Leading By The Faith And Grace Of Billy Graham

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.  Romans 12:2

As a leader, do not walk outside your allotted faith or grace. It is too easy to think more highly of yourself than God’s current favor in your life.

Have you ever felt embarrassed for someone as they attempted to lead, sing, or speak? The stage has a humility factor and there are many Simon Cowells in all audiences who will sooner or later give a realistic assessment. It’s difficult to sing off-key or preach poorly for any length of time.

In the church world, the audience “boos” by going to another church.

It’s more complicated with leadership when the inspiration of vision falls short of creating passion in others, or there is toxic or unethical leadership. Cash flow slows, budgets complain, and often the damage is irreversible before correct assessment.

As Paul says, “Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought.” How much grace, how much faith, has been allotted to you?

The secret of great leadership is walking securely in God’s favor.

When Billy Graham started preaching, he was a part of a team of preachers and not the most talented. However, when he preached, more people walked forward to accept Jesus. One of Billy’s more talented co-workers left the ministry team and eventually quit following Jesus.

Sheer talent does not mean “God’s grace.” Jealousy of those more anointed can taint faith.

Understand that it is not important that you are successful or that you achieve your wildest dreams. It is necessary for anything of eternal value in your life to be rooted in humility. Ultimately your faith in God’s grace brings the fruit of God’s Spirit.

As a pastor and Christian leader for 49 years, I’ve witnessed the faith-crash of too many preachers, pastors, and Christian leaders. Too many! Some failures are barely noticed outside the city limits of their ministry, while others attract a national media blitz.

What happened?

Somewhere, sometime, did that leader walk outside of grace? Not confess a sin that needed grace? Get too far ahead in ministry plans, outrun faith, and then lose the grace needed to carry the burden of those goals? Was it talent without accountability, bright lights with no legitimate fellowship? Or thought-to-have gifting that was more self-delusion than actual?

When the crash comes, God gets blamed. We get depressed, yell at God, and wonder why prayers were not answered.

Walking out of faith and beyond grace is a daily temptation for all of us.  

We get impatient, forget to pray, and don’t have legitimate conversations. Our leadership style, our parenting, our management practices become more self-aggrandizing. Outside of God’s favor, we must control! Others discern, getting upset or leaving.

Back to Billy Graham.

The least talented of his initial class of preachers, yet God’s favor and grace in his life allowed his ministry to lead more to Jesus than any other evangelist in the history of Christendom. If you listened to Billy preach, if you read his books, or watched an interview, there was an inherent attitude of “it’s not me, it’s Jesus.”

I heard a leader once say, “It’s easy to understand if you are not walking by faith and in God’s grace. First, you get mad and upset when things don’t go your way. And the second way to know that you are walking outside of God’s grace – people don’t criticize you anymore – they are afraid to do it.”


I should be glad that I’ve been criticized many times in my 49 years of ministry. LOL!

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