Dave Ferguson is a pastor and mentor to hundreds of church planters around the globe, including me. He is the visionary for New Thing Network, a church planting network. His church, Community Christian Church, is a pioneer in the multi-site movement. Dave is an influencer, a teacher, and a visionary leader. I appreciate his responsiveness to those of us that desire to learn from him. I also appreciate his commitment to his family. The one meeting I had schedule with him had to be canceled because of a school program for one of his children. I admired that in him. He has befriended my son in Chicago. I previously wrote about that HERE.
Dave’s new book written with his brother Jon, Exponential: How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement, will debut at the Exponential Conference next month. (A great conference!) You can follow Dave on Twitter HERE.
Here are 10 questions with leader Dave Ferguson:
When you were growing up, is this what you thought you would be doing vocationally? If not, what did you want to do?
Of course not! I was supposed to be 6’5” and a professional basketball player. And since I never got drafted….
What’s the most different job you’ve had from what you are doing now and how did that job help you with what you are doing now?
When I was in high school, I drove an ice cream truck. True! You know, the small white trucks driving around your neighborhood with the music playing loudly to get kids attention (and their money!). First, I learned basic business principles, which have been helpful in the corporate side of running a church. Selling ice cream was like having my own business because I paid a small fee for the truck and then bought the ice cream from corporate and then sold it at a mark up. Secondly, I learned to be creative with no resources. I made every Thursday “FREE ICE CREAM DAY”. On that day which ever kid got to my truck first would get something free of his/her choice. Of course it brought whole bunch more kids running and I made a lot more sales. I did other creative things and on July 4th I broke the record for single-day sales of any ice cream salesman in Sam’s Ice Cream history. If I ever look for another job that is definitely going on my resume!
Who is one person, besides Christ, who most helped to shape your leadership and how did they help you?
I think it has to be my parents. Before I understood that God believed in me, they believed in me. And before I ever felt grace, they were gracious to me. Something that is unique about COMMUNITY and the culture of NewThing is that we assume that you can do it and we believe in you implicitly. I didn’t know how unique that was until later on in life. I think Jon and I got that from my parents and we have passed it on.
Besides the Bible, what is one book that has most helped to shape your thought process in life and ministry?
I will name two. First, Victor Frankel’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” is a great story and philosophical work that reminds us that what people need most is hope. Secondly, Carl George’s “Prepare Your Church for the Future” gave us the foundation to become a reproducing church and dream of a reproducing movement.
What are three words other people would use to describe your work style/ethic?
What is your greatest strength in leadership?
According to Strengthfinders my #1 strength is “Futuristic”.
What is your greatest weakness in leadership?
I have to be careful because there are times my vision can outstretch our finances and I need people around me to make sure that we don’t commit to more than we can handle financially.
What is the hardest thing you have to do in leadership?
When you have to help someone find another place to lead or serve and they don’t see it the same way as you – that is really hard.
What is one misconception about your work you think people may have?
Some people have a misconception that COMMUNITY is a typical multi-site mega-church with a large facility that has lots of “bells and whistles” as the hub. Not true. We are a reproducing church with eleven locations in all kinds of spaces with some sites as large as 2500 in average attendance and other sites as small as 150 in attendance.
If you could give one piece of advice to young leaders from what you’ve learned by experience, what would it be?
Do a leadership residency. Find a church or a leader that is doing what you one day want to do (or as close as you can find) and do whatever it takes (even if you have to pay them!) to spend 6 months to a year doing a leadership residency in that place with that leader. That kind of apprenticeship is invaluable!
What inspires you about Dave and his influence on the church?