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YES! Blogs

A Godly Leader's Legacy

Wes Wick

“Write to me at Billy Graham, Minneapolis, Minnesota.”

Wow, how cool was that? Just his name, city and state. If we could only figure out how to spell Minneapolis!

Obviously, ‘America’s pastor’ was revered for more than his earthly mailing address. He helped change the eternal address of millions of people around the world through a profoundly simple, compassionate proclamation of the gospel—and a call to decision.


“If you have friends, they’ll wait.” Of course, what could be more important than waiting a few extra minutes while a friend prayed at the altar to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and follow Him as Lord?

A friend and counselor to twelve US presidents. That, too, was impressive.

But beyond his address, eloquence, and influence, we love the humility and integrity of this great Christian leader.

Early on, Billy Graham recognized that American evangelists had been commonly sidetracked by scandal in three primary outside-the-pulpit areas: sex, money, and power. Beyond personally resolving to not fall into these traps, Rev. Graham insisted on ministry paradigm shifts to further protect himself from these pitfalls.

It’s hard to think of a more trustworthy man than Billy Graham, yet he insisted on having safeguards in place to keep himself from sexual compromise, financial greed, and the corrupting influence of unbridled power.

We, too, need to set limits and welcome accountability, like Billy Graham did, to help us and those we serve stay on a fruitful path. We are not immune from alluring temptations that might derail us.

Thank God for the integrity of both the message and the messenger!

May God impress on all of us that it’s not just His Word coming from our lips that commands respect. It’s also our living out lives that match up with His Word.

Both Billy and his wife Ruth chose to be buried in simple pine plywood caskets built by prisoners from the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Even in death the Grahams made choices highlighting the redeeming love of Jesus.

In some ways it’s the end of an era. But may we learn much from the legacy of this strong, integrous, and humble Christ-follower.