Five Lessons Every Christian Leader Can Learn from Billy Graham
Billy Graham has had arguably the most effective and Christ-honoring ministry of anyone in the last 100 years. It was part of my ‘bucket list’ to have the honor of sitting down in his home to talk with him a few years ago.
There are many lessons we can all learn from Dr. Graham, but here are five for leaders that quickly come to mind.
1. Be Humble
Billy Graham has had phenomenal success and yet is incredibly humble. He gives God the glory and others the credit. Having just returned from a large gathering of pastors – nothing is more refreshing than a humble pastor, and nothing is more repulsive than a ‘peacock preacher.’ God says this is a job for us to do, or He will do it for us (James 4:6, 10; 1 Peter 5:6). The humility and graciousness that permeates the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association comes from the example of its leader.
2. Be Focused
Billy Graham’s ministry was focused on evangelism. He had many opportunities offered, from politics to acting – but focused on God’s call. It’s been said the most important thing for a leader is to constantly remind yourself of what matters most.
3. Be Faithful to God’s Word
Dr. Graham simply preached the Bible and preached the Bible simply. I am constantly impressed by the way he would always point to the Scriptures, even with difficult subject. And, he seemed to do it with such grace and truth (John 1:14). In a day of secularism, pluralism and humanism, the church seems to not think God’s Word is sufficient. It is, and people (not all) want to know what it says – especially the young people!
4. Be Ready
Most people don’t realize that Billy Graham had his share of critics. He was criticized for being too conservative, too liberal, not political enough, too political, too ecumenical, not ecumenical enough, etc. The point is, if you are a leader, you will be criticized. Respond Biblically and graciously. Always take the high road; there is not a lot of traffic there.
5. Be Careful
There has not been any scandal in the ministry of Billy Graham. In light of the length, the publicity and success of his ministry, that is awesome. No sex scandals, no financial scandals, no moral scandals. One of the main reasons was because he was careful. He took precautions and had accountability. If you are a Christian leader, you have a large target on your back. Be careful.
1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.