For Autumn Miles, social media is home. In this episode of the podcast, Nils and Nick are joined by Autumn Miles in a conversation about how social media can be used as an avenue to reach people for Christ and meet the needs of those who need Him most.
Share your thoughts using the hashtag #SMCPodcast.
Church boards have been much in the news of late. For example, we see more churches with external boards these days, especially prominent churches – why is that? What are the pros and cons to external vs internal board? What are the board’s limitations and legal responsibilities about setting executive compensation, especially for the senior pastor, and about senior pastor succession? What’s the board’s role, if any, when there’s a potential conflict of interest – such as pastors writing books, using the church as a platform to promote the book, and keeping the royalties? Same with churches where the pastor wants to own personal title to the church property or other assets that donors have funded?
This wide-ranging interview gives practical insight to ways your church board can be more effective, both suggestions for moving forward and “no no’s” to avoid.
Being in this world, but not of it – this is what well known Hollywood actor Stephen Baldwin is driven towards. Listen to Nils Smith and Nick Runyon as they talk with Stephen about how he presses forward in his 10-year ministry, charity and other Christ-centered initiatives with boldness.
Share your thoughts using the hashtag #SMCPodcast.
In this episode of the podcast, Nils and Nick are joined by Nona Jones of Facebook’s faith-based projects and Bishop Joseph Walker of Mt. Zion Church in Nashville. Listen as they talk about an exciting project they are launching in making technology and faith communities work together towards building the Kingdom.
Share your thoughts using the hashtag #SMCPodcast.
The recently-concluded F8 Conference has given us a look into Facebook’s incredible innovation, improvement and features to look forward to. In this podcast, Nils Smith and Nick Runyon, together with guests Justin Dean, Holly Tate, Kenny Jahng and more talk about the future of Facebook for ministries and churches amidst these changes.
Share your thoughts using the hashtag #SMCPodcast.
In Lead Like A Shepherd, The Secret of Leading Well, pastor, author and leadership consultant, Larry Osborne unpacks instruction for church leaders found in 1 Peter where they are exhorted to “shepherd the flock among them.”
I recently did an interview with Larry to learn more about the differences between cowboy and shepherd leadership and why he wrote the book. Check out that conversation in the video below.
Lead Like a Shepherd Larry Osborne Interview - YouTube
In addition, you can get a feel for the book from the following excerpt:
A good shepherd needs to be patient. That’s not easy. I know that from my own struggles with patience. Early on I wanted everyone in my church to be instantly mature. I loved the lost. I adored baby Christians who still swore in their prayers. I prized those who quickly raced to the front of the line. But I had no tolerance for those who lingered at the back, particularly those who kept getting out of line and wandering off into the wilderness. For some reason, I didn’t think they deserved the same kind of pursuit or forbearance that the Lord gave me. I wanted to take the stragglers behind the woodshed. I wanted to let those who kept wandering off get what they deserved—to be eaten by wolves. I thought my impatience was Spirit-led. I thought I was helping God out by refusing to accept their lame excuses. I saw no reason to slow down and stop and chase after those who wandered off the path. Constantly searching for quiet waters or damming up the stream to make it easier for them to drink seemed like a compromising accommodation to their sin and feeble faith. I was wrong and foolish, especially in light of Jesus’ warning that he will give to me the same kind of mercy and judgment I give to others.
Get your copy today and learn to lead like a shepherd in your church or ministry.
Larry Osborne is a senior and teaching pastor at North Coast Church, acclaimed as one of the most influential and innovative churches in America. Under his leadership the church has grown from 128 to over 12,000 on a weekend.
Built around sermon-based small groups, North Coast has maintained a participation rate of over 80 percent of its weekend attendance in small groups for over 30 years. Its growth has come by word of mouth as they do not advertise or hold any special outreach events. Also recognized as pioneers in the multi-site movement, North Coast now offers 49 worship options on five local sites each weekend plus numerous national and international venues.
