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 hat 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 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. Moral Development 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 reclaimed it was a “shared commitment to do all they could do to uphold the Bible’s standard of absolute integrity and purity for 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 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 type of philosophy could have been adopted by the entire team was if they were imitating their leader; which they were. Billy Graham also demonstrated his moral integrity by choosing to go against the grain and help unite races. His ministry was just blossoming during the peak of America’s harsh debate with racism. In 1953, Graham boldly proclaimed, that he would never partake in a segregated crusade.
Even before the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Graham showed he world through his actions that God was no respecter of persons, and that he would view every man and woman the way God did; equally irrespective of culture or skin color. His flawless character and moral integrity allowed him to gain the support of the conflicting Christians in the racist South in which he called home and gain the respect of many world leaders. Although Graham had an energetic magnetism that instantaneously brought him the approval of billions, he never let it lead to pride or arrogance, which would have distorted his genuine authenticity.
He never preached a sermon that he himself did not deed to and he followed the same moral compass he expected his entire team to. Light repels darkness, so the light from the word of God that was ingrained into his messages repulsed the dark world. But time after time his message was embraced by the multitudes for the simple fact they saw something beyond his forty-five minute sermon, they saw that sermon in the way he genuinely conducted his own life. The media searched diligently for something destructive with which to accuse Billy Graham.
Yet they have never been afforded with immoral events or actions from his life that could result in the collapse of his oral reputation with the world. Intellectual Development Billy Graham’s moral compass and every decision he made was formed by much rational thought which came from his intellectual development. His capacity for rational thought is attributed to the fact he, like the rest of humanity was given the distinction of bearing the imago Die. Biblical anthropology tells us that “intellect is the rational property or thinking agent of the soul. () When the Bible makes references to intellect it is referring to the “activity of conceiving and perceiving ideas based on the use of reflection, reasoning and judgment. () The world may view intellectual development as something that solely happens through studying science, history, math, and language. But Christian’s must not view faith and reason as two disconnected entities. Reason and faith must be embraced, nurtured, and cultivated together. Faith is the result of intellect being used to understand the truth of scripture. Our intellect develops throughout our life and the circumstances we go through which test our faith.
When we are babes in Christ we rationalize how we should handle the issue’s of life differently than how we do as more mature Christians. Jesus even experienced intellectual development, according to Luke 2:52, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature with God and with people. ” The dynamic collaboration of reason and faith lies at the heart of who we are. In order to be an effective leader one must adapt a student mentality throughout life; realizing there is always a lesson to be learned, because intellectual development is a journey not a destination.
Through intellectual development the Christian will experience a change in their spiritual life, moral decisions, maturity in handling relationships and will in turn enhance their leadership abilities. When one studies the intellectual development of Billy Graham we see that his rationale for making decisions contains heart felt emotion. He admits that he lacks the ability to emotionally disconnect himself from situations. He struggled to make decisions from an unbiased standpoint, from an impartial view regarding order in his own life.
This did not hinder his leadership abilities because he recognized this area in his rational ability that needed improvement. An immature leader might simply pay no attention to this flaw and simply disregard the problem attributing it to not being one of the gifts that God gave them. But Billy Graham did not do so he recognized I Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, put childish ways behind me. ” Putting his own motto into practice, he consecrated himself to change the way he rationalized and concentrated on how to allow God to change him.
Overtime he realized that nurturing self-discipline, organization and focused concentration is crucial in problem solving and in the development of new ideas. Rather than being intimidated by people who excelled in this area, Billy surrounded himself tit them so that he too could grow in this area. This is a powerful lesson that all leaders must learn. Billy Graham would not allow his ‘flaws’ to deter him from his primary objective, which was to “bring people out of their torpor of sin to salvation from it. ” () He completely understood that without faith, there is no possibility of pleasing the Creator of the universe.
Comprehending that faith is an intellectual recognition and acceptance of the truth; Billy immersed himself in Scripture, reading the Word of God daily in order to acquire strength, wisdom and intellect. When Billy rationalized he fully engaged all of his mind and emotions. Throughout his life he would face conflicting realities of many sorts that the devil would seek to use against him. But Billy would lay those conflicts and his flaws before God with “extreme earnestness, spending many entire nights on his knees or flat on his face in prayer, seeking the right COUrse of action. () This is a powerful example of a tool all Christian leaders should utilize in their approach to handling the flaws discover in themselves throughout their intellectual development. Recognizing flaws is integral part of his development process, yet what one chooses to do with the knowledge of those flaws will either empower or cripple one’s leadership abilities. Paradigm Spirituality A paradigm is a way of seeing based on implicit or explicit rules that shape one’s perspective. () Unfortunately, beginning at a very early age, humans are inundated with influences from a godless, temporal culture.
