With the recent passing of Billy Graham, America's Pastor, we had the privilege of hearing from Lon Allison, Pastor of Teaching & Outreach at Wheaton Bible Church, internationally recognized speaker, and former Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. Pastor Allison spoke to us about Reverend Graham's leadership, an often overlooked facet of his life and ministry.
Four Traits of a Leader from Billy Graham
- Humility - Graham was always and only focused on the person before him, truly listening, as if listening itself was an act of life changing ministry. This is, perhaps, because of all the time spent around Jesus. Reverend Graham embodied the wisdom that says humility is not, as many conclude, thinking less of one's self; rather, it is thinking of one's self less.
- Focus - He knew precisely what God called him to do. When opportunities came along (and they did, as Allison related stories of Graham declining offers to start up "the Christian Harvard" and star in major Hollywood productions), Graham said "no." He knew his unique ability, that thing which he was particularly called to, was to proclaim Jesus Christ.
- Team - Reverend Graham purposed to surround himself with a cohort of like-minded, fully committed colleagues. He knew this to be the surest way to accomplish all the Lord had given him to do.
- Accountability - Often known as Modesto Manifesto and often met with an eye-roll or worse criticism, Graham was bent on holding himself and his staff above reproach. Further, he intentionally surrounded himself with those who would hold him to a higher standard, trusting that God ordains the wounds of our friends - the wound from a friend is a gift.
As you ponder these leadership qualities, where do you find the influence of Billy Graham in your life? Which principal can you begin to practice?
For more on Billy Graham's life and ministry, watch for the new book from Lon Allison, Billy Graham: An Ordinary Man and his Extraordinary God, releasing April 4, 2018 from Paraclete Press.