by Amos C. Brown, Sojourners Magazine, 6/16/29.
… In July 1952, when I was 11 years old, some of my relatives took me to witness the Billy Graham Crusade in Jackson, Miss. Ropes were strung across the athletic field and stands where more than 300,000 people would gather to hear him preach during those hot summer nights. The ropes had one purpose: to keep the crowd segregated by the color of their skin.
I still remember, nearly 70 years later, watching as Rev. Graham walked down off the podium where he was to preach and pulled down those ropes. That was the day that he declared he would never again preach to a segregated congregation, because the gospel of Jesus Christ welcomes all equally. It was a courageous act for which he was heavily criticized, notoriously so in the segregated South. Nonetheless, in pulling down those ropes he demonstrated his belief in the words of the gospel, and over the rest of life stood with other religious leaders who were working to bring down the barriers of racism.
From the article “BILLY GRAHAM RAISED HIS VOICE AGAINST RACISM. SO SHOULD HIS SON.” Read the full article here … https://sojo.net/articles/billy-graham-raised-his-voice-against-racism-so-should-his-son
And watch a video here …https://billygraham.org/video/taking-ropes-segregation-part-4/
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: My friend and colleague Nelson Searcy has written a good article explaining that Billy Graham’s Modest Manifesto (ethical guidelines for their ministry) is much more than people realize. Take a look at this brief excerpt of Nelson’s insightful article.
“Billy Graham’s secrets to a scandal-free ministry“ by Nelson Searcy, Renegade Pastors Network, 3/27/18.
…For 80 years of ministry, Billy Graham stayed scandal-free.
… So in November 1948, Graham called the members of his evangelistic team to his hotel room during a crusade campaign in Modesto, California. “God has brought us to this point,” he said. “Maybe he is preparing us for something that we don’t know.”
He and his team identified the issues that had been stumbling blocks to evangelists — and ways to prevent them from happening again.
What emerged was a declaration of Biblical integrity that all church leaders can follow. The “Modesto Manifesto” was the pact that would set the standard for Billy Graham’s scandal-free ministry.
The Manifesto included four key principles to guard against:
– Financial Abuse
– Sexual Immorality
– Pride (specifically with relationship to other local churches)
– Lying and Deceit (specifically regarding publicity and reporting of attendance numbers)
No formal document was ever created . . . until now.
I know the impact this Manifesto of integrity can have on your ministry as well. It has made such an impact in my own life and ministry. So I decided to painstakingly research and assemble the four principles into a framable presentation — one that would be easy to follow and keep as a guide…
(To download Nelson’s analysis of the manifesto you must be a member of his Renegade Pastors Network. I am a member and would encourage you to check it out: https://renegadepastors.com )
“Dr. King was a social reformer, we were personal friends and he understood my position completely – – That I was using one type of method to accomplish the same thing and he was using another type of method.” (Read the context and Dr. King’s comments below.)
Access the complete documents at http://www2.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/bulletin/bu1402c.htm
Commentary by Prof. B: A large part of my ministry has been to connect people for greater Kingdom impact. I connect people with Wesley Seminary as well as a Fellow of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College. To further connect my Wesleyan network, I am also a member of the Lausanne Movement (an evangelical movement to connect influencers with ideas for global mission, founded by Billy Graham). Here is an introduction:
The beginnings of the Lausanne Movement
Our story begins with the evangelist Dr Billy Graham. As he started preaching internationally, he developed a passion to ‘unite all evangelicals in the common task of the total evangelization of the world’.
In the 1970s, Billy Graham perceived the need for a global congress to reframe Christian mission in a world of political, economic, intellectual, and religious upheaval. The church, he believed, had to grasp the ideas and values behind rapid changes in society.
In July 1974, over 2,400 participants from 150 nations gathered in Lausanne, Switzerland, for the First International Congress on World Evangelization. TIME magazine described it as ‘a formidable forum, possibly the widest-ranging meeting of Christians ever held’.
(retrieved from https://www.lausanne.org/our-legacy)
Here is a video introduction to the Lausanne Movement:
Read more at … https://www.lausanne.org/our-legacy
“I learned that good judgment comes from experience and that experience grows out of mistakes.”— Omar Bradley
“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.”— Don Wilder
“Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”— Winston Churchill
“I’ve failed over and over and over again. And that is why I succeed.”— Michael Jordan
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. It is delay, not defeat. “It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.”— Denis Waitley
“It’s not your circumstances that shape you, it’s how you react to your circumstances.”— Anne Ortlund
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”— Thomas A. Edison
“Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do.”― John Wooden
“I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail, than to attempt nothing and succeed.”— Robert H. Schuller
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”— Leonardo da Vinci
“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.”— Ben Okri
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.”— Mary Anne Radmacher
“Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.”— Billy Graham
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”― Albert Einstein
“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.”— C.S. Lewis
by Bob Whitesel, 6-4-15.
It was one of my professors, Dr. C. Peter Wagner, who said that prayer was the one topic he has heard discussed more, yet practiced less, than any other church discipline. After 25+ years of church consulting, I must sadly say that I can anecdotally confirm that analysis.
It is my hope that discussing prayer and its important correlation with church outreach, will inspire church leaders to buck the trend and integrate prayer more copiously in their congregations. It is helpful to remember that prayer is the a work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-9), and thus prayer is the “right-arm” of evangelism.
Some of my favorite insights on prayer come from the following quotes:
“All of God’s works are done through believing prayer” is the famous saying of John Wesley, who turned the spiritual tides of England back to the Lord in a dark hour (quoted by Armin R. Gesswein in “Prayer and Evangelism,” Evangelism: The Next Ten Years, ed., Sherwood Eliot Wirt, [Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1978], p. 97).
And Dwight L. Moody the American lay-evangelist and founder of the Moody Bible Institute is remembered for his well-known observation that “every work of God can be traced to some kneeling form” (Gesswein, ibid.).
There is a simple quote by Jim Cymbala in the book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, that, “When people work, people work. When people pray, God works.” What poignancy!
Another one of my favorite quotes is by Dr. Billy Graham. I used it in the chapter on “Missteps With Prayer” in my book Growth by Accident, Death by Planning (2004). But because of its importance I want to quote it here again. Dr. Graham has said that “the secret of each Crusade has been the power of God’s Spirit moving in answer to the prayers of his people. I have often said that the three most important things we can do for a crusade are to pray, to pray, and to pray” (quoted in Sterling W. Huston, Crusade Evangelism and the Local Church [Minneapolis, Minnesota: World Wide Publications, 1984], p. 50).
Because of this strategic nature of prayer, in Growth by Accident, Death by Planning I spoke of several methods for “mobilizing prayer.” I encourage leaders to consider carefully these options, and work to inculcate prayer move pervasively in their congregations. Again for review, here are some of those prayer strategies:
1) Prayer Teams.
2) Neighborhood Prayer Centers
3) Operation Andrew: A Prayer Covenant List
4) Prayer Triplets
5) Concerts of Prayer
6) Designating “Prayer Coordinators”
In addition, just as important is the strategy of employing 50/50 prayer in EVERY prayer opportunity (I’m not yelling by using all caps, I just want to stress the pervasive nature that 50/50 prayer must take 🙂
For a recap, 50/50 Prayer means emphasizing and employing prayer in all venues and meetings that is structured so that:
50% of the prayer is focused on the needs of the congregation.
50% of the prayer is focused on the needs of the unchurched.
50/50 prayer must be stressed, encouraged, talked about, and modeled. But, 50/50 Prayer does note mean praying less for congregational needs. Rather it requires adding 50% to our prayer times to ensure we mention the needs of those who are unchurched.
If the reader would like some more reading on the strategic importance of prayer and church growth and health, here is a selected and annotated bibliography of classic prayer books I have found helpful:
Terry Teykl, Make Room To Pray (Muncie, Ind.: Prayer Points Press, 1993). This is an excellent book, explaining how to add a prayer room to your church that people will actually use!
Terry Teykl, Blueprint for the House of Prayer (Muncie, Indiana: Prayer Point Press, 1997). Here Teykl gives a workbook for your leaders to go through to distribute 50/50 prayer throughout your congregation. This is a great tool for a prayer or a leaders’ retreat.
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997) is a new classic. The quote I used earlier in this missive comes from it. Fantastic insights!
David Bryant, With Concerts of Prayer: Christians Join for Spiritual Awakening and World Evangelism (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1984). Bryant turned the church on its head when he put small group interaction, varying types of prayer, and testimonies into a prayer event he called a “concert” of prayer. Tens of thousands of people have participated in these concerts in venues from sports stadiums to Sunday School rooms. These energetic and creative “concerts of prayer” have helped revitalize prayer gatherings.
Dick Eastman, The Hour that Changes the World (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1980). This is a classic book that explains how prayer is linked with bringing people to Christ. Eastman argues that the world will never be effectively evangelized if we do not increase prayer.
D. L. Moody, Prevailing Prayer (New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1885). Moody was involved in one of the greatest revivals America has ever known. And in this tome he tells how prayer played the key role.
Leonard Ravenhill, Revival Praying (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1962). Another classic, that will inspire, motivate, and enthuse your leaders to take prayer for the unchurched seriously; eventually adopting it as a lifestyle.
Pray! Magazine (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, http://www.navpress.com.) is a great periodical that will remind you of the strategic nature of prayer. Put in on your end table next to “Outreach Magazine,” ”Rev.,” and “Time.”
There are many more great books available on the important topic of prayer. But the above are tendered to begin to spur your thoughts and thinking on prayer. It is my hope that prayer will become a “core competency” of all congregations. It has to … if we are to change the world!