Heroes Who Make Heroes
One of my favorite gatherings of church leaders is the Exponential East Conference in Orlando, FL, coming up Feb 26 – 29. Exponential’s goal is to move the needle on multiplication from under 4% of churches reproducing to over 10%. The event is all about inspiring, encouraging and equipping church leaders who want to lead and plant multiplying churches.
This year’s theme is Hero Maker. Hero Maker is not about leaders being heroes, but about leaders who faithfully make heroes who make heroes who make heroes. As leaders, it shifts the focus from us to others. This theme resonates with me greatly because Hero Makers are a huge part of my story.
I grew up with a Schlitz beer tap in our family room in a typical blue-collar, redneck household in the tiny town of Caldwell, OH. A Youth Pastor named Dale Harlow changed my life. He is one of my Heroes. He introduced me to Christ, showed me family and helped me get my life straight. Because of his investment in me, my walk with Christ and my leadership in ministry have always been focused on helping one more. Dale challenged me to go to Bible college and I went reluctantly. I didn’t preach, I didn’t sing, and I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to do in life. And through it, I grew and made some very disciple-minded friends. One of them, Joe Boyd, moved to Las Vegas after college. One day, he called me and said, “Doug, you have to come to Vegas! The vision we talked about in college of reaching our generation for Christ is about to happen and the people in Vegas are a lot like you and your family!”
So I moved to Vegas, found a home in ministry where I was introduced to pastors who were great leaders, planners and strategists. I reconnected with a college friend named Bart Rendel who worked at Central Christian Church across town. He had a vision for helping church leaders within their context reach more for Christ and grow them up in Him. Our common vision and relationship led to the launching of Intentional Churches 5 years ago. At IC, we work with a team of over 60 church leaders, Hero Makers in their own right, with 1,400+ years of church experience walking alongside, pouring into and challenging church leaders all over the country.
Dale Harlow and Northfield Christian Church just signed up to partner with IC and start using our Intentional GrowthPlanning system. It is a humbling honor to serve one of my Heroes in the coming year.
The local church must prioritize reaching people like me – a lost sheep from Luke 15. Christ literally hijacked my life and made me a new creation. And in the process, helped grow up some of the 99 at First Church of Christ Caldwell, Ohio.
As you can tell, Exponential’s theme, Hero Maker excites me. It aligns with my heart and our mission at Intentional Churches. Church planting and hero making are two of the most impactful growth strategies in the Kingdom today. I hope you’ll take advantage of the great learning opportunities Exponential offers around the country this year. I know you’ll be inspired and encouraged to make heroes who make heroes.