Hero or Hero Maker: Which Will You Be?

5 Essential Practices of Hero Making

Todd Wilson

5 Introductory Resources on the 5 Essential Practices of HeroMaking

Resource 1 – Watch this Overview of the 5 Essential Practices!

Dave Ferguson provides a short video overview of the 5 Essential Practices of HeroMaking.


Resource 2 – Listen to this Interview on HeroMaker!

Exponential co-founders Todd Wilson and Dave Ferguson discuss HeroMaker.


Click here to download the interview.

Resource 3 – Read the Following HeroMaker Article

Heroes are celebrated for their courageous acts, special achievements, and noble character. Down deep, we each long to live lives bigger than ourselves. We’re naturally drawn to the hero role.

When we watch movies, we rarely see ourselves in the shoes of the villain or of the supporting cast. Instead, we’re drawn to the life of the superhero, putting ourselves at the center of the main plot.

Over the years, I’ve learned that there is an even better role to aspire to than “hero.” A role that shifts my focus from addition to multiplication, and from me to others. A shift that is counter-cultural. Ultimately, a shift that makes me much more like Jesus!

Behind every hero is at least one hero maker.

Hero makers live in the shadows, often nameless, but faithfully embracing the role of supporting character. They seek to make heroes who make heroes who make heroes.

They invest in others to see the full potential of others released into others. Multiplication happens when this cycle repeats itself.

I think of Barnabas, the hero maker to Paul and others. The scales had barely fallen from Paul’s eyes before Barnabas had taken him to the apostles and vouched for him. Later, he took Paul to the Antioch church, ultimately setting him up for planting churches that would advance the cross and change the world.

Barnabas shifted from hero to becoming the mentor who creates heroes that ultimately become mentors (i.e., Paul to Timothy).

Jesus, the Ultimate Hero Maker

Of course, Jesus was the ultimate hero maker. He invested in us, through His death, so that the best of what God intended for us could be redeemed and made whole.

When Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant,” He was talking about hero making. He modeled it in how He lived. We, too, are called to be hero makers.

Hero makers have a pattern of continually investing in others to help them be all Jesus intends for them.

As my mentor and friend Bob Buford says, “My fruit grows on other people’s trees. I want to pour gasoline where God is already lighting a fire and do for others what my mentor Peter Drucker did for me. I want to be a cheerleader who gives permission, encouragement, and accountability to release the potential in others.”

Change At the core of Bob’s life is an operating philosophy characterized by the motto: “You can do it, we can help!” That’s what hero makers do. Their scorecards are measured not by what they do, but rather by how they release the potential in others.

Here’s the paradox. If we focus on being a hero, we may do some great things on this side of eternity. However, if we focus on being a hero maker, we’ll see great things happen through the people we invest in and the people they invest in and so on.

What if the “well done good and faithful servant” embrace we long to receive someday is inseparably  tied to our investment in other people?  What if our scorecards should be measured not by what we do, but rather by how we release the potential in others?

Do you have a Hero Maker Scorecard?

Five Essential Practices of HeroMakers!

So where do we start?  How about the life of Jesus!

Dave Ferguson, Exponential president and co-author of the new book Hero Maker: Five Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders (releasing February 2018), stresses that there are at least five practices that derive from the characteristics we see in the life and ministry of Jesus, the ultimate hero maker.  These practices are also present in the leadership of contemporary hero makers.

“While a hero maker will use these five practices in the life of developing an individual apprentice,” Ferguson says, “these values also continually show up as leadership values in everything hero makers do.

  • HeroMaker Practice 1: Multiplication Thinking – The first practice is a shift in thinking, as leaders move from thinking the best way to maximize ministry is through their own individual efforts to understanding that effective ministry actually happens through developing the leadership of others. 
  • HeroMaker Practice 2: Permission Giving – The second practice is a shift in seeing. Hero makers take the focus off their leadership and begin to see the leadership potential in the people around them.
  • HeroMaker Practice 3: Disciple Multiplying – The third practice is a shift in sharing. Leaders begin to share not just what they know to help others follow Jesus, but to also share their lives and invest in the development of leaders who become disciple makers and then do the same for other leaders.
  • HeroMaking Practice 4: Gift Activating – The fourth practice is a shift in blessing. Not only do leaders ask God to bless the gifts He has given them, but they also ask God to bless the leaders they have developed and sent out.
  • HeroMaking Practice 5: Kingdom Building – The fifth practice is a shift in counting. Hero makers are no longer only concerned with who’s showing up at their thing; they also count who’s doing God’s thing!

Resource 4 – Download these Additional FREE Resources

Resource 5 – Register for the HeroMaker Conference!

Looking ahead to 2018, Exponential will be focusing on this shift from being heroes to becoming hero makers. It’s vitally important to the multiplication conversation and our mission to see the percentage of churches that ever reproduce increase from less than 4 percent to greater than 10 percent.

This HeroMaker theme looks at the kind of leader it takes to dream big and lead a Level 5 multiplying church. Every true shift in a church or organization begins with a heart change in the primary leader. Marked by a sense of holy and humble tenacity, HeroMakers shift from being simply the hero of the church to helping others become the heroes and the future mentors the church will need.

At Exponential 2018 you will get 3 days of inspiration, equipping and encouragement in Hero Making. We will look hard at the “5 Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders.”  You can join thousands of other church multiplication leaders to experience 150+ speakers, 40 tracks, 200 workshops, and 12+ pre-conference equipping labs.   We’ve made four of the pre-conference equipping labs FREE.  Those include the Marriage and Family Lab, the Church Planting Lab, the Multiplication Lab, and the Special Gathering of Network Leaders.  You can also use code VIP2018 to get $59 off your registration!  Click here to register!

Check out this invitation from Ed Stetzer: