Jesus had a team. His team was the disciples. Jesus knew the secret and never got seduced by numbers and stats. He was explicit about his desire to equip his followers to do the heroic: “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12, emphasis added). Jesus told his followers that he was investing his life in them so they would do greater things than he would. He was setting them up so they could reach more people, go more places, and make more disciples than he ever would during his three years of earthly ministry.
How Paul led like Jesus
The apostle Paul begins chapter 12 in his first letter to the Corinthians by, in effect, asking us a question: “Do you want to know the secret?” It’s a secret he has learned about the kingdom of God and how each of us has something to contribute to God’s work in his kingdom. He writes, “Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed” (1 Cor. 12:1, emphasis added).
Paul goes on to reveal and explain the secret in verse 12. He explains that the church has a specific design, a way in which it is intended to work. It’s a body. It’s a team. And whether we’re looking at the church locally or globally, the entire church is created by God to work together as a team, using everyone’s Spirit-empowered gifts and all other resources to build up the whole body and to accomplish our God-given mission.
The “secret” is fairly simple, right? Rather than focusing on our individual success or the success of our local church, we need to think about the greater work of God’s kingdom—all the places where he is acknowledged as Lord. That whole takes priority over any individual part. You and I are part of a mission that is bigger than what either of us can accomplish by ourselves, no matter how gifted we might be. The kingdom Jesus gave his life for is far bigger than the local church you serve or the denomination or network you’re part of. As we each contribute to God’s team, it’s a win for the kingdom of God as more people are added, regardless of which local congregation they land in.
Thinking this way, as simple as it sounds, radically transforms our approach to leadership. Previously, whenever I’d read any of the hundred-plus kingdom references in the New Testament, my first thought would be how that applies to my own context, to Community Christian Church. Now when I read kingdom, I try to imagine our church and the churches down the road, my friend’s church in downtown New York, the thirty-two- member rural church in Oklahoma, the underground church in China, and all the other global churches within God’s kingdom.
This speaks to our priorities. It’s what Jesus was getting at when he said, “Seek first his kingdom” (Matt. 6:33, emphasis added). Jesus draws our attention to the work of kingdom multiplication through parables about seeds (Mark 4:26–34) and yeast (Matt. 13:33). And there is a reason why he does this. When I begin to seek God’s kingdom more than my kingdom, his power and purposes are revealed to us and through us.
We cannot advance the kingdom of God or accomplish Jesus’ mission if we don’t apply this secret to our lives and leadership. Every true movement of the Jesus mission begins with a heart change in the leader, and that happens as we learn to take the spotlight off ourselves. When we make this vital shift, we begin to shine the spotlight on others—we put the best of our efforts and energy into equipping other Christ followers and emerging leaders—empowering them to be the heroes, wherever they end up serving. Here is what lies at the heart of Jesus’ leadership. This is his secret.
In short, we must shift from being the hero to becoming a hero maker.
— Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird, Hero Maker: Five Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders.
How to Use This Book
Hero Maker will equip leaders with five essential practices for multiplying leaders. You will discover how to:
- Maximize your leadership efforts through developing other leaders
- Create a platform for other leaders to engage in God’s mission
- Extend the impact of your ministry through multiplication-centered discipleship
- Equip those in your ministry by enhancing their gifts and commissioning them for ministry
- Build a more effective ministry that is centered on the kingdom and focused on reaching the world
- Become a Hero Maker with countless practical tools and helpful examples, so that you can start multiplying leaders today!
What People Are Saying
“Almost every church I visit recognizes both the challenge and opportunity of raising up and empowering leaders. That’s why I’m excited about this new book from Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird. They help us unpack five essential practices to grow our leadership and the leaders we are mentoring. For the church to multiply, it MUST multiply leaders. Hero Maker is for every influencer who knows the harvest is plentiful, but the workers…and leaders…are few.”
—Tony Morgan, Founder & Lead Strategist, The Unstuck Group
“Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird are leaders of leaders. Hero Maker will not only impact you; it will impact the leaders you are raising up.”
—Mark Batterson, author, The Circle Maker; lead pastor, National Community Church
“The most important feature of Hero Maker is that Dave and Warren turn the term hero inside-out and upside-down. In their hands, hero becomes servant of God, servant of the gospel, servant of others, and servant of the world. Read and learn how to make heroes of others.”
—Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary