Do you desire to be a hero, or a hero maker? I recently read ‘Hero Maker’ by Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird. The premise of the book caught my attention; that “behind every hero is a hero maker”. It made me wonder, am I seeking my own development and success, or am I seeking to invest in others who will themselves go on to be fruitful for God’s kingdom?
It wasn’t an entirely comfortable reflection. An inclination to independence can find me saying “I can do it myself” rather too often, but in order to do it myself, do I shrink my goals down to something more manageable? ‘Hero Maker’ encourages us to dream bigger dreams. It explores the idea that we have far more influence as leaders, and can realise much greater dreams, if we use our time to train up leaders who will train up other leaders and so on until our effect is multiplied many times.
Let’s take a simple example; you need to bake cakes for cake sale happening tomorrow. You’ve got 4 hours. The more cakes you can bake, the more money you can raise, so you put on your apron and get baking, one batch at a time, until you run out of energy, eggs, or time. You manage to bake 80 cakes – what a hero! The cake sale is a success and you think you will probably have recovered sufficiently from your efforts to do another one next year.
Do I shrink my goals down to something more manageable?
Now, consider what would happen if you spent your first hour teaching someone else to bake cakes. In the second hour, you can go off and work on something else while your new sous chef bakes and teaches another person. They each teach another so by the fourth hour, there are 4 of them baking and you have had three hours to crack on with the rest of your to-do list. You could potentially bake 160 cakes using this method – that’s nearly double the money raised with only an hour of your input. Your sous chefs will probably get the hero status instead of you, but the overall impact is bigger thanks to your wise investment of time. Plus, next time you want to run a cake sale, you will not need to be in the kitchen at all, as one of your newly empowered sous chefs will be in charge! You have become a hero maker.
by investing in others I have much more impact
So what stops us from doing this? It could be a feeling of not enough time to do the initial investment; let’s face it, teaching someone to make cakes will take longer than making them yourself. Maybe it’s that they might not make them the same way you would – the icing might not look quite as swirly as you hoped. Possibly you enjoy baking and you’d rather do it yourself (especially if the alternative tasks are less appealing!). Perhaps there is no one else to teach. Or maybe you never imagined baking more than 80 cakes.
Ephesians 3:20 reminds us we have a God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, through his power at work in us. How exciting this is! This makes me want to learn to dream bigger, God-sized dreams; to ask for more, to imagine more. I’m taking my own dreams for church, family and work and wondering what they look like supersized. I’m asking God ‘how on earth I can possibly achieve that?’ And he’s showing me, gently inspiring me, that through investing in others, I can have much more influence and impact than if I try to be the hero myself.
What do you dream for?
How might you achieve immeasurably more by investing in others?
What stops you?