The legendary Billy Graham was a preacher who only comes along every 100 years.
He preached to over 200 million people (not counting his televised outreaches) and reached millions upon millions with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God used him to reach more people for Christ than any preacher in the history of the church!
As a teenager I used to watch his televised outreaches (called “crusades” back then) in awe. I marveled how God used this lanky preacher with an iron jaw and an aw-shucks drawl to shake the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Billy Graham inspired me to become an evangelist. As a fifteen-year-old I was so motivated by his preaching that, while other teenaged boys doodled race cars, I doodled stadiums full of people. Billy Graham’s passion to reach massive amounts of people for Jesus motivated me to try to do the same.
What made Billy Graham so special was not his ability to draw a crowd or get them to respond. It was the character of the man and the sheer simplicity of his aim…to save lost souls…to introduce them to the love of God through Jesus Christ.
As a matter of fact, I think there are seven lessons every Christian (not just aspiring evangelists) can learn from the life and legacy of Billy Graham.
1. Be humble.
Billy Graham was a humble man. He viewed himself as a country boy preacher who God blessed to preach before millions. His humility drew people in and opened hearts up.
In a world where slick TV preachers complete with entourages, designer suits and oversized egos are not uncommon, Billy Graham stood out as a man of humility, dignity and grace. It showed in how he lived his life, interacted with others and communicated God’s Word. It was the very life and love of Jesus living through him that made his authenticity and humility so powerful and impacting.
James 4:10 reminds us, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” God loves to lift up the lowly! The more we humble ourselves the more he will accelerate our ministry impact. The more we walk in humility the more, like Billy Graham, we will reflect Christ to those around us.
2. Be careful.
Early on in his ministry Billy Graham and his team came up with “The Modesto Manifesto.” This simple covenant listed a handful of key accountability practices that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association team would make habits in their lives and ministry.
These practices ranged from not driving/dining alone with a member of the opposite sex to making sure the numbers they reported from their evangelistic outreaches were accurate to rigorous financial accounting practices for the offerings they took at their events. These types of accountability practices enabled Billy Graham and his team to remain scandal free and above reproach during their decades of ministry on the road together.
While there is no accountability measure that will guarantee our purity and integrity, the right accountability practices can help create a buffer between us and a devastating choice. Sure, lust can pick a lock…but a good lock at least takes effort to unlock.
What is “The Modesto Manifesto” you need to make in your own life and ministry? What are the accountability practices that will help keep you above reproach and scandal free in your Christian witness? May the integrity of Billy Graham and his team set a bar for our own lives and ministries.
3. Be bold.
Billy Graham boldly asked for his audiences to make a decision for Jesus. He gave the Gospel during his sermon and then boldly asked people to people put their faith in Jesus during the invitation.
I’ll never forget him doing just that when I attended a Billy Graham Crusade for the first time. In 1987 this renown evangelist came to Denver for 10 nights.
I was blown away by the simplicity of his message and the boldness of his ask. The crowd responded in droves.
One of the hardest parts of sharing Jesus for the average Christian is asking people to put their faith in Jesus right then and there. I’ve seen it again and again working with teenagers for the last 25 years at Dare 2 Share.
During our training events we train and mobilize teenagers to share the Gospel with others. Often the hardest part for them comes when it’s time to ask a person to trust in Jesus. Some teenagers stop short of boldly asking them to believe.
In the same way Christian adults who share their faith often bail when it comes to asking someone to trust in Jesus right there on the spot. But as 2 Corinthians 6:2 reminds us, “Today is the day of salvation.” We, like Billy Graham, must boldly ask people to believe in Jesus right then and there…because today is the day of salvation!
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Source: Christian Post