Maximize Your Leadership With ‘4 Always’


Hero Maker | Dave Ferguson

Dave FergusonMy dream is to plant 50 new churches!” That was the courageous dream a young church planter shared with me. Before I could stop myself, I shot back, “Oh, you should really be dreaming of planting 500 new churches!” 

Why did I see a 10x dream for this church planter? 

Why did I see more in him than he saw in himself?

My challenge for him to dream of planting 500 new churches began an hour-long conversation where I shared what I call the “4 Always.” It is my observation that when these four simple practices are always used, they have allowed me and others to maximize their leadership. If you will always do these, I believe they will help you maximize your leadership too.

1. Always Apprentice. 

Never do anything alone, and always have an apprentice. If you are leading a group, team, site, church or network, you always have an apprentice. Apprenticeship is essential to disciple making and creating movement. It is what Jesus did with his disciples, and what Paul did with Timothy. Apprenticeship allows you to scale your leadership.

2. Always Lead Small. 

By always leading small, you model the behavior you want to see from others. Since the day we started Community Christian Church, I have always led a small group. Always leading small is what creates culture. Some leaders think they outgrow this, and believe they don’t need to be bothered with the small things. The truth is, they need it personally, and others need to see them do it.  It is the small things that create culture.

3. Always Lead Large. 

While leading at the smallest level can stay the same for decades, leading at the largest level will constantly change and expand.  My leadership has expanded from leading a small group 30 years ago to leading “movement” leaders on different continents today. By always leading at the largest level possible, it allows your leadership to expand 10x and beyond.

4. Always Train and Trust. 

As your leadership expands from small to large, it is important that you do not lead in the middle. You need to train and trust other leaders. This will create the necessary leadership infrastructure.

Case Study in Maximizing Leadership

Fifteen years ago, Troy and Janet McMahon led a team to start Restore Church in Kansas City. Since then, Troy has 10xed his leadership. Restore Church is now a multisite church that has given birth to four NewThing networks that have planted 181 churches. How did he and others do it? A lot of grace from God, and by living out the “4 Always.”

* Always Apprentice: For a decade and half Troy’s leadership has scaled by always having someone alongside him who he is apprenticing. 

* Always Lead Small: From the day Restore started, Troy has created a culture of multiplication by always leading a small group with an apprentice. 

* Always Lead Large: Troy has continued to expand and lead at larger levels. He is currently apprenticing four network leaders in the city of Kansas City.

* Always Train and Trust: Moving from a church planter to one of the most influential voices in the city required Troy to create the necessary infrastructure. He did that by continually training and trusting other leaders to lead where he once led. 

The last time I was with that young church planter that I mentioned at the beginning, I overheard him saying, “I am dreaming of 500 new church plants!” His dream had grown 10x. He is on his way to maximizing his leadership. How about you?

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Dave Ferguson
Dave Ferguson

Dave Ferguson is CEO of Exponential, visionary leader of NewThing Network and lead pastor of Community Christian Church with locations across Chicagoland.