What Leaders Can Learn From Billy Graham's Modesto Manifesto

(Unsplash/Rob Walsh)

Today, 70% of leaders do not finish their races well. So how can we be among those who do?

Dr. Pau Van Valin, founder of Eden Counseling, recalls meeting Cliff Barrows, who partnered with Billy Graham to establish a code of ethics later known as the Modesto Manifesto. On a recent episode of A Word in Season on the Charisma Podcast Network, Van Valin explains how Barrows told him of their commitment to integrity, purity and humility, which served as a guide and helped maintain the financial, relational and moral integrity for which Billy Graham was known.

"I just was astonished at the boundaries they set in place in order to move forward with integrity and purity," Van Valin said, noting that Billy Graham lived a life that was scandal-free and an excellent example of how to finish well. "This taught me how to tighten my own boundaries."

While no leader sets out to fail, external pressure often exposes things that are going on inside us. Van Valin describes four steps that can help us finish well in spite of these obstacles:

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— Managing our addictions.

— Managing anger.

— Managing anxiety.

Avoiding isolation.

"These four things will help you stay in that 30% who make it right through to the end," says Van Valin. "Failure to follow them can lead us into isolation, self-justification, pleasure seeking and more."

The risk is especially high in this season where we are all experiencing civil unrest, economic challenges and a global pandemic. The COVID pandemic has in particular increased the risk factor of isolation.

"Many of us are functioning much more independently. Our communication has shifted to online and is much briefer, lacking certain elements." Van Valin explains. "The times I've made serious errors occurred when I was functioning alone."

He adds: "I believe in the redemptive power of God, and I believe our leadership is improved through challenges—as long as we're not doing them alone."

Listen to the entire interview with Dr. Van Valin on this episode of A Word in Season on the Charisma Podcast Network.

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