Become a Hero Maker: Great Inspiration from Exponential ’18

Exponential is the largest Church Planting Conference in the world with thousand of Church Planters coming together. This year’s theme was Hero Maker and, just like all the past years, Exponential brought in a ton of fantastic speakers to share and encourage the conference attendees.

This year I had the opportunity to be a Chat Host for the Live Stream of the 5 Main Sessions. As I was the Chat Host I was blown away and absolutely inspired to go and be a Hero Maker this year in my ministry.

I took notes and there are some quotes from the Speakers at the 5 Main Sessions of Exponential.

Dave Ferguson:

  • Jesus was a heromaker because in Jn. 14 Jesus told His disciples you will do greater things.
  • Heromakers build platforms for others to stand on.
  • Being a Hero Maker is about giving someone permission
  • The 4 most important letters of the alphabet: I, C, N, U. I see in you! This is the greatest permission giving posture.
  • Jesus spent three-fourths of his time with the few.
  • Who am I sending out to do God’s thing?
  • It’s not how do “I” grow the Church. It’s how do “we” do this and “multiply” God’s Church

Albert Tate:

  • To be hero maker you have to think differently
  • You know you’re in trouble when Jesus calls your name twice
  • You’re doing it right, but you’re doing it wrong – are you choosing the lesser thing or the greater thing?
  • There are many things we can choose in ministry, but—like Mary—we must choose the better thing.
  • It can’t be a strategy on a piece of paper and not a conviction in your heart.
  • As you’re doing the right thing don’t miss the better thing God has in store for you
  • Are you living for your resume or are you living for your eulogy?
  • What matters is the people you are/have invested in

Exponential Andy Stanley:

  • Do you really want to put the generation coming behind you, ahead of you?
  • Are you sure you want to be a hero maker and shine the spotlight on others?
  • Do you really want to b a hero maker? Because it will cost you
  • If you lead by yourself or for yourself, in the end all you will have to show for yourself is yourself.
  • The value of a life is measured by how much of it you give away.
  • Your glory is too small a thing to live for.
  • If you aren’t a multiplier, you are like a blockage in the bowel…and everything gets backed up behind you and the organization gets sick.
  • Jesus said “not so with you, if you be great become a servant!”
  • I am here to facilitate your success regardless of where our names are on the org chart.
  • One of the simplest and most important questions to ask those we lead is “What can I do to help you?”
  • Next time you start to feel like a big shot and people are telling you how great you are go find some more feet to wash.
  • Great leaders flock to multiplying leaders.

Ed Stetzer:

  • Who will we influence for something significant?
  • You don’t have to be a megachurch to multiply.

Carey Nieuwhof:

  • Most Pastors know how to “do” but they don’t know how to “scale”
  • Scale your personal capacity…don’t run everything.
  • Scale your capacity…don’t lead everything.
  • Scale your capacity…don’t control everything.
  • Pastors have to decide not to lead everything. You have to release it.
  • Scale your capacity…don’t attend everything.
  • Controlling leaders often resort to Seagull Management: they swoop in, crap all over everything and swoop out.
  • Scale your capacity…don’t know everything.
  • Why are we stuck? Because what you do has become what you are. And it leads to a loss of mission. You have become more important than the mission.
  • It will only outlive you if it can grow without you. What do you need to do to help it grow without you?

Harvey Carey:

  • A relationship with church is not the same as a relationship with God.
  • People we give permission to ask questions we don’t even think of
  • We need to learn to be permission givers
  • What if you aren’t the one to kill the spiritual giant, but there IS a giant-killer in your church. They need permission to do it THEIR WAY, not yours.

