Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lessons From An Epochal Leader

Thom Rainer, president and chief executive officer of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention recently had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Billy Graham in his home in Montreat, North Carolina.

Billy Graham has to be one of the most well known men on the earth. He has preached to well over 2.2 billion people and according to his BGEA staff more than 2.5 million people (as of 1993) have "stepped forward at his crusades to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior."

I have observed the ministry of Dr. Graham over the years and if I were to choose two words to define his ministry, it would be INTEGRITY and CONSISTENCY.

Thom Rainer posted some of his comments and observations about his visit with Dr. Graham. Some of Rainer's key points in the article:
  • A LIFE PLEASING TO THE LORD IS A LIFE OF INTEGRITY. Leadership at any level cannot begin to function well unless the leader has integrity.
  • LISTEN TO THE CRITICS, BUT DON'T DWELL ON THEM. When asked about how he dealt with the critics, he smiled and said, "I ignored most of them." Graham seemed to know that dwelling on criticisms would distract and harm his ministry.
  • HUMILITY IS ONE OF THE GREATEST VIRTUES OF LEADERS. He counseled presidents and kings. He personally preached to more people than any human that has ever lived. Some see him as one of the most influential people our era. One word you will hardly ever hear him continue to use is "I".
  • JESUS IS ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS. When all is said and done, all that really matters is Jesus.
None of us will ever be like Billy Graham; at least, I'll speak for myself, but we can sure all apply these great lessons to our lives.

God bless you Billy Graham.


Gloria Rose said...

ah, so true, so true: "Jesus is all that matters." Thank you for reminding us, Earl.

Judy said...

Thank you for sharing this. What an amazing example of a heart devoted to the Lord.

Hope all is well with you and your family. I also wanted to take the time to thank you for all you have done for Scott and I. We are forever thankful you were our pastor.

God Bless!

Earl Thornton said...

Thanks Judy. We're doing great. Greetings to you, Scott and your wonderful family!