Billy Graham once said, “I look forward to death with great anticipation” and “My home is in heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.” Today we say goodbye to the great evangelist who is now home.
Some amazing facts about Billy Graham:
- He was one of the ten most admired men in the world, appearing on the list more than anyone.
- He preached to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history.
- He was known as a spiritual adviser to presidents since Harry Truman
- He was frequently called the Protestant Pope.
- He has awards ranging from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award to the Congressional Gold Medal.
- He was bestowed with the Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
- He was truly one of the giants of the last century.
Despite all of the accolades, he was puzzled by his own success, often saying “that the first thing I am going to do when I get to Heaven is to ask, “Why me, Lord?”
In his own words:
On March 13, 2013, 115 cardinals cast votes inside the Vatican to elect the next pope of the Roman Catholic Church. At 19:06 local time, white smoke could be seen drifting upwards following the election. The new pope, who would take the name Pope Francis, emerged from the conclave as the new leader of a global organization facing a number of serious issues.
Stepping onto the world stage, this new pope would inspire everyone with his humility and his concern for the poor. And, in so doing, he demonstrated a new model for leadership.
Jeffrey Krames has written a new book about the pontiff, Lead with Humility: 12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis. He offers a practical guide for how any leader can take the same principles to become an authentic and humble leader. I asked Jeff a few questions about his research.
What is it about Pope Francis that has made him so incredibly popular?
He is absolutely the real thing. I call him “The Authentic Leader.” How rare is that today? No political leaders seem to do anything for the betterment of anyone but themselves, and only after polling the issue. That is the opposite of Pope Francis, who is the most compassionate pope I have experienced in my lifetime. It is why I have dubbed him the “anti-Hitler.”
Advocate for the Least of These
What attracted and inspired you, as a Jewish author, to research and write a book about the new Catholic pope?
The answer above answers this question in part. Growing up in a “Holocaust household” is a very difficult thing to do. There are ghosts of all the people who have perished (and now my kids must grow up as third generation survivor). So I see Francis as the first person in my lifetime amazing enough to earn the moniker of the anti-Hitler. He is the 21st century’s answer to the 20th century’s most malevolent mass-murderer. Hitler hated and attempted to eradicate what he felt was society’s worst. Francis works every day to lift up the people who have the least—the ones who have been relegated to “society’s dustbin.”
12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis
- Lead with Humility.
- Smell Like Your Flock.
- Who Am I to Judge?
- Don’t Change-Reinvent.
- Make Inclusivity a Top Priority
- Avoid Insularity.
- Choose Pragmatism over Ideology.
- The Optics of Decision-Making.
- Run Your Organization Like a Field Hospital.
- Live on the Frontier.
- Overcoming vs. Sidestepping Adversity.
- Pay Attention to Non-Customers.
Pope Francis continues to gain popularity and press every month. How will Pope Francis influence leaders in other organizations?
Some people are defined by “yes”. They live to fulfill their “yes”. They dream, plan and act all according to their “yes.” Everything they do revolves around the “yes” of their own lives.
Their opposites are “no” people. These are people who don’t live for their “yes.” Instead, they just try to avoid their own “no.” They never discover their own potential.
My friend Mike Glenn recently wrote a book called The Gospel of Yes. I asked him about the title of this book. He grew up in a way and in a church that defined life with “no.” (As in no drinking, no smoking, no this and no that.)
But, he later realized that life’s power is in the “yes”:
It’s not what we are against, but what we are for.
It’s not what you’re bad at, but what you’re good at.
It’s not about your limitations, but about your gifts.