D.A. Horton:

  • Exponential Intentionality and intimacy is the key to Discipleship
  • We are to engage our whole being into disciple making until we see Jesus face to face.
  • Nurturing transcends a task list. Nurturing is more than a calendar and an appointment.
  • Our children are disciples not just dependents
  • I breathe grace on others because grace was breathed on me.
  • You must love people to launch them
  • The world needs more people in pursuit of Jesus and being shaped by Him
  • I teach those I’m discipling to pursue purity in honesty, in finances and sexuality

Jossy Chacko:

  • Part of the problem is that we have delegated the Great Commission to just missionaries.
  • We are either all missionaries or none of us are.
  • Discipleship is not about imparting content, it’s about teaching obedience.
  • Teaching obedience is different than teaching information. Teaching information will bring crowds. Teaching obedience will make disciples.
  • Jesus wants disciples that will obey him and not make excuses.
  • What percentage of what you know is obeyed by you?
  • Your Success will be determined by the crowds and what you did, but your legacy will be determined by your disciples and what they did.
  • Discipleship doesn’t happen on Sunday morning. It happens in relationship.
  • What the American church needs is not more crowds but more disciples. It doesn’t need people with more knowledge, but people with more obedience to Jesus.
  • Maturity is not measured by titles or degrees. Maturity is measured only by depth of love for the master. Because to the extent you love Jesus you will obey Jesus.

Jodi Hickerson:

  • Our identity in Christ is more important than our gifts
  • Jesus is better than our gifts. Our gifts are not our best asset. It’s that we know Jesus Christ and He transforms lives.
  • We aren’t God’s gift to people, Jesus is
  • It’s going to be a long road if you’re trying to convince people that you’re awesome and God’s awesome at the same time.
  • We carry too much of the weight, and we take too much of the credit
  • The fruit of our lives is more important than our gifts
  • Ironically, our greatest temptation is to lessen our dependance on God.
  • Let’s not settle to send out people that have charisma and NOT character!

Leonce Crump:

  • It’s not about Me. My Father has given me to the world for your benefit. -Jesus
  • God does not give gifts TO people, He gives gifts to the church THROUGH people.
  • Is it a part of your strategy to pour yourself out so much on those following you that they can do more than you ever could?
  • The greatest gift you have is activating the gift of others.
  • You don’t have a church, you don’t have a people. You have been entrusted to steward what belongs to the living God
  • God does not give churches to leaders, he gives leaders to churches.

Oscar Muriu:

  • Where are the spiritual fathers? There are many sons crying for a father to mentor them and a mother to walk with them.
  • A spiritual father allows their son to find their unique voice.
  • When your spiritual son fails or falls, you lift them up and restore them.
  • I must send out sons instead of church planters.

Sam Stephens:

  • We must recognize God is doing His work and God is simply inviting us to be a part.
  • The church is not a place to come and be entertained. It’s a place to come and be equipped and trained to go out and transform lives.
  • Young people are this generation’s leaders.
  • We need to look to the Gospels, to the book of Acts and to the rest of the New Testament to find our methodologies for church planting.
  • Your call is not to build an empire, but to bring the Kingdom of God. The kingdom of the church needs to surrender itself to the Kingdom of God.
  • We need to shift from control to collaboration
  • No one can do it by themselves, we need each other.
  • So much of the subconscious drives us. What can I get out of this? What’s in it for me? We need to weep and repent of that mindset.

Danielle Strickland:

  • Kingdom posture is a posture of surrender.
  • The power of posture is that it can rip open the resources of heaven
  • No longer asking what can I receive to what can I release.
  • We must change our posture from what I can get to what can I give.
  • God knocks and says, “Do you want me to answer your prayer? There’s work involved.
  • I’m here because I really care about you. I’m here because I love you.
  • There is no greater currency than the currency of God’s love
  • Jesus is the ultimate Hero Maker
  • God’s going to use anyone, anytime, anywhere because Heaven can’t wait to redeem the earth


Phew! There was a lot said over the 3 days at Exponential East Coast this year. This was one of the more encouraging 3 days I have ever experienced at a conference. Exponential did a great job bringing in wonderful speakers to challenge us all. I know I am leaving this conference very encouraged and focused on rising up more heroes so God can use them and their gifts for His glory. We can all be hero makers. After al, our world could use some more of them.

What stands out to you? How have they encouraged you? Share your thoughts and inspiration quotes you heard at Exponential this year.

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Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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