Billy Graham's organization is laying off 10% of its staff By Tim Funk firstname.lastname@example.org Posted: Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 The Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is laying off 55 employees â about 10 percent of its staff. âWith the economy the way it is, we need to make sure we're tightening our belts as much as we can,â Ken Barun, the ministry's senior vice president for communications. âWe want to be good stewards of the resources our donors have been kind enough to give us.â The layoffs and other cost-cutting should slice the annual budget by about 15 percent, Barun said, reducing it to $84 million. Barun said contributions have been ârelatively flat,â and the BGEA has seen a downturn in revenues from sales of products such as books and returns on endowment funds. But he said the sour economy was only part of the reason for the cutbacks. A year and a half ago, he said, CEO Franklin Graham asked his staff to look at ways to reduce costs and become more efficient without reducing ministry efforts. Barun said the BGEA has consolidated some internal departments, doubled up on administrative assistants and outsourced such things as housekeeping and grounds keeping. Meanwhile, he said, the BGEA plans to step up its ministry offerings by, for example, launching Rock the River, a series of one-day Franklin Graham festivals this summer in cities along the Mississippi River. Graham's international festivals will also continue, Barun said. âIn uncertain times, the message of God's love is more relevant than ever,â he said. A few of the 55 positions being eliminated are based at the Billy Graham Training Center, or The Cove, in Montreat. But most of them are based in Charlotte. Barun said those losing their jobs will leave the ministry by March 20. He said full-time employees who are laid off get a month's notice, a severance package, and âoutplacementâ and spiritual counseling.