russia.
Lehtinen’s missions were organized for instance in Lahti, Jyväskylä, Joensuu, Kotka and Kouvola. When the Soviet Union opened, Lehtinen had big crusades in St. Petersburg, 12 cities along the Volga river and the Urals. In total, Lehtinen’s crusades gathered hundreds of thousands of listeners.
Also many other evangelists, such as Markku Vuorinen and Ilkka Puhakka, have organized crusades in Finland after the Mission Helsinki,
Interesting media crusades have been organized by IRR-TV in Finland and numerous countries throughout the world. With the theme “Opportunity for Change” people are challenged via the media to answer the gospel call. These media missions do not have an evangelist, but it uses the transformation stories of ordinary Christians to reach out to people through different means of media instead.