The Great Leadership Do-Over

I recently read a fascinating article in Christianity Today in which Billy Graham was asked, “If you could, would you go back and do anything differently?” It’s the classic do-over question.

His response is flavored with rich wisdom, “Yes, of course. I’d spend more time at home with my family, and I’d study more and preach less. I wouldn’t have taken so many speaking engagements, including some of the things I did over the years that I probably didn’t really need to do-weddings and funerals and building dedications, things like that. Whenever I counsel someone who feels called to be an evangelist, I always urge them to guard their time and not feel like they have to do everything.

I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often, they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.”

I love Graham’s response. “Guard your time. Don’t feel like you have to do everything.”

A few years ago, one of the guys I mentored asked me if I had it all to do over again in my writing career, what I would do differently. I said, “Rather than invest all my energy in writing for religious publications, I would have focused my attention on writing for secular publications and spreading the Good News that way.”

What’s amazing is that the guy took my do-over to heart. Today, he’s published in everything from the Washington Post to the Huffington Post to, and I couldn’t be more proud.

May we learn from each other’s do-overs. And for those of us in ministry, may we all learn from Billy Graham’s.

What would your great do-over in life, ministry, or leadership be?

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Margaret Feinberg ( is author of some great reads like Scouting the Divine and The Sacred Echo. She loves Coldplay but can’t wait for the skinny jean trend to pass. She asked her social media friends what marks a hipster pastor and their most brilliant responses are found above. You can follow her snark, wit, and wisdom at and help her figure out what to do on Pinterest at