Sam Stephens joins Exponential President Dave Ferguson for the next installment in this series focusing on the five essential practices for shifting from hero to hero maker. Sam is a third-generation leader of India Gospel League, which has birthed a church-planting movement that includes upwards of 90,000 churches throughout South Asia.
Learn more about the difference between heroes and hero makers in this podcast with Todd Wilson.
In this interview, Sam shares how the shift to the first hero-making practice, Multiplication Thinking, has expanded his influence, transformed how he approaches ministry, and has literally changed thousands of lives.
“When I became the leader, I wasn’t dreaming big. My first thoughts were about sustaining an organization. The Lord helped me make the shift from organization sustaining and empire building to multiplying His Kingdom and releasing it into His hands. That shift in thinking removed the barriers and boundaries and wiped out the fear of failure. It gave me great confidence that God was doing His work through me and great courage to take risks.”
Sam also shares what could be called a “movement-making checklist” for leaders, offering specific practices he and his leaders have learned and honed over the years, as well as transferable principles the Church in the West would do well to learn from and implement, including, “be prepared for God’s surprises” and “get the right perspective on your call to ministry and live in constant awareness of it.”
“This is a challenge I face every day,” Sam says. “Our call to ministry is not about what we can accomplish. It’s all about what God desires to accomplish through faithful and willing human vessels. It sounds simple, but there’s a world of difference. The first one is self-centered versus God-centered; striving for success versus surrendering to remain faithful. God has chosen you to do His work through you. We have to get that!”
Rev. Samuel D. Stephens is the third-generation leader of the India Gospel League, which was founded in 1948 by Samuel’s grandfather, Rev. Devaprasad Stephens. He passed the ministry to Samuel’s father, Rajah, who in 1971 established the ministry as a Registered Society. Samuel D. Stephens served as a barefoot pastor until his father’s death in 1988, when he assumed leadership of the ministry. Visit exponential.org/2018 to learn more about multiplication thinking.