Bob Buford: A Peter Drucker Disciple

By Brannon S. Howse

The Leadership Network is a major church consultation organization that specializes in helping churches apply growth strategies. Businessman Bob Buford founded the organization after being greatly influenced by Peter Drucker. In his book, Halftime, in fact, Buford claims that “Drucker is the man who formed my mind.” And in the November 14, 2005, Leadership Network-Advance, Buford describes Drucker’s impact on Leadership Network this way: “Peter Drucker is the ‘intellectual father’ of most all that guides my approach to philanthropy. I’ve long since ceased trying to determine what thoughts are mine and which come from Peter.” 


So how does Leadership Network teach pastors to grow their churches? Do Buford and his staff of consultants pull guidance from the Bible and show, for example, the New Testament characteristics of a church, including preaching, praying, and picking godly men full of wisdom and empowered by the Holy Spirit? Does Buford tell his pastor clients that they need to follow Ephesians 4:12, which describes the job of a pastor as being “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”? 


The answers are no, no, and no. In fact, the Leadership Network website once declared that these ideas are not what they tell their pastor/church clients because theology is not their focus for growing a church:


The mission of the Leadership Network is to accelerate the emergence of the 21st century church. This new paradigm is not centered in theology, but rather it is focused on structure, organization, and the transition from an institutionally-based church to a mission-driven church.


If Buford’s company and its clients are not basing their paradigm or worldview on biblical theology, then what is their worldview centered on? Given that Buford is a disciple of Drucker, it’s a good guess that the focus is on social justice, the social gospel, and felt needs. If your philosophy for growing a church is not based on theology, then it should not be used in a Bible-based, New Testament church. 


Author Chris Rosebrough reveals that Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, and Bob Buford were all greatly influenced by Peter Drucker. Rosebrough, in fact, suggests a special designation for this trio of Drucker devotees: 


Rick Warren, Bob Buford and Bill Hybels are the Druckerite “trinity.” All three of these men were personally mentored by the late business guru Peter Drucker and these three men more than any others are responsible for innovating the church by purposely changing congregations from a pastoral leadership model to a CEO / Innovative Change Agent leadership model. All of these innovations were strategically crafted under the careful eye of Peter Drucker. And all of these innovations were incubated, introduced and injected into the church through the coordinated efforts of Drucker’s disciples through their different but intimately connected organizations; Leadership Network, the Purpose Driven Network and the Willow Creek Association.


What many people don’t realize is that the Emerging Church is a product created by and promoted by the Druckerites.


…without the Druckerites there may have never been an “emerging church.” The Druckerites formed, bankrolled and promoted the Emerging Church much the same way a music marketing company might form and promote a boy band like the Backstreet Boys or N Sync.

Take a look at who endorsed Dan Kimball’s 2003 book The Emerging Church. In that list you will see both Druckerites as well as out right Emergent Heretics all singing the praises of Kimball’s book. In fact, Rick Warren AND Emergent Apostate Brian McLaren both wrote the foreword to the book.


Why would a supposedly conservative evangelical pastor like Rick Warren want to lend his credibility to the Emergent Church and have his name be directly associated with men like Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt and Brian McLaren? Rick Warren is a Druckerite and the Emerging Church is a product developed by the Druckerites. Rick Warren is in fact one of the Fathers of the Emerging Church. That’s why he lent his name and credibility to the product…


Rick Warren lent his credibility and endorsement to the Emerging Church movement without even so much as a hint that he had any concerns about the troubling doctrine and theology of its leaders. Bill Hybels has invited Emergent Leaders like McLaren to speak at Willow Creek Conferences and Youth Leader Conferences and Bob Buford’s Leadership Network has been promoting and selling McLaren’s books for years on the Leadership Network website…


It’s time for Rick Warren, Bob Buford and Bill Hybels to do the right thing and admit they’ve endangered the body of Christ by releasing a doctrinally defective and theologically dangerous product. For the sake of the body of Christ they MUST issue a safety recall for their entire “Emerging Church” product line.


To see more about what’s behind this sort of thinking: the Leader to Leader website, originally established in 1990 as the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for non-profit management, declares: 


The Leader to Leader Institute will chart the future path for the social sector as the equal partner of business and government in developing responsible leaders, caring citizens, and a healthy, inclusive society.


What is that all about? I am not interested in my church being an equal partner with the government, and neither should you. 


The government would like to become an “equal partner” by using hate crime laws to tell us what we can and cannot say from the pulpit. The government would like to tell churches that they cannot deny employment to homosexuals or transgender individuals. Merging the social sector—which means churches with the government—is what Hitler did when he picked the Reich Bishop. And how did that work out? Hitler’s fascism was based on coercing and at times outright forcing the churches and corporations of Germany to exist for the advancement of the Nazi state. 

Copyright 2012 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative. Banner