Five Practices of a Biblical Hero Maker

Are you a Hero or Hero Maker?  You may think it just semantics, but the difference between these two descriptors are like night and day. In a soon to be released book Hero Maker: 5 Essential Practices For Leaders To Multiply Leaders by Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird, five distinct practices are identified which separate these two types of leaders.


  1. MULTIPLICATION THINKER (MT): This practice centers around how a leader thinks and how that dramatically impacts their ability to be a hero maker. A hero thinks that their leadership will make it happen; but a hero maker thinks that it will happen through them multiplying leaders. The mindset of this practice is how to maximize the leadership capacity in others. At the lowest levels, the leaders think more about their own leadership; while at the highest levels, the leaders think their leadership is multiplied by others.
  2. PERMISSION GIVER (PG): This practice centers around how the leader affirms others in ministry or how are they are biased toward “yes.” A hero sees what God can do through their own leadership; a hero maker sees what God can do through other leaders, and they tell them. The mindset of this practice is seeing the potential in others and having the “I see in you—I C N U” conversations with other leaders. At the lowest levels, these leaders do not see leadership capacity in others; while at the higher levels, the leaders are always affirming the leadership capacity in others.
  3. DISCIPLE MULTIPLIER (DM): This practice centers around a leader developing what they have learned in others. A hero shares what they have learned to grow disciples; a hero maker shares what they have learned to grow disciple makers. The mindset of this practice is developing and sharing all that you have to increase the leadership capacity of others. At the lowest levels, leaders are growing themselves for significant impact; while at the higher levels, leaders are driven to develop and unleash disciple makers wherever they are called.
  4. GIFT ACTIVATOR (GA): This practice centers around blessing leaders to use their unique gifts. A hero asks God to bless their own gifts; a hero maker asks God to bless the leaders and the gifts of those they are sending. The mindset of this practice is commissioning and sending leaders out to reach their full leadership capacity. At the lowest levels, leaders are primarily concerned about activating their own gifts; while at the higher levels, leaders are driven by releasing leaders and they possess a conviction of the priesthood of all believers.
  5. KINGDOM BUILDER (KB): This practice centers around what the leader views as an important measure of their success. A hero counts people who show up or are influenced directly by the use of their gift; a hero maker counts leaders who go out and do God’s work in the Kingdom. The mindset of this practice is toward counting what brings Kingdom success. At the lowest levels, the leaders are primarily concerned with success of what they do (and the measurements thereof); while at the higher levels, the leaders are concerned with leveraging everyone’s leadership capacity for the Kingdom (and the measurements thereof).

After working with Dave and Warren for the past 10 months on an assessment for this book, there are several things I have come to realize about these two different types of leaders.  The book articulates well how a Hero can become a Hero Maker through the development of these five practices.  As I see these two types, there is a general difference:

  • A Hero is one who maximizes the impact of their own life through use of their gifts and abilities,
  • A Hero Maker is one who maximizes their impact through investing in others to use their gifts for making other hero makers

Rather than these two being distinct leadership styles in which all of us fall clearly into one or the other, I see them as ends of a spectrum.  Where most of us fall somewhere in between the two extremes.

Hero—————————————————–X——————————–Hero Maker

According to the five practices described by Ferguson and Bird, each of us as leaders are probably somewhere between the two extremes for each of the five practices. For instance, some of us may be more Hero Makers in Kingdom Building than Permission Giving than we are Heroes. We are all complex leaders, and this is very true of our grasp and implementation of these five practices.

As I think about the many leaders I have worked for and with during my lifetime, it would seem one of the primary difference in the wiring is how the leader handles “indirect success.”  For example:

  • Are you content with investing in those whose impact exceeds yours own?
  • Especially if others do not know of your impact in that person?

For many of us, we gauge our significance by the accolades we receive, and this becomes a detriment to our ability to make heroes. Here are a few lessons I have learned about the wiring of a Hero Maker.


  • Hero Making applies to LEADERS; Disciple Making applies to EVERYONE.
  • All leaders can be Hero Makers, but most only try to be Heroes. We have set the bar too low.
  • Being a Hero isn’t bad. Often it is effective to initiate movements. However, Hero Makers build and sustain movements.
  • Heroes charismatically inspire others to change; Hero Makers intentionally invest in others to transform. Most leaders are somewhere in between the two extremes.
  • The best time to evaluate whether someone is a Hero or a Hero Maker is 40 years after they are dead. Only then can you tell if they made heroes who made heroes.
  • One who starts off as a Hero, later in life, often transitions to a Hero Maker. We often spend the first half of our life trying to figure out what we are good at (and called to do) and then the second half of our life doing it. (e.g. Paul)
  • The transition from a Hero to Hero Maker often follows the path of brokenness in the life of the Hero Only then do they come to see the futility of limiting their impact to their own abilities.
  • Most Hero Makers may never be famous or acknowledged for such because of all of the reasons given.

I sincerely believe that God’s intent and heart is for all of us to grow in our faith, leadership, and security to become Hero Makers. However, the process of doing so is both painful and fruitful. It takes a lifetime of intentional effort but pays eternal dividends.

This is a list of people which I have assessed by the above criteria, enjoy and disagree as you please:

  Name Hero Hero Maker
1 Steve Jobs (Founder of Apple) X  
2 David King of Israel (Author of many songs) X  
3 Albert Einstein (E=MC2) X  
4 Ursula Burns (Xerox CEO & chairman)   X
5 Joseph of Cypress (Barnabas-son of encouragement)   X
6 Jeff Bezos (Founder of Amazon) X  
7 Liz Wiseman (Oracle HR Dir, author-Multipliers, speaker)   X
8 Paul of Tarsus (Author of 75% of NT books)   X
9 Bear Bryant (Alabama Coach—26 coaches produced)   X
10 Jimmy Carter (39th President of the USA—37 years post)   X
11 Nelson Mandela (President of SA-’94-99-apartied ended) X  x
12 Usain Bolt (World’s fastest Sprinter) X  
13 Dale Jacobs (Community Christian Church, VA)   X
14 Deborah of Ephraim (Judges 4-5)   X
15 Michael Jordan (NBA—Chicago Bulls) X  
16 Moses the Levite (10 Commandments/Leading the Exile) X  
17 LeBron James (NBA—Cleveland Cavaliers) X  
18 Joshua son of Nun (Taking the Promised Land) X  
19 Martin Luther King Jr. (He was struck down early–39) X  x
20 Tom Brady (New England Patriots QB) X  
21 Oprah Winfrey (Author, TV Celeb)   X
22 Bill Hybels (Founder of Willow Creek Church and WCA)  X x
23 Richard Nixon (37th President of the USA) X  
24 Henrietta Mears (SS Teacher—Educator)   X