LEADERSHIP ASSESSMENT OF BILLY GRAHAM
Dr. Andy Wood
Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Course
CLED 520 Life of the Christian Leader
Type in leadership at Amazon.com and you will glean an astonishing 300,000 plus results for books on leadership. Many yearn to become great leaders, yet few have the necessary drive and determination necessary to cultivate these truths into practice. Billy Graham, on the other hand, was able to become one of the top preachers of the 20th century because of the grand leadership ability that he allowed God to harvest within himself. True leadership ability cannot come from a book; it has to be forged in the furnace. Billy Graham’s unique set of life experiences molded him inwardly with intense heat, that inspired him and set his soul ablaze.() The final product that furnace produced is what we now know as his life and legacy. His accomplishments are well- known throughout the world, to both believers and non-believers. He heeded to the call of the Great Commission and preached to more than 80 million people in stadiums and arenas and to even more through the use of radio, television and film broadcasting. He became the unofficial pastor to the nation and the friend and confident to every American president since Harry Truman. Something extraordinary must have happened to him in the furnace of his life, to make him the great leader he is today. This paper will examine the aspects of human development and spiritual development that shaped the life and calling of this mighty Christian leader.
The primary part of Billy Graham's life and influence was his moral and ethical integrity that was above reproach. His morally upright ministerial career won over many of his skeptics and enemies. Despite his fame and notoriety he never strayed from his personal sense of inadequacy or his reliance on God. Many evangelists succumbed to the enticements of the flesh and were greedy, prideful, lustful and consumed by their own ambition. Billy took note of this, and in an effort to glean wisdom from history as to not repeat it, he instructed his team to list any thing that had been a stumbling block, and hindrance to evangelists in years past. From the lists Billy guided his team to formulating a list of resolutions that would clarify the moral expectations the team was to adhere to. He proclaimed it was a “shared commitment to do all they could do to uphold the Bible’s standard of absolute integrity and purity for evangelists.”() In essence Billy set the rules before he and his team played the game. They agreed that in regards to morality, they would be clear, clean, and careful to avoid the very appearance of any impropriety.() They utilized accountability tools that helped ensure ethical behavior. What may have looked like radical expressions of faith allowed Graham’s name to be commonly mentioned as an exemplary model for all ministers to imitate. “Striving for full integrity became part of the organizations DNA.”() But humans are not created with an auto pilot feature that leads them to ethical and moral behavior. People have to rely solely on intimate relationship with God through daily spiritual development which includes repentance, prayer and service. I Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Billy Graham understood this and surrounded himself with only those who were of upright moral character. He instituted even more accountability measures for he and his team by creating a board to supervise them. According to Cliff Barrows the team was, “Accountable to God, to their wives, to each other, the local committees, and the spiritual leadership of the community.”() The only way this...
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