Be a Hero Maker: Jason Webb, Milwaukee-based Pastor, Encourages Us to Have I-C-N-U Conversations

Southern rockhopper penguin encourages another penguin to jump, Falkland Islands

The following is the third part of the article “Be a Hero Maker” written by Jason Webb – a Milwaukee-based pastor and public speaker. Here, Mr. Webb urges us to have I-C-N-U conversations with others to bring their unseen gifts to light.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to be hero makers. We are called not to be the hero of the story, but to develop heroes for the story. It’s about taking the spotlight off of ourselves and putting it on others. It’s about learning that the most lasting impact you can have is not in what you do, but in whom you develop.

But it takes intentionality.

And it takes important conversations.

If you want to be a hero maker, at some point you are going to have to, what Dave Ferguson calls in his book Hero Maker, an I-C-N-U discussion with people. Sitting down with them and saying, “I see what you can be, I see how God made you. I want to help you see that too. I-C-N-U something you can’t see yet.”

This is what Paul did with his apprentice Timothy. He had an I-C-N-U talk with him and then helped him develop his gifts. He wrote this to Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:5-16)

Paul is saying, “Timothy, I see a raging flame inside of you. I see you leading this church in your power and strength and boldness. I know you only see a spark right now, but I am going to help you take that spark and make it a raging inferno. You are gifted to lead, so step into who God made you to be. I-C-N-U a leader.”

My guess is that if I were to ask you if somebody ever had an I-C-N-U talk with you that changed the course of your life, you would tell me about a mentor, or a coach or a teacher or a boss who saw something in you that you couldn’t see and helped you move towards it. You would tell me of how they fanned the flame of God inside of you.

For me, it was Oscar Muriu. Oscar is a Kenyan pastor at Nairobi Chapel in Nairobi, Kenya. I had just joined his staff as a young pastor, not knowing up from down. Early on in my time there, he took me aside and said, “Jason I-C-N-U a future Lead Pastor. I want to help you become that. So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to do everything that I do. You are going to go to all of my meetings with me. You are going to work on sermons with me. You are going to travel with me. You are going to deal with the church crisis with me. You are going to help oversee the staff with me. Whatever I do, wherever I go, you are going to be there. Because I see a calling on your life.” 

I did. I followed him everywhere and anywhere. I did everything with him. I was like his third arm and he taught me how to be a Lead Pastor; he showed me giftings that I didn’t know I had. I owe so much to him. He didn’t just fan into flame the gift of God in me, he poured gasoline on top of it! And it has continued 18 years later. A couple of years ago, my life flipped upside down and I thought I might never be a pastor again. It was Oscar, who reached out to me, traveled to my house for a few days, and spoke into me saying, “I still see in you the same things that I saw back then. Your calling hasn’t changed, so get up off the ground and step back into ministry.”  I-C-N-U.

I think Andy Stanley is right when he says, “Speak to someone’s potential not their performance.” 

This is what Jesus did. He’s always spoken to people’s potential rather than their performance. He’s always had I-C-N-U conversations.

It’s what he did when he met a guy named Simon one day. He looked him in the eye and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

Jesus was saying, “Yeah, I know you are Simon. I know you didn’t get picked to be a disciple of a rabbi. I know you are a little unhinged at times, ok, a lot unhinged at times. I know people don’t know fully what to do with you. I know you are just Simon. But I see something different in you.  I see the makings of a leader. But not just any leader, a steady, solid rock of a leader. In fact, you don’t know this yet but one day you will be the leader of a church planting movement that will span across the globe. You are Simon, oh, but I-C-N-U Peter, the rock.”

So who is your Simon? Who has God put in your life that you need to have an I-C-N-U conversation with? Who is in your house? Who is at your work? Who is in your neighborhood? Who is in your small group? Who is the person you need to say, “I know you see yourself as a Simon but I see a Peter?”

Our job as followers of Jesus is to do what he did and fan into the flame of the gift of God in people. Our job is to call out the greatness in them that they can’t fully see yet. This is how the mission of the church goes forward…people calling other people out to the greatness that God has inside of them, and letting that greatness loose on the world.

So will you have those conversations today?

Will you say to that person, “I-C-N-U a gift of compassion that could be used to help others who are hurting?”

Or “I-C-N-U a real creative flare that could be used by God to do new things.”

Or “I-C-N-U an intellect that should be used to teach…”

Or “I-C-N-U a passion for justice that could be used to fight systemic racism.”

“I-C-N-U something you can’t see yet. I know you see yourself as a Simon, but I see Peter!”

When you do, you are no longer the hero, you are no longer worried about being in the spotlight…instead, you shine the spotlight on others. You are a hero maker. Hero makers are the ones who actually change the world.

About Jason Webb

Jason Webb is a Milwaukee-based entrepreneur and movement leader with extensive experience in establishing, leading, and staffing domestic and international non-profit organizations. He has led multimillion-dollar fundraising campaigns and managed complex budgets. Mr. Webb has worked with Elmbrook Church, Brooklife Church, Nairobi Chapel, James Place, and recently became a Team Manager and Groups Director for Great Lakes Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin.