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January 28, 2016

Level 5 Churches Need Level 5 Leaders

By Daniel Im

Q&A Webinars are a monthly segment for Plus Members. This is where you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions to the leading experts in church planting, multisite, and multiplication. Q&A webinars are your unique opportunity to ask your questions to these thought leaders. For this month’s segment, Ed and I talk to Dave Ferguson, Lead Pastor at Community Christian Church and co-founder of NewThing Network and Exponential, about creating a culture of multiplication. Plus Members can watch the full segment by logging in and then clicking here.

Level 5 Churches Need Level 5 Leaders

About fifteen years ago Jim Collins published his much acclaimed book, Good to Great, a book that listed how good companies went on to become great companies. The principles contained therein have been used to cross disciplines from Fortune 500 businesses to small churches running less than 100. One of the principles touted is Level 5 leadership. According to Collins, companies that moved from good to great had Level 5 “Executive” leadership, which defined, “Builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.”

Our good friends at Exponential recently released an ebook that talks about the five levels of a multiplying church. You can download the ebook here and take an assessment here to determine what level your church is. In short, a Level 5 church is not just a reproducing church, but a multiplying one. As most know, there are not many churches out there that have multiplication at the core of their DNA. As a result, while very few Level 5 churches exist, I’m optimistic and believe that we can and will see more ascend to this level. But to do so, I propose that Level 5 Churches require need Level 5 Leadership.

I share this because Ed and I recently spent time discussing leadership, church planting, and church multiplication with a Level 5 leader, Dave Ferguson, who leads a Level 5 church. Ed and I have known Dave for quite sometime and can attest that he embodies personal humility and professional will in every organization he leads. In this post I want to, from our discussion, highlight some of the qualities that make Dave a Level 5 leader.

Personal Humility

  • Dave’s willing to be challenged by others. Candidly, Dave shared that Community Christian Church didn’t become a reproducing church until they were in their ninth and eleventh year. Interestingly, in both cases, he didn’t initiate the reproduction. In fact, according to Dave, their first multisite came as a result of businessmen having a vision beyond what he had for the church. By sharing vision in a collaborative and collective manner and realizing that the best ideas can come from others, Dave embodies personal humility. Only when leaders share the vision and sacrifice their ego can they be in a position to be challenged by others in a way that benefits the entire organization.
  • Dave doesn’t mind his fruit growing on other peoples’ trees. In other words, Dave leads towards making others successful not himself. Jim Collins in his chapter on Level 5 Leadership quotes Harry Truman as saying, “You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.” Level 5 leaders have nothing to prove, only everything to give. This is why Dave leads in a way that creates leadership pipelines to equip the next generation for success—for fruit to grow on their trees.

To read the final two points of what makes Dave a Level 5 leader click here for the full webinar video and post.

This video is part of Plus Membership, so to get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member. 


  • Level 5 Churches—multiplying churches—will need Level 5 Leadership.
  • Sharing vision and realizing that great ideas can come from others embodies personal humility.
  • Organizations and churches benefit when leaders share the vision and sacrifice their ego.
  • Level 5 leaders don’t mind their fruit growing on other people’s trees.
  • “You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.” Harry Truman.
  • Level 5 leaders have nothing to prove, only everything to give.
  • Professional (organizational) growth starts with personal growth.
  • If leaders aren’t willing to grow, how can they lead their organizations to grow?
  • Complexity undermines reproduction, whereas simplicity amplifies reproduction.
  • In order to multiply disciples & churches, Level 5 leaders make missional complexities simple & applicable.


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Senior Associate Pastor of Beulah Alliance Church, a multiplying multisite church focused on reaching 1% of Edmonton for Christ. His latest book is You Are What You Do: And Six Other Lies about Work, Life, and Love. He is also the author of No Silver Bullets and co-author of Planting Missional Churches. He co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, as well as the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Because of their love for the local church, after pioneering and leading the church multiplication initiative for LifeWay, Daniel and his wife, Christina, moved back to Canada with their three children. For more information, visit danielim.com and follow him on social media @danielsangi.


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