Tonight Cliff Barrows concluded the Billy Graham School of Evangelism at The Cove. In the auditorium filled with pastors and their spouses, Cliff Barrows spoke from the heart. He has to speak from the heart these days because macular degeneration is robbing him of his eyesight. His hair is white, and he walks with a cane, but his heart is as strong for the Lord as it has ever been.
His memory is keen, and for half an hour he told stories about the Billy Graham team, and shared the commitment they made to God and each other as team members. It was 1948, and the team was leading a crusade in California, near Modesto, Cliff Barrows hometown. Even then evangelists were not immune from public and moral failure. Billy Graham asked each member of the team to come up with a list of things that might threaten their ministry, and what they could do about each one.
Cliff Barrows recalled they each listed the same concerns: integrity, accountability, purity of life, and humility. Together the team prayed and committed to living according to those four principles.
They agreed to live lives of integrity being truthful in their speech and conduct; being consistent at home and on the crusade platform. They agreed to be accountable to God and to each other, and to those overseeing the ministry, particularly in finances. They each agreed to maintain personal calendars of where they were going, the purpose for their trip or activity, and who they were with. They also agreed to lives of purity, vowing never to be alone with a woman and to have the company of others in the presence of women not their wives. Finally, they agreed to act in humility, to speak carefully about the success of their meetings, and to be careful to give God the glory. They called this agreement the Modesto Manifesto, and it has guided their lives and ministry since that day.
With 419 worldwide crusades, hundreds of evangelistic meetings, countless media appearances, and impeccable financial and moral accountability, the Billy Graham team and ministry has seen over 210-million people attend crusades and over 2-million profess faith in Christ.
To see Cliff Barrows tonight was to see a living legend whose heart still beats for God, and whose life is a continuing example of how ministers should live before God, each other, and the world. Cliff Barrows is 86; Billy Graham, 90; George Beverly Shea is 100; we shall not see their like again. This week has been a blessing to us, and we thought we were here to minister to others.
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