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It can be lonely at the top, but it doesn’t have to be.

We know leaders limit their potential when they lead from isolation. But, when surrounded by trusted advisors with a common goal and a biblical worldview, they can maximize performance and energize cultures. With faith as the foundation, this powerful group of peers meet in an exclusive, confidential forums in Minneapolis and St. Paul to have their questions answered and their answers questioned.

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Business Forum Leaders in the Twin Cities Area

DAVID FERGUS

David Fergus is known for his incisive analysis and winsome facilitation of small group and one-on-one business and personal meetings….

DAVID FERGUS

David Fergus is known for his incisive analysis and winsome facilitation of small group and one-on-one business and personal meetings. He has a positive outlook towards all aspects of life and is especially gifted in leading people and companies to profitable lives and businesses. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the Industrial and Systems Engineering discipline, harnessing that skill set to help companies and individuals establish lofty yet achievable mission and vision. Of special concern to him is making sure that short-term tactics employed are actually targeted to intentionally achieve the mid and long-term strategies in support of the mission and vision. Prior to joining C12, David owned a machine shop and managed a high-tech manufacturing company serving the medical and aerospace industries. Prior to that, he was in operations and maintenance of both nuclear and coal power generation plants, and prior to that was an officer in the nuclear submarine force. He served on two different fast-attack submarines and taught leadership at the Naval Submarine School. He retired from the Naval Reserve in 2002 as a Commander in the Engineering Duty specialty. David is married to Susan, and they have 2 children. His daughter has served as a missionary in rural Madagascar and is currently an Office Manager. His married son and family lived in Philadelphia while obtaining his Master’s degree at Westminster Seminary in May 2016, and currently supports his family in technology and software sales. David and Susan attend Hope Fellowship in Ramsey and lead weekly Bible studies and accountability groups. In his spare time, you may find David refereeing high school soccer and basketball or officiating local and national track & field meets.

BEN PHILLIPS

I was born in Minneapolis Minnesota in March of 1982. My parents both were from the “south,” my dad grew…

BEN PHILLIPS

I was born in Minneapolis Minnesota in March of 1982. My parents both were from the “south,” my dad grew up as a “Navy brat” moving around the Carolinas with his family finally landing in Georgia, and my mom’s family is from Virginia. They both came to know Jesus through Campus Crusade for Christ during college at Virginia Tech and met each other and were married. They moved to Minnesota for work, my father worked for the Minnesota DNR for all of my life, just a few years before I was born.

I am the fourth of nine kids in my family. There are five boys and four girls. This has played a distinct role in my life as I am the only child with much of an age gap of any of the nine. I am three years younger than my older brother and I am four years older than my younger brother. All that to say I am like the baby to the older three siblings and like the oldest brother to the younger five all while having the meshing of being a middle child. My large family has influenced a great deal about my upbringing. My mom was a homemaker for most of my young life, someone had to be around to keep all nine of us alive, and has worked in counseling and church over the last decade. As you can imagine growing up in a one income large family had many challenges many of which were financial ones.

One of my first memories I have is of surrendering to Jesus Christ as my savior when I was five years old. I was in Sunday school and my teacher used flannel graph (cloth and velcro storyboard) to tell us the story of how Jesus died on a cross for our sins and rose again from the tomb. While I don’t claim to have understood all of the implications and gravity of what she was showing me, what I did know was that I wanted to be forgiven and I truly believed that Jesus had died in my place. My teacher led us in a prayer to surrender our lives to Jesus and I excitedly prayed along with her.

One of my next memories is from when I was around six years old. This memory is pivotal to my life. My siblings and I were playing a game where we talked about what we wanted to do and where we would live when we grew up. Very clearly I remember saying I wanted to be a missionary and that I wanted to live in the hardest places to share the gospel.

From that early in my life I have felt a call of God on my life to serve him with my whole life, when I was so young all I could imagine to do that was be a missionary.

As I grew older God gave more definition to this call in my life. When I was sixteen I was at a National youth conference with my church and during a large prayer gathering God began to interact with me in a unique and more direct way than I had previously experienced. God began to ask me if all I had was ten years to live what would I have done for Him? At sixteen I was planning on becoming a doctor and using that to be able to be a missionary, so my answer to the question was in ten years I would have finished medical school and would be finishing my residency. God said that is not what I have for you, serve my church. This was the beginning of God clarifying a calling on my life to minister to people. It was a call to be a pastor and minister of the gospel, but also one to not put constraints on what that “had to be” or “had to look like.” As you will see where I have done that has changed over the years but “what” He sent me to do has not.

