In 1948, 31-year-old Billy Graham met in a motel in Modesto, California. Graham was still a Youth for Christ evangelist, and was preparing to begin his ministry as an independent evangelist.
Graham’s team discussed the pitfalls faced by revivalists. They identified four issues: sex, money, exaggeration, and criticism.
They created the “Modesto Manifesto,” although no document exists:
- to maintain financial integrity by deemphasizing money, and conducting financial audits;
- to maintain sexual integrity by never traveling or dining alone with a woman outside their families;
- to guard against ego by relying on outside confirmation of attendance at their meetings;
- to guard against a critical spirit by refusing to publicly criticize local clergy.
This list is still good. It may be worth adapting it for ourselves and our times. Here are a few ideas.
- Financial — What steps can we put in place to guard against financial compromise, greed, and jealousy?
- Sexual — What are my greatest sexual temptations? Who knows about them?
- Ego — How can I avoid the temptations of pride and abuse of power in ministry?
- Criticism — How can I champion other gospel ministries, rather than criticize them?
We could all use our own version of the Modesto Manifesto.