Some people fit the title of “statesman.” Sterling Huston is one. Invited by Billy Graham to give leadership to his major crusades, Sterling interfaced with countries, presidents, prime ministers, heads of churches and communities, as the voice and heart for the famous evangelist.
Graham knew he needed one with unimpeached integrity, gracious manners, intuitive on who to trust, briefed on nuances of theology, familiar with myriad expressions of faith and polished in handling the media. Huston filled them all.
Most would not know his name or recognize his face. That was exactly fitting to Huston’s style. He lifted the weight of preparation from Graham, giving him sage advice, humbly suggesting one course over another, advising where to go and who to see.
As an Evangelical, Huston knew the parameters of its history, theology and leaders, always sensitive to views and feelings, yet never in bondage to narrowness or self interest. As with Graham, Huston worked out of his theological and missional vision, never compromising nor apologizing. However, along with Graham, he was able to open new doors of relationships, trust and cooperation. He epitomized the Evangelical movement, seeing its moving emphasis ahead into the twenty first century.
While rooted in his Youth for Christ community and trained in its early days, Huston saw the wider agenda of the Spirit. When racial forces sought to divide his nation, he led desegregated public meetings. When the counter-culture movement exploded in the early 1970s, young people – in all means of dress and music – were invited to be part of the wider experience of witness and faith. As the charismatic wave washed around the world, Huston understood the workings of the Spirit and incorporated this new community into the wider Graham vision and mission.
The world knows well the name and picture of Billy Graham, however it was Sterling Huston who helped build the platform for his public ministry. Huston was a man who not only was at the heart of the explosion of Christian faith in the last half of the twentieth century, but an enabler who lifted others, setting them free to preach the message of Jesus Christ to untold millions.
The World Evangelical Alliance honors this gracious and gifted man who helped lead this growing world movement of Evangelical Christians worldwide.