Highlights from Exponential 2018


Last week I had the privilege to travel with my fellow church planters and coaches from Reach Chicago to Orlando for the annual national Exponential Conference. In three days, we heard a number of speakers and attended workshops that challenged our way of thinking, inspired us to continue in our calling, and equipped us to lead our churches to becoming a disciple-multiplying church.

In this update, I’ve pulled together some of the most memorable quotes and highlights from the conference. For a more personal reflection and discussion, listen to the Restoration Church Podcast for two special bonus episodes that we recorded and wanted to share with you, especially as it relates directly to our church plant, Restoration Church.

2018 Theme: “Hero Maker”

Dave Ferguson

  • A hero maker is one who builds platforms for others to stand on.
  • Hero makers make others great.

Albert Tate

  • Luke 10 … Mary & Martha serving Jesus … Martha is busy cooking in the kitchen while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus.
  • “What are we busy cooking up in the kitchen of church planting?”
  • Martha was doing the “right thing”, but Mary was doing the “better thing.”
  • “Live for your eulogy, not your resume.”

Andy Stanely

  • “Your glory is too small a thing to live for.”
  • It is safer and more secure for you personally if you don’t become a hero maker. It will cost you.
  • “Are you sure you want to do this?”
  • “Do you want to put the generation behind you, ahead of you?”
  • It is not intuitive to give the spotlight, opportunities, or praise away to another.
  • We have to choose to do this.
  • Mark 10 … Disciples ask to share in Jesus’ glory. He responds with four words: “Not so with you.”
  • We do not operate the same way the hiarchies of the world do.
  • Ask yourself:  “Am I here to build a brand, or an ecclessia?”
Josh and Codi Gosney (Workshop)
  • Church planting requires teachability and humility.
  • “Don’t sacrifice health for momentum.”
  • Have grit to get through the tough spots when the momentum dies and the excitement wears out.
  • What is your motivation for planting? Is the motive to share and lead others to Jesus or self-promotion?
Dave Ferguson
  • Millenials are asking the older generation, “Give me permission. Believe in me.”
  • “Permission giving is what hero makers do.”
Carey Nieuwhof
  • Not every church multiplies. Why? Leaders don’t know how to scale.
  • 5 Ways to Scale Your Personal Capacity
    • (1) don’t run everything
    • (2) don’t lead everything
    • (3) don’t control everything
    • (4) don’t attend everything
    • (5) don’t know everything
Harvey Carey
  • There are people waiting in your church to be given permission to do the thing you are unable, gifted, or anointed to do.
  • We want to be permission givers, but often with conditions (“Do it the way I’ve done it.”)
  • We cannot arm people with our strategies and methodologies.

Bill Hull (Workshop)

  • The West is the most resistant society to the gospel, ever.
  • The West has created an environment of religious free enterprise. This feeds into our post-modern, relativism society.

D.A. Horton

  • Discipleship is at the intersection of intentionality & intimacy.
  • Nurturing cares for the soul of another, not just creating homework assignments.
  • Do not commit to discipleship unless you are willing to care for the person wholistically.
  • Three primary areas of accountability: doctrine, finances & sexuality.
  • Discipleship needs a tangible timeline that both agree to.
Jossy Chacko
  • Coke & McDonalds have done a better job evangelizing the world than the church. What do they have that the church doesn’t? We have more buildings, people and resoucrces than they do.
  • “I believe we are either all missionaries or none of us are.”
  • We are missionaries where we are.
  • Teaching content will draw a crowd, but teaching obedience will bring disciples.
  • A disciple is someone who obeys. Discipleship needs to be focused on obedience.
  • “If more information alone could change the world, then America would be heaven on earth.”
  • “Discipleship is not made on Sunday morning, it’s made in relationship.”
  • “The church doesn’t need more crowds, but more disciples.”
  • “The church doesn’t need more people with more information, but obedience to Jesus.”

Will Mancini (Workshop)

  • The church is over-programmed and under-discipled.
  • We are ALL called to follow Christ, but each has unique DNA.
  • We are experiencing “missional exhaustion” because we operate outside of our personal, unique calling.
  • “We need to move from a teaching paradigm to a training paradigm.”

Jodi Hickerson

  • (1) Our identity in Christ is more important than our gifts.
  • (2) Jesus is better than our gifts.
    • We do not change lives, Jesus does.
    • We are just the vessels of the gifts that have been given.
  • (3) The fruit of our lives are more important than our gifts.
    • Ephesians 4:11-12
    • Live a life worthy of your calling
    • Character development is greater than gift development.
    • The enemy attempts to convince us that we don’t need to rely on Christ.
    • Listen to the flight attendant: “Put your oxygen mask on first before you help someone else!”
Leonce Crump
  • Don’t believe that you have the gifting and talent to do this job [pastor / church planter].
  • “We put ourselves in the center of what can only be Jesus’ role.”
  • Three phases we have thought: “My church. My people. My impact.” Is this the posture we should have?
  • Change your thinking: “God’s church. God’s people. Their impact.”
  • “You don’t have a church. It’s God’s church that we are called to steward.”
  • “God gives leaders to churches, not churches to leaders.”
Oscar Muriu
  • “To commission my heroes well, I must send out sons, not church planters.”
  • You are not in competition with your son or daughter. Let them step on our shoulders and reach higher than we could ever do. Let them go higher and further than us.
  • A father must exercise authority in infancy, then influence later in life. A spiritual father moves from a place of authority to a place of influence.
  • The problem today: there are no spiritual fathers and mothers; there are only orphans trying to bring themselves up.
Sam Stephens
  • The church is growing in more ways (globally) today that has never happened before.
  • We are earthen vessels to be used by God for His great work.
  • They have planted 8,000 new churches in last 18 months in villages across India!
  • (1) From empire building to kingdom building
    • “The kingdom of the church must surrender itself to the Kingdom of God.”
  • (2) From control to collaboration
    • “…Able to plant over 95,000 churches because we gave up control.”
  • (3) Delegation
    • Take it out of our hands and empower others.
  • (4) Make heroes of the right people
    • “If we want to change the world, invest in those already changing the world.”
Danielle Strickland
  • “Kingdom posture is a posture of surrender.”
  • “A posture of generosity is no longer asking what can I receive, but what can I give?”


By the Cross. For the Kingdom.
– Matt

2 thoughts on “Highlights from Exponential 2018

  1. Wow, this is so cool! Thanks, Matt. I will use this one on the Reach Chicago website, if that is OK.

    Blessings, Jill

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