This week we have learning communities in Panama City, Florida; Denver, Colorado; and in a country in Eurasia. Join us in praying a blessing upon each of the participants.
Bob Buford died last month. 78.
- CEO of Buford Television
- Founder of Leadership Network
- Author of Halftime
- Tireless champion of church leaders
- Lost his only son in a drowning accident
I met Bob over 20 years ago.
I had been invited to become mentors in a multi-denominational program to mentor church leaders.
Bob and I sat down to lunch at the same table in a church fellowship hall in the Twin Cities. Soft spoken. Unassuming. He quizzed me with questions about our church. Multi campus? Urban ministry? 130 year old turn around congregation?
Truthfully I was trying to figure out who he was, too, beyond his introduction… “I’m Bob.”
Local leader? Church custodian? Curious bystander?
“So Bob, where do you fit in this mentoring network gathering?”
“I paid for it.” Not lunch, but the $100,000’s to fund the first few years of getting launched.
No pride. Certainly no arrogance. Just fact. Humble fact. Everything is a gift from God.
About that time, Bob was introduced to the group as donor/dreamer! He gave a brief explanation….
“My business career afforded me great wealth. I’ve experienced what the world calls success. Peter Drucker has been coaching me on what to do with my wealth. My goal is to invest in helping church leaders become better leaders so they can lead better ministries and reach more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“My hope is that by the time I die I will have given away every last dollar God has entrusted to me in helping train leaders for the mission of God.”
By April 2018, Bob’s vision, and his wealth, blessed in some fashion thousands upon thousands upon thousands of leaders. I have no idea if there was any money left over last month.
A couple of simple observations:
- The focus and resolve of women and men like Bob Buford inspire me.
- That church mentoring network he seeded? It didn’t succeed. For Bob, the venture was worth the risk. The greater risk would have been to have never tried.
- The founders of PLI started something similar a few years after this one failed. They succeeded! 8 leaders pledged a tithe of their time to each other and to the dream of birthing something that could train and invest in pastors and spouses (now lay leaders, too) so that congregations could be healthier and the mission more vibrant. Thousands of PLI leaders are better leaders today because those 8 pursued the dream.
- There’s a dream in your heart. A prompting. Maybe it’s faded. Maybe it needs to come back into the light. Maybe there’s a lot to be accomplished before you die!
So, a simple word: I’m thankful for Bob Buford and his ever so brief touch in my life. And, I’m thankful to you for leading, for standing tall. For seeking to grow in clarity and competency and character so your ministry can take on its greatest challenges with courage and effectively reach new people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.