This temporal culture tells humans to base their perspective on what will be of the most benefit to them at the present moment. This type of temporal paradigm seeks out earthly pleasures, the recognition of people, popularity, wealth, status ND power. ( ) The problem is that these things may bring happiness for a moment but they cannot ensure permanent joy, because there are too many factors that affect their existence. Attempting to switch paradigm is like trying to swim against the current, because it challenges everything that our culture reinforces.
If one wants to make this shift they must be willing to renew their minds with biblical truth and surround themselves with other Christians who desire the same paradigm shift. Billy Graham’s paradigm shift began at a very young age following the traumatic breakup he had with his girlfriend. Billy trudged to redirect his focus. He agonized over what his next move in life was to be. While pondering his direction, Billy called upon God praying earnestly, “All right Lord, if you want me, you’ve got me. If I am never to get Emily, am goanna follow you. () Graham came to the realization that no human being or relationship could come before God, that God was to be the center of all that he did. His temporal and eternal paradigms were at odds. On one hand he yearned for individuality and autonomy. He struggled with his need for self-expression and self-esteem and tried to suppress his impulse cleave to his past. It has been said that “God loved him and others had a wonderful plan for his life. () He realized that if he viewed life from a temporal perspective that many wonderful things just as much as bad things could keep him from fulfilling his calling. ) But he kept his focus. He chose to surround himself with people making decisions from an eternal perspective. As Christian leaders we are going to face trials and tribulations. But we must utilize the same discernment that Billy Graham did and not allow these tragedies to be the crucible but rather the propelling force that enhances our passion to pursue the call that God has laced on our life. Holistic Spirituality For many Christianity is just a small component , much like work or finances that that makes up their life.
They fill like they have can complete their Christian duty simply by going to church a couple times of week and giving an offering. Once they leave church they simply take their Christian hat off, and sit their Bible back on the shelf until that segment of their life is accessed again. Chrism’s yearns for us to adapt a more holistic type of spirituality. To base every daily decision around our faith in him, so that we are a reflection of Him in all we do. A elastic Christian seeks God guidance in every facet of their life, seeking to bring glory to him in all of their daily activities.
Colombians 7 says, Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through him. ” This verse asserts that if we are to please the Lord we must sake to honor Him in all we do everyday not only in what we do on Sundays. Billy Graham is the perfect example of a holistic Christian. He incorporates Christ into every area of his life. Distractions and diversions tried to pull him off of the course that Christ had called him to run, but because He earnestly sought God’s audience through continual prayer and meditation on His word for every aspect of his life.
As a result, he never changed his calling. George Brusher, President of Bethel University in Minneapolis, proclaimed that, “there was something about the central passion of his life that attracted his Christ was so intimately interwoven into every facet of his life that no one could miss the central passion of his life. Billy Graham said that, “Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion; it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ. All Christian leaders should acquire this same type of intense passion to make sure our daily actions do not become stumbling blocks to anyone.
Conclusion One of the finest examples of Christian leaders is Billy Graham. The way he lived his life reached more than even his sermons alone did. He never asked his congregation or team to conduct themselves in anyway he himself would not. He inspired and empowered all whom he interacted with. His spiritual development can be contributed back to the furnaces he endured throughout his ministry. He was very much so aware of his limitations, but did to become so enamored by them that he lost sight of how much bigger God was. He turned his weaknesses, doubts and frustrations over to God, and let him refine them through the fire.
His holistic spirituality and eternal paradigm allowed him to remain humble. He showed genuine love to all he came in contact with regardless of their class, race, gender, denomination or culture. He acknowledged that there were always going to be disagreements but that love should still be shown to each other despite those differences. Even when he was criticized and persecuted he chose to adhere to the Bible and “love those spitefully used and persecuted him. This type of love is Agape love, which can be defined as “disinterested love, meaning that it does not differentiate between worthy and unworthy. (18) He chose to share this love because he had experienced such an intimate love with Christ. He proclaimed “Chrism’s love has seen me through sickness, discouragement, and frustration. His love has sustained me during times of disappointment and bewilderment. ” His own spiritual developments allowed him to fully experience and appreciate the love of Christ. It was the love of Christ which set his own heart ablaze that allowed IM to ignite the same fire within the souls of others and become a powerful Christian leader. Bibliography Boa, Kenneth.