Buhler Close To The Heart
“This Buhler is close to my heart,” began Drew. “You’re a farm boy, isn’t that right Leonard?”
“That’s right. We grew potatoes for McCain foods.”
“Have you ever been in a McCain’s commercial? No? That’s sad, you’re very photogenic.” It was the beginning of an interview filled with gushing compliments from Drew. Well-deserved? We think so.
The Drew Marshall Show is Canada’s most listened to spiritual talk show. Most of Drew’s audience would be familiar with the name Campus Crusade for Christ, but the seven year-old name Power to Change is foreign to most.
“What happened with the name change?”
“I didn’t really like the name,” replied Leonard – and he wasn’t alone. “One time on the plane, someone asked me who I worked for. I showed him my business card and he was immediately put off. It wasn’t working so we began the search for a new name.”
The Power to Change rebrand, among other initiatives, are a result of the reality that traditional methods of evangelism are relatively ineffective in Canada.
One example of modernization at Power to Change is their fastest growing ministry, TruthMedia, who connects with people online.
Drew had done some homework. “Your website. It reeks of being in touch with the culture. Most ministry websites look like an eighty year-old librarian put them together.”
“We call it a CCRG website,” continued Leonard. “Connecting current realities to God. We’ve often debated, should our website be about us or people? I’ve fought for it to be about the people. Over the last 18 months, we’ve switched to video based ministry – about 2000 videos. Short messages, with text, that engages people.”
Another successful CCRG initiative was formed in a partnership between Leonard and Erwin McManus: author, lecturer and pastor at Mosaic Church in LA.
“We became friends five or six years ago. I liked his book Crave. I said to him, ‘I’ll take 60,000 to start with.’ We used them on the university campuses and they were very effective. It gave us a different angle of approach to start talking about God. Previous messages started at the wrong place. The idea of the book and the reference to ‘cravings’ is that seven billion people all have the same meaning.”
It was in line with Drew’s agenda-less personal policy. “It’s a smart move, when you’re starting a conversation, to not come at it by agenda. People are already trying to sniff out agenda. But if you can just keep it focused on our needs as people…”
“Right. It puts us as equals.” You would think they were reading a script, these two.
“You have the ability to see big picture and details as well. With those gifts, how do you see the big picture of the Christian world?” asked Drew. As per usual, he dug for some dirt: “I’m sure there are a few things that frustrate you?”
“Of course. As you look across the evangelical world in Canada, there is a lot more grey hair than young hair and you wonder, why is that? Most Christians struggle with how to even talk about God.” Leonard’s frustrations could be boiled down to a lack of evangelism – a hoarding of hope. But instead of lamenting, he’s busy doing something about it. “What’s frustrating is that so many Christians want to talk about God in a meaningful way. One of the goals I have is to help people along that journey.”
Leonard discussed the amazing relationship he had with his father – a man who always put God first. It was clear to Drew, as well as listeners, that to Mr. Buhler Sr., caring about God meant caring for people.
“I get the distinct impression that you guys put others before yourselves.”
Leonard grouped all Christians into the compliment intended for him. “When we understand what Jesus has done for us and the freedom we have in him, the best way to respond is to care about others.”
Things eventually turned to current events. “There is a little project that’s happening. 35 Day Challenge? Help us wrap our heads around that.”
“Sure. Over 35 days we’ll train you to change the lives of three people, offering them redemption and hope. It will give you a whole new scope of life. Every day you’ll get an email with an action point. For example, the first week will teach you to cultivate a redemptive vision. We have people around us every day – they are hurting and struggling, but do we actually care enough to care about them?
“Leonard, I don’t care.” He played the devil’s advocate to represent a portion of his more cynical listeners, and perhaps even himself.
“We’re going to try to help you care.”
“But what is going to make me sign up?”
“I think deep down inside, most people do care, but no one is actually challenging them, setting the bar high enough. Intuitively, people want to make a difference.”
It was enough for Drew. “I like Leonard Buhler because he’s a meat and potatoes kind of guy.” Thankfully, the compliment was expanded. “He’s down-to-earth; you can hear it in his voice. The guy actually cares. It’s about God, and what does that mean? If it’s about God then it’s about people.”
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