Cliff Barrows and the Modesto Manifesto: The Secret to Evangelistic Longevity
Dan Wooding : Mar 1, 2009
Integrity, accountability, purity and humility
(Santa Ana, California)—The following is an excerpt from a lengthy ASSIST News interview with Cliff Barrows, who led singing and choirs around the world as Music and Program Director for the Billy Graham Team.
Asked about the secret of Billy Graham's longevity, Barrows told interviewer Dan Wooding: "The secret is the hand of God and God's choosing to bless Billy Graham and then men whose hearts were knit together with His for the calling of evangelism."
Continued Barrows: "In 1948, Billy Graham said to Grady Wilson and to Bev Shea and myself and my wife Billie at the time, 'Let's look at the pitfalls of evangelism.' It was in my hometown of Modesto, California, that we talked about them together and we prayed that the Lord would keep us from them. Well the next day, in our devotions, we shared our lists and there were four areas that were on all of our lists. One was integrity; honesty in dealing with the media; the second was accountability—being accountable to one another and to the local committees and also to our wives. We said that we had to be accountable, most of all, to the Lord; to the life He'd given us, to the call that He'd given us, being faithful to fulfill the mandate of the evangelist. The third was in the area of purity of life. We determined that we would never be alone with a woman other than our wife. If it could possibly help it, we'd never be alone with a secretary and it was determined that we would not ride in a car with a woman alone, or in a hotel room. We determined those things and we've kept that vow.
"The fourth area was humility; being willing to humble yourself; and prefer others and lift others up instead of yourself; and seeking to be sure that God got all the glory. And that's been uppermost desire of Bill's heart all these years, Dan. Those were the four areas: integrity, accountability, purity and humility. And because we were in Modesto, I said, 'Let's call it the Modesto Manifesto. And it's been that all these years. And because of these passions to walk humbly before God and to be faithful in proclaiming His Word and to ask God to lay a burden on our heart for the lost Billy said, 'I'll go anywhere, any time, any place, as long as God gives me strength to preach the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invite people to come to the Savior.
"That's the secret and we've been together 60 years; that's Bev Shea, Billy Graham and myself. There've been other people of course God has brought along, and the team to help carry on the work to help develop the crusades and plan and prepare them. But the hearts of the three of us that began together were united and I believe that as the ministry will continue if they'll still keep these same passions and this same goal of honoring the Lord and living a life of pure purity before Him and accountability with integrity and being humble in spirit and preaching the Word. Then, if they do that, God is going to continue to bless BGEA and any ministry that has carried on in His name."