He is known to most as ” Pastor Buford”. Buford is a nationally recognized pastor and leader, but prefers to view himself more simply as a spiritual father. He has spiritual sons and daughters across the globe. Serving in ministry since 1972, born in Cartersville, Ga. Buford grew up in a non Christian home but following a radical salvation encounter with Christ in 1972, and filled with the Holy Spirit he began a lifelong call and quest to share Christ with others as he had found Him that day in his own personal encounter. He has now shared that story around the world. A southern Baptist in the beginning years, his experience and theology was not in sync. Appreciating his early fundamental training with the Baptist he moved into the Charismatic renewal movement. Where he became an associate pastor in his home town of Cartersville, Ga. Leaving a successful management career behind in Atlanta in 1979 Pastor Buford and Ann packed up and moved to Pensacola, Fl. to pursue Bible College training at Liberty Bible College. Their plans were to fast track through Bible College and return to the Atlanta area to plant and pastor churches. But God had a different set of plans and 32 years later, they never went back, Pensacola became their home.
After Bible College Pastor Buford moved to Fairhope, Alabama where he planted and pastored Liberty Church Fairhope for 10 years. In 1992 following some very difficult years here at the church in Pensacola and the subsequent closing of Liberty Bible College. The Lord led Buford and Ann to return to Pensacola to become senior pastor of Liberty Church and to lead the church through a rebuilding and reinvisioning season. Though not occurring quickly Liberty Church grew and God began to bless and use Liberty Church around the world as He had before. In 1998 during the Brownsville Revival the 70 acre site of Liberty Church was sold to Brownsville for use with their school. And in 2001 Liberty Church moved into their new facilities on South Blue Angel Parkway, debt free. The Church began to go through a season of rapid growth following the move. And in 2003 the Lord began to lead Pastor Buford toward the vision of making Liberty a multi site church instead of building yet another larger facility. The call of the Lord was for him to plant a new campus of Liberty each year for 5 consecutive years. And obeying God the Liberty North Campus was launched in 2006. In 2007 the Fairhope – Eastern Shore Campus was launched. 2008 saw the launch of the Navarre/Gulf Breeze Liberty Campus. 2009 it was the Foley, Gulf Shores Campus and then in 2010 the last of the 5 campuses was launched in West Mobile. And Liberty Church has grown from one location to 6 and from a few hundred attending to a few thousand across the campus each week.
In 1995 Pastor Buford founded Liberty Network under Church Foundational Network and his Spiritual father, Ken Sumrall. Pastor Buford through Liberty Network provides ministerial credentialing , oversight and Leadership to ministers and churches across the nation and in other nations. It is through the Liberty Network family that he reaches the world through the various ordained or licensed member ministers of Liberty Network. More than 100 ministers, pastors, worship leaders, missionaries, staff pastors and churches make up Liberty Network around the world.
With 6 campuses comprising Liberty Church and each one making an impact upon their communities and upon other nations. And Liberty Network of ministers and churches growing and thriving. In 2010 Bro. Ken Sumrall founder and apostolic director of Church Foundational Network stepped aside along with L.A. Joiner appointing Pastor Buford as the new director of Church Foundational Network. CFN is the spiritual covering of Liberty Church and Liberty Network as well as several other Ministry family groups or networks. Working with the CFN council pastor Buford provides vision and direction for all of the CFN ministers and churches related to CFN.
This past year pastor Buford assumed the role of senior pastor of the 6 campus Liberty Church. No longer serving as both the campus pastor of the Blue Angel Campus and senior pastor. This has afforded him to focus on the leadership and vision of all the campuses as well as ministers and churches related to him through Liberty Network and CFN. Pastor Buford has been committed to advancing God’s Kingdom around the world his entire ministry. And now with his broader role he feels he is now able to do that more than ever before. He and Ann travel internationally each year. But now will be travelling even more and plan to spend one month the year ministering, leading teams and visiting the many international ministries and missionaries related to Liberty and CFN. In 2013 Pastor Buford will be in the Philippines and South India on one trip.
Pastor Buford is an apostolic visionary. And reports that though he is now 60, he feels that his greatest years of ministry are ahead. “God has taught me so much” says pastor Buford, “some of it in classrooms, some on my knees or in failures or disappointments. But I want to leverage what I have learned and experienced to train others and perhaps help them avoid mistakes that I made. God really does turn all things around for good”.
Pastor Buford and Mrs. Ann have 5 children and soon to be 10 grandchildren. All 5 of their children are involved in ministry. And all but one is a part of one of the Liberty Campuses. Erin is married to Billy Reese and they live in Jacksonville and work at a Christian school and he is a youth pastor.