Larry writes and speaks extensively on the subjects of leadership, building healthy teams, innovation, multi-site ministry and spiritual formation. His books include: Thriving In Babylon, Accidental Pharisees, A Contrarian’s Guide To Knowing God, 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe, Sticky Teams, Sticky Church, Sticky Leaders, Mission Creep, and The Unity Factor.
Last week we shared the news that Bob Buford had died and now is safe in the arms of Jesus. That content and the accompanying blog article were written by Dr. Warren Bird, our highly competent research director.
In case you missed it, or haven’t seen some of the updates, please see the post on our blog here:
Allow me to share my own heart on Bob and his impact:
Bob believed in investing in Leaders.
Bob was a believer in Jesus, trusting him as a child, without hesitation for salvation. But Bob’s heart was a big belief in the power of leaders to activate others. His heart for leaders included his investment in pastors, business leaders in the Halftime transition, and other social sector leaders. He just felt leaders matter. They help shape culture, organizations and RESULTS that come from the work of their hands and mind. As such Bob invested himself, his time, his energy and his financial resources into gathering and helping leaders.
I think his favorite saying was: “My fruit grows on other people’s trees.”
Bob was proud of your work.
Bob enjoyed great satisfaction in past years in going to experiences we hosted with pastors and churches. He loved to hear their stories and what was going on back “on the ground” in communities. When we shifted our model in the early part of the century, Bob made it a point to get out of the office and go see what was happening in our programs and on the ground in churches. When I could not go with him, he would call and give me a report on what he saw in the churches that was working.
In his later years, when he refrained from traveling too much, he would come to those experiences held near our offices. He wanted to hear the report times when churches were reporting on their work. Many times, he would pull up a chair and patiently listen to each report.
Often our director or facilitator would ask him: “Bob is there anything you want to say?”
Bob’s universal answer would be short: “Yay God!”
Walking out the door he would say to me: “Isn’t it great what those folks are doing?”
It sure was. It still is.
Bob was proud of the work God is doing through you.
The Book of Days.
Psalm 90:12 says “Teach us to number our days so we may get a heart to wisdom.”
Bob kept a series of notebooks he called his “Book of Days.” He was a lifelong learner and spent much time writing down things he was learning.
When he got a meaningful note, letter or even email from a participant in one of our programs, in a Halftime program, or some other involvement, he would have it cut, sized and placed into those books.
In recent days, even as letters kept coming to him, he would still peruse those books to stay encouraged.
Based on my email since the announcement, many readers sent me their own stories of Bob’s impact in their life.
If you have a story of that impact, would you do me the great favor of sending a copy to:
Book of Days
c/o Leadership Network
12700 Park Central Dr, STE 500
Dallas, TX 75251
We will share all these with Linda Buford, his wife and partner in this work for so long.
Last week, B.J. Engle, Bob’s assistant, sent me this:
Bob Buford’s Six Priorities
In 1978, at age 34, Bob wrote these words to Linda and Ross. All these years it has stayed unopened in a file labeled “What If.” This week, Linda opened the files, and this is part of what she read:
“In overall life satisfaction, I consider myself in the very upper tier. I am ready to go on living and looking forward to many exciting things, but I also feel that I have had a more than adequate life if it were to end today. Remember that I have just gone on to the next phase–like graduating from college. It has been fun, but what is ahead will be even better.
“If I die, my wish for you is to mourn, grieve, experience the loss fully—not repressing it—so you can be done with it. Recall the absolute confidence I have that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And think how happy I will be, face to face with Christ, and to know everything not through glasses darkly.
“Remember that I have succeeded in my six life goals:
My relationship with God
My relationship with you, Linda
My role as a father with you, Ross—as a son and as a fine person
My role as president of a company, its success and the money
The things I have done, which have given me much more actualization, achievement and pleasure
My cultural and intellectual progress.”
Bob finished his race. May we all press on in ours.
Bob Buford was buried in a graveside service in Tyler, Texas.
A public service will be held June 13 at 1:30 pm Central at Watermark Church in Dallas.
Bob Buford, age 78, died April 18, 2018 after a lengthy illness near his home in Dallas, Texas.
