Lessons from Billy Graham

Kara Powell | Jul 23, 2010

This summer Im enjoying biographies and autobiographies. I love what I learn and the case studies of amazing leaders lives are engrossing.

At the encouragement of a friend, I have been reading Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham. Its a long book over 700 pages which matches the enormity of the impact of Billys life and ministry.

So many great stories. Ill be sharing a few in my next blogs.

Billy writes that in the midst of the 1949 multi-week Los Angeles Crusade, In the final weeksI often felt too weak to stand at the pulpit, and some of my platform-pacing was necessary to keep myself from toppling over when I stood stillBillie Barrows at the piano worked as hard as any of us, and Lorin Whitney tirelessly played the organ. Ruth herself stayed up long hours each night counseling people. None of us would leave the little counseling tent until every person had been personally talked to (p. 156).

While Im not advocating pushing yourself until you drop, what Im struck by is that Billy and his team (including his wife) stayed until every person had been talked to. He was no big stage speaker who did his thing and then went to a comfy room to relax.

I remember hearing about a well-known youth speaker (if I said his name, most of you would know it) who would pick up trash after he finished speaking. Even though he had spoken before thousands, no job was too small.

Again, Im all for rest, and Im all for empowering others to do their jobs and use their spiritual gifts, but I love the model of servanthood in the little things from the giants of the faith like Billy Graham.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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