Hero Maker Practice 2: Permission Giving

Derwin Gray shares how this vital shift changed his life’s trajectory and continues to lead him to invest in others

Lindy Lowry

Derwin Gray joins Exponential President Dave Ferguson for the third session in the Hero Maker podcast series as we look at the second essential practice in the hero-making process: Permission Giving. Derwin is founding/lead pastor of Transformation Church in Indian Land, South Carolina, author of multiple books, most recently The HD Leader. He’s also lead “permission-giver” at his church.

An Interview with Dave Ferguson & Derwin Gray on leading as a permission giver

In this podcast, Derwin shares about the people who throughout his life gave him permission and saw in him what he didn’t see in himself—from an at-risk high school student and NFL player on the football field (he played strong safety for the Indianapolis Colts) to an uncertain church planter. Derwin is one of thousands of planters who has stepped out during the closing commissioning service at an Exponential conference to be encouraged, empowered and prayed over to follow their calling to plant a church. In 1998, Gray’s step forward led to the beginning of Transformation Church.

Just as others have given Derwin permission and encouragement to reach beyond his wildest dreams, he inspires and encourages people in his church to exceed theirs. Eighty to 90 percent of Transformation’s staff was at one time part of the congregation.

The stories of hero making abound at the multiethnic, multigenertional church known for its presence in the community and Gray’s focus on leadership. In this audio, you’ll meet some of these unlikely “heroes” that Derwin and the church have made, including his wife who serves as the church’s communications director and his personal assistant who now leads Gray’s monthly High-Definition Leadership Roundtables.

“We believe in multiplication and replication within the body,” Derwin says, “but you have to see that in people, say it, encourage it, and then equip them for what God wants to do in and through them. As a leader, you have to ask: ‘How do I give people permission to dream and then pursue that dream?’”


Derwin Gray is the founding/lead pastor of Transformation Church in Indian Land, South Carolina, and is the author of The HD Leader, Limitless Life, Crazy Grace for Crazy Times, and Hero. To learn more about HD Leader Roundtables, visit Derwinlgray.com. Visit exponential.org/2018 to learn more about becoming a hero maker and leading a Level 5 multiplication culture.