Through philanthropy and personal engagement, Buford significantly contributed to three of American Christianity’s major landscape shifts over recent decades. First was the rise and proliferation of large-attendance Protestant churches led by innovative, entrepreneurial leaders. Second was the empowerment of Christian lay leaders making a second-career shift from “success to significance” through a “halftime” transition—terms that trace their popularity to Buford’s writings. Third was the formation of the Drucker Institute, a network of organizations designed to further the teachings of management expert Peter Drucker. Drucker not only extensively mentored Buford, but through introductions by Buford, also mentored several high-visibility pastors like Saddleback Church founder Rick Warren.
These three major emphases weave together under the umbrella of Buford’s later-life mission: to transform the latent energy of American Christianity into active energy.
Buford, born September 16, 1939, in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, achieved considerable financial success as CEO of Buford Television, Inc., a business started by his mother. It had begun with a single ABC affiliate in Tyler, Texas. It grew it into a network of cable systems across the country. In 1999 Buford helped sell the family business interest in order to create philanthropic initiatives designed to serve churches. He often joked that he hoped the last check he wrote just before he died would bounce—because he had given away the last of his millions.
At age 42 Buford began a parallel career of television and of creating a new pathway for the second half of his life. “I had resolved that if I was blessed by skill, Providence, and rising markets, I would someday turn my illiquid interests in Buford Television, Inc. into cash in order to follow my calling to serve God by serving others,” he told me in recent years.
In 1984 Buford—at age 45—and Fred Smith, Jr. started Leadership Network, along with Gayle Carpenter, as a way of trying to help the newly emerging wave of pastors who were breaking worship attendance barriers of 1,000 and sometimes 2,000 or more. During his business years, Buford had spent countless hours talking with and seeking guidance from Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, and he now tapped into Drucker’s guidance for how best to frame Leadership Network. He later remarked that Leadership Network would not be the same—in fact, might not exist at all—were it not for Peter Drucker. (Buford later developed that 23-year mentoring relationship into a book, Drucker and Me.)
Leadership Network started in 1984 with a budget of $5,000, and held its first forum with 55 churches that had attendance of 800 and higher. By 2017 the organization was annually serving more than 400 larger churches through in-person events which included more than 1,500 leaders. Online conferences reached upwards of 25,000, and Leadership Network Advance subscriptions exceeded 50,000.
“Bob continued to serve God through Leadership Network as a board member, influencer, encourager to countless pastors and a dear personal friend to me” says Dave Travis, CEO of Leadership Network since 2011.
“Bob Buford was a mega-force behind the megachurch movement,” said Robert Lewis, former chair of the Leadership Network board and himself a large-church pastor. “Bob’s unique life influenced thousands and transformed American Christianity by inspiring God-glorifying innovation and real-world results.”
The Halftime Institute
In 1995, Buford wrote Halftime, a best-selling book that came out of his mind and heart on how to find fulfillment in the second half of life. The amazing response to the book led to a follow-up title in 1997, Game Plan, which presented more about the endeavors in which Bob Buford was involved as a result of his own “halftime” experience. The attention led to the founding in 1998 of a sister organization to Leadership Network known today as the Halftime Institute.
As the Halftime Institute grew by teaching, coaching and connecting marketplace leaders to discover God’s calling on their lives, Buford continued to write. A third book, Stuck in Halftime: Reinvesting Your One and Only Life, came out in 2001. An updated Halftime was released in late 2008, along with Beyond Halftime, a collection of Buford’s musings on the things that matter most in moving from gaining success to leaving a legacy. Next in 2014 was Finishing Well: What People Who Really Live Do Differently! a compilation of over 60 inspiring interviews threaded with Buford’s own experiences.
The Halftime Institute continues to serve high-capacity leaders from all over the world through its unique Fellows Program and Halftime One on One Coaching program. Bob’s vision of activating latent Christian energy in individual leaders was made manifest through the work of the Halftime Institute. Bob often said, “The Halftime Institute is the leading authority on creating a second half of life defined by joy, impact, and balance.”
