Lead From The Front

Jon Ferguson leading a baptism service in Chicago

Jon Ferguson leading a baptism service in Chicago

By Dave Ferguson

Apostolic leaders lead from the front!  The apostle Paul led from the front. That’s why he could say,

“I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Cor. 4:16 – 17).

He felt confident enough in the mission that if others would just follow his lead, the mission would be accomplished. In fact, Paul felt confident enough that he was sending Timothy to lead them, because he knew that he had apprenticed Timothy and that if they just imitated Timothy’s life, they could accomplish the mission.

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By Dave Ferguson

We like to say when we discovered Troy McMahon he was working the third shift making Hamburger Helper.  And it’s true!  But is also true that he was working at General Mills, and they had him on the fast-track to upper-management.  While he was successful in the marketplace, he also had a great passion for Jesus and helping people find their way back to God.  Troy is just one example of someone who over the course of several years went from being a small group apprentice leader, to moving through a leadership path, to leading a network of new churches, and today is on his way to launching a movement.   Let’s re-trace his steps on this simple leadership path:

leadership path

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[This post is part of the Start Something New series. Read the other posts here!]

You have everything it takes to start a missional movement.  Yes, you.  I’m not referring to someone else.  You!

My friend, Troy McMahon, is leading a network of reproducing churches while serving as the Lead Pastor of a large multi-site church in Kansas City.  But it all started 15 years ago while Troy was still working for General Mills and he was my apprentice in leading a small group.

My friend, Doug Leddon, is the Executive Pastor of our largest campus with over 3,000 attendees.  But four years ago Doug was working in the financial industry of Chicago and was my small group apprentice leader. I could give you a list of people who are impacting tens, hundreds and thousands of people in a variety of contexts and ministries who all got their start as an apprentice.

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Lessons Learned While Starting New Things

Dave teaching

Dave teaching at one of the churches in his network

[This post is part of the Start Something New series. Read the other posts here!]

It was twelve years ago that Community Christian Church started a new campus for the first time.  Since that time we have started a total of twelve campuses and have #13 and #14 in the cue for next year.  It was seven years ago that Community planted our first new church and went on to form NewThing.  Since that time our networks outreach has grown from one church reaching a couple thousand to twenty networks of churches reaching tens of thousands in three movements.   During the last decade our passion has been about starting new things – new campuses, new churches and brand new expressions of God’s ecclesia.  And during that time we have learned some lessons about starting new things.

1.     VISION LESSON: The “God-Thing” Often Comes before the Vision

If you would’ve asked me a few years back how change is initiated, I would have said it starts with vision!  I would have said it starts with a compelling vision from a gifted leader.  While that is true, it’s not the whole truth in my experience. I didn’t really have the vision for being a multi-site church.  God did!  It was a God thing!  I often get the credit for being a visionary leader, but what is closer to the truth is this: God did something extraordinary and I share what God has done with the rest of the church as the vision; and people follow.  When you are able to share where God is working that is always a compelling vision that people will want to follow!

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You Know You’re an Apostle When…Dave Ferguson’s Story


[This is a series designed to bring you into the the unique A.P.E stories of each writer on this blog. We hope each one of you can find a little of your A.P.E story inside of one of us. Read the other stories]

You Know You Are An Apostle When…

“Dave, you are definitely an apostle.”  I had planted a church, my friend worked for a Christian magazine and it was over a lunchtime conversation that I heard this for the very first time.  Of course I knew about apostles in the Bible, but what did he mean, “Dave, you are definitely an apostle.”  He went on to explain, “An apostle is one of the gifts God gave to equip the church.” Then he looked at me like I was an idiot, “Ever read Ephesians 4?” Of course I had, but no one had ever used the term “apostle” to describe me.  So I asked, “Why do you think I’m an apostle?”  As he finished up lunch he explained,

“An apostle is someone who can see over the horizon to what is next for the church. Wherever an apostle goes they start new things and leave fresh expression of the church in their wake.”

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