Jacksonville Beach prepares for evangelist Franklin Graham

Event held Saturday at the Seawalk Pavillion

Faith leader Franklin Graham is attending. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Thousands were expected at the Seawalk Pavillion on Saturday as evangelist Franklin Graham is kicking off a tour of Florida.

News4Jax spoke with Graham by phone about what to expect and what his ministry does to address security.

“We always use the local law enforcement and always have them present, but you know just because there are a few nuts in this world we’re not going to let that stop us from doing what we feel God has called us to do,” Graham said. “This is a family event and security is not going to be an issue, it’s not going to be a problem.”

While Graham doesn’t expect any problems for security he told us he wants people with problems to attend.

“I want them to hear how God loves them and how much he loves them and cares for them and is willing to take them as they are and he’ll forgive them and cleanse them and give them a new life through faith in Christ," he said.

As his father Billy Graham did for decades around the world, Franklin Graham said the event offers a simple and clear message of hope. The way his ministry does that is a little different.

“We still have lots of volunteers helping us. We don’t take up an offering. We don’t ask for money. We don’t want to put any burden on local churches to pay for the pay the bills this is something we do ourselves,” he said. "We believe that’s what God would want us to do so the event is free.”

Reverend Graham said to expect the event to last about an hour with 30 minutes of music by Christian artist Jeremy Camp.

The event began at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Seawalk Pavilion.

After Jacksonville Beach, the tour will continue on to another five Florida cities.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.