“Bob was a mentor and close friend,” says Dean Niewolny, CEO of the Halftime Institute since 2010. “He treated me like his own son. Words cannot express what an honor it was to work with him to establish an organization that will serve leaders from all over the world for many years to come. He truly finished well.”
In 1988, Dick Schubert, Frances Hesselbein and Bob Buford convinced Peter Drucker to lend his name, his great mind, and occasionally his presence to establish an operating foundation for the purpose of leading social sector organizations toward excellence in performance. Bob served as the Founding Chairman of the Board of Governors. Through its conferences, publications and partnerships, The Drucker Foundation, which is now titled The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum at the University of Pittsburgh, is helping social sector organizations focus on their mission, achieve true accountability, leverage innovation, and develop productive partnerships.
Leadership Network has provided a forum over the years for sharing Drucker’s wisdom with churches. As Drucker said, “The purpose of management for churches is not to make them more business-like, but to make them more church-like.” In the 20 years Drucker consulted with Leadership Network, the number of megachurches (over 2,000 attending) grew tenfold.
Buford’s final and most recent book, Drucker & Me, published in 2014, is his personal story of that friendship and the lessons learned, including ways it impacted church leadership like Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit. In 2015 there were more than 250,000 paid registrations for the Global Leadership Summit. Willow Creek credits this to Bob Buford getting Peter Drucker into the lives of church leaders and encouraging them take leadership and management seriously.
Education and Family
Buford is a graduate of The University of Texas and the Owner Management Program at Harvard Business School. He played active roles in Young Presidents’ Organization and World Presidents’ Organization. He is the recipient of numerous leadership and ethics awards.
Buford suffered many personal losses in life. His father died when Buford was in fifth grade. His mother was lost in a fire. He and his wife, Linda, lost their only child, a son named Ross, who was tragically drowned at age 24.
“Bob Buford has been many things to many people,” reflects Bob Roberts, founding pastor of NorthWood Church in metro Dallas, “but to me, he was a spiritual father that I will deeply miss. Several decades ago, Bob lost his own son, but in an unusual turn of events he became a spiritual father to me and to many of us.”
Buford is survived by Linda Buford, his wife of 56 years. He also has a brother, Jeff Buford of Tyler, Texas, who has two children, Christopher and Lauren. Another brother, Jerry Buford, pre-deceased Bob Buford.
Buford influenced the culture of the organizations he founded until his dying day. His favorite question, “What can we do to be more useful to you?” remains an oft-asked question and one reason why after over 30 years Leadership Network is still growing, helping pastors and their executive teams foster innovation movements that activate the overall church to great impact for the glory of God’s name. “Bob Buford loved Jesus, loved his family and loved the world. He will be missed but his legacy will last forever,” reflected Gayle Carpenter, a co-founder who remains Leadership Network’s longest-term staff member.
“Beyond his intellectual gifts, Bob gave the pastors we serve at Leadership Network a profound sense of blessing from an outsider who was always cheering them on to great things” added Dave Travis. He recalled: “Even when pastors would come up to thank him in his final years, he would quietly just point upwards and whisper ‘Yay God.’”
Many leaders well-known in evangelical circles point to Bob Buford’s influence on their ministries. One example is popular author and management expert Ken Blanchard. “Bob made my faith come alive. Without his influence I might never have become a loving follower of Jesus, and the organization Lead Like Jesus would not be having the impact it is having around the world,” he says.
“Bob was always about changed lives, whether they occurred through churches or halftimers,” says Tom Luce, longtime family friend and Buford Foundation board member. “Bob always acknowledged that his two partners in this endeavor were his wife Linda and Peter Drucker.”
“Some invest in fame and fortune. Bob Buford invested in the lives of leaders,” says Leith Anderson, one of the many pastors Buford helped through connections and resources. Anderson pastored a Minneapolis church that grew from the hundreds to thousands, and he has also served as president of the National Association of Evangelicals. “New ideas, new relationships, new opportunities–Bob Buford opened the way for me and many.”