Even though I never met Billy Graham personally, I was privileged to attend one of his crusades in the early 90’s at the Georgia Dome. As with many of you, I have been profoundly impacted by his ministry and his leadership. While his passing was certainly sad for us here on earth it was not so for him. Here is what he had to say about his own death years ago, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”
Billy Graham provided a great legacy for ministry and leadership. Here are 5 characteristics that he had that are a consistent challenge to me.
- He was a committed husband. – Billy and Ruth were married for over 60 years and stayed faithful to one another. Even nearing the end of his ministry he purposely slowed his work so that he could be of greater support to her.
- He was a loving father. – I once heard Anne Graham Lotz respond to a question about how often her father was gone. She stated that while he traveled quite often, whenever he was home they had his full attention. That attention provided great comfort for them as children to know they were important to him.
- He was a man of integrity. – Graham was known for his strong stance against ever having accusations made against him in regards to women. This is why he was never alone with a woman that wasn’t his wife. That rule even applied to elevator rides.
- He was preacher with passion. – If you watch his sermons, from any era, you will find one who senses and displays a significant urgency in his call to response. I am thankful for this example that he set.
- He was a believer with conviction. – Graham once made this statement, “My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.” That belief is what drove him to preach to over 215 million people in 185 countries over 60 years.