How to Be a Hero Maker

It Begins with You

September 7, 2023

At the beginning of this series, I referenced the idea of a magnet that can pull us toward a certain standard of what makes a church “successful.” While this prevailing model of the church has yielded significant Kingdom good, it has the potential to pull us away from the kind of Kingdom multiplication we long for.

So far we have discussed four of the five shifts necessary to move away from the magnet of addition and toward the freedom of multiplication:

  1. A shift from an addition-oriented scorecard to one that embraces multiplication metrics for making disciples.
  2. A shift in the expectations of every believer.
  3. A shift in the opportunities for every believer.
  4. A shift to a multiplication operating system.

The final shift we’ll examine is:

  1. A shift from being the hero to making others the hero in God’s unfolding story.

All five shifts are equally important, but this last one is primal. If this shift doesn’t take place, none of the others stand a chance. In fact, this shift is so crucial that Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird wrote an entire book about it called Hero Maker. Here is some of what they share.

The 5 Practices of a Hero Maker

1. MULTIPLICATION THINKING

  • A hero says, “I think ministry best happens through my own leadership.”
  • A hero maker says, “I think ministry best happens through multiplied leaders.”

2. PERMISSION GIVING

  • A hero says, “I want to see what God can do through my own leadership.”
  • A hero maker says, “I want to see what God can do through others, and I let them know what I see in them.”

3. DISCIPLE MULTIPLYING

  • A hero says, “I share what I’ve learned to add more followers.”
  • A hero maker says, “I share my life in order to multiply disciples to the fourth generation.”

4. GIFT ACTIVATING 

  • A hero says, “I ask God to bless the use of my own gifts.”
  • A hero maker says, “I ask God to bless the leaders I’m sending out.”

5. KINGDOM BUILDING

  • A hero says, “I count people who show up to my thing.”
  • A hero maker says, “I count leaders who go out and do God’s thing.”

Hero makers shift the focus from themselves to others, and in doing so they unlock unlimited potential and create countless opportunities for Kingdom impact.

Hero makers shift the focus from themselves to others, and in doing so they unlock unlimited potential and create countless opportunities for Kingdom impact. They empower and inspire others to do a greater work than one person could ever do alone. Check out this short but impactful video in which Dave gives a brief overview of these five hero-making practices.

 

They May Never Know Your Name

Being a hero maker takes humility and demands selflessness. It requires a vision for the bigger picture. It means that you don’t seek your own glory, but God’s. As Dave Ferguson says, it means “you build a platform and invite others to stand on it.” 

Being a hero maker takes humility and demands selflessness.

It’s likely you’ve never heard of Ralph Moore. Yet Ralph is undoubtedly one of the best examples we have of a Level 5 leader in a Western context. I first learned about Ralph from the book Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers by Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird. For nearly a year, I used Ralph as a real-life example of a Level 5 leader based on what I’d read about him and the Hope Chapel movement. 

Finally, at Exponential in 2015, I had the privilege of meeting Ralph in person. Ralph knew that at conference he’d be asked how many churches had been planted out of the stream of Hope Chapel. He didn’t know the answer, so he and his team did the research and found 2,322 churches! In many cases the lineage ran seven generations deep, and in one case, nine generations deep!

The thing is, the vast majority of people in those 2,322 churches (more than that by now) don’t even know who Ralph is. I’ve taught the Exponential frameworks for several years, and over 90% of the people hearing the frameworks for the first time don’t know Ralph’s name.

I am convinced that most people will have a greater Kingdom impact when they choose to adapt a multiplication mindset. But if you embrace that mindset and all that it entails, it’s much more likely that people won’t know your name.

I have had the honor of traveling extensively with Ralph over the past 8+ years. He’s part of our Multipliers Learning Community faculty. He continues to pour into leaders around the world, supporting and inspiring them. He is truly a Level 5 leader, and he’s perfectly fine with you not knowing his name.

Movements Travel on the Backs of Prayer

I mentioned in the first blog of this series that I heard Bruce Wesley, pastor of Clear Creek Community Church in League City, Texas, say that “[he] had to die to [his] image of success as a pastor” to move beyond Level 3 success. God used Bruce’s commitment to make dramatic Kingdom advances in Houston. Bruce started the Houston Church Planting Network, and (under the direction of Chad Clarkson) it has united churches from across denominational and network lines for the sake of church planting and gospel saturation. HCPN has become a model of collaboration that is now being emulated in other cities around the U.S.

The prevailing model of the church is a prescriptive model. It’s embedded in the recruitment, assessments, training, and coaching of church planters. Moving beyond Level 3 thinking will be hard because the way forward is more descriptive than prescriptive. There is no manual to guide you step-by-step into Level 5. Part of me wishes there were, but then I realize it would tempt us to ask the Holy Spirit to bless what’s been done rather than calling on the Holy Spirit to lead.

And that’s what really excites me about the future of the church in the West. We will need to lean into the Holy Spirit in ways we, collectively, have not known in our lifetime. It will take our eyes off our own “five loaves and two fish” and put us in position to see God do miracles. All movements travel on the backs of prayer. 

We beg you to pray and seek the Lord. I like what Alex and Hannah Absalom from Dandelion Resources say: “When you approach Jesus for something, he never considers you an irritation. Even when we come with mixed motives, he is still so happy that we would seek his love and blessing. So we must never be hesitant about approaching God for our needs.

If you go down the road of disciple-making Kingdom multiplication, it will require something from you—likely some form of dying. In addition, the results are not guaranteed. But God does not require results; he only requires our fellowship and our obedience. Let’s begin now!

Reflection Questions:

  1. To what are you willing to give your life in order to see miracles happen?
  2. Do you have a passion for multiplication? If yes, why? If no, what’s keeping you from becoming passionate?
  3. Based on what we discussed, what is one feasible and tangible goal that you have for your church to help it move toward multiplication this year?
Bill Couchenour

Bill Couchenour

Bill has a fervent desire to see gospel saturation locally, regionally, and throughout the US. He has served churches across the country for over 30 years. As Director of Learning Communities at Exponential, he provides strategic and operational oversight of Exponential’s R&D and expanding educational opportunities. He facilitates the Exponential Learning Communities that have included Future Travelers and Radical Multisite and, currently, Multipliers: Leading Beyond Addition. He also serves network and denominational leaders of church planting movements with the Exponential resources. Bill also serves as a governing elder and board member at the Underground Network, a network of micro-churches around the world that is based in Tampa, Florida. He has also served in leadership for several other organizations including Youth for Christ, Heartland Christian School, and BeTheChangeProject, and cofounded the Cornerstone Knowledge Network. Bill is married to Pam, and they have four adult children and three grandchildren. He received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Youngstown State University and an MBA from The University of Tampa.
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