I went to Northwestern College in St. Paul Minnesota for my undergrad in Christian Education. During college I met my future wife Anika while I was serving as an Intern with a local youth group and she was serving as volunteer leader for a Middle School girls small group. We dated long distance over the next three years as she attended Union University in Jackson, TN. Upon graduating I planned to go into full time vocational ministry and God engaged me again and called me to working for a couple of years in the marketplace while serving in the church but without it financially supporting me. I worked for a company called AllianceOne as an account specialist and eventually moved in the Compliance Department
working with our legal team and traveling nationwide to lead trainings on current law and practice within our company. During this time I also served as a Youth Minister in the local church and started to help plant a church in St. Paul, MN. During the last year of this period

Anika and I got engaged and I picked up a second job working part time in retail sales with T-Mobile to help pay for the wedding and the rings.

We were married in July 2008 and through much prayer and discerning moved to Nashville, TN where Anika attended Vanderbilt University to get her Masters as a Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Midwife. I had begun looking for “church” jobs when we were thinking about whether or not we move or stay in Minnesota. God led us to go to Nashville even though we had no connections and I did not have any jobs lined up. The way that He provided was that I was able to transfer through T-Mobile so that I had a job in Nashville when we moved. Shortly upon moving to Nashville as we were looking for a church the pastor of the church we were attending met with me and asked if I would be willing to step onto staff at the church working in a position that was a combination of student ministry, production, local outreach, and community development. I accepted and served on staff at my church while also moving into the assistant store manager position with T-Mobile.

As we neared Anika’s graduation from Vanderbilt we knew we had a decision about the future to make. We needed to discern and decide whether we would stay in Nashville or if were were going to move in search of work elsewhere. Through prayer, wise counsel, and a time of searching we both were offered jobs in the Athens/Atlanta, GA area. Anika worked for a private practice with service at two hospitals in Athens and I took a Pastoral Residency position working in Adult ministry with very large church called 12Stone church. We lived in Athens for the next four years and during that period I transitioned to a church in Athens (much closer to where we lived) and had become Interim Lead Pastor. During this time period our first child Lochlan Jude was born in October 2013. As we prayed in and discerned the future. having our first child, and whether I would remove the interim tag and stay in Athens we felt God leading us back “home” to Minnesota. After asking God to lead us, I stepped into a position as Pastor to Students and Families at Rockpoint Church in Lake Elmo, MN in 2014. Anika began working for Health Partners in the Still Water Medical group in Stillwater, MN.

During our time in Minnesota our family continued to grow and we welcomed our second son Ransom Ever in February of 2016. We believed we had found “our place” and had settled in. After two years there I received a phone call that would change our lives. My friend who was the Executive Pastor of the Church of Eleven22 in Jacksonville, FL called and asked if I would be willing to listen about a position at his church. Honestly I said “no, not really” because where we lived, the community we were a part of, being near family, having jobs we both loved, having our second son Ransom (only 10 months old, neither Anika or I were looking for change or looking to move, and we were especially not looking to move across the whole country to Florida. My friend just asked “would you pray about it.” As we prayed about it we heard really clearly “you can just listen” so I called him back and said what did he want to talk about. It turned out that they were looking for someone to come pastor and plant a new campus for their church, and he was asking if I would consider coming down and being that pastor. As we listened and then I visited and then found myself visiting again both Anika and I were wondering “God are you doing something here.” It became clear over the next couple of months that God was inviting us to step “out of the boat” in faith and join Him in something new but also asking us to lay down everything in our world in Minnesota and follow him. With great effort and lot of tears we said yes and moved to Jacksonville, FL to plant the Mandarin area Campus of Eleven22. We moved not knowing anyone in Jax, not having any family near us, and felt like we kind of “missionary-ed” it in moving to a new place.

In 2016 following a call from God to step out in faith and go to a brand new place for the purpose of planting something new, we followed Him to join Eleven22 and move our family across the country to Florida. During my time there I planted a campus that launched with about 400 people in 2016 and saw it grow to over 2000+ a weekend by 2019, I have been part of sending people out to launch two more campuses local to ours, saw over 400 people surrender their lives to Christ, and saw 300+ baptisms (just at our Campus). I led our team through a building expansion, a discipleship and giving initiative that brought in six million dollars over two years. More than that we saw a community transformed through proclaiming the gospel and living out life in authenticity. God was so generous to me as a leader and worked in amazing ways to reach the lost in our community. In all of this, the most impactful part of my time there came from the people who came together through serving, discipleship, and love for each other and became like family to us. God has done more than we could have asked for imagined.

God truly did so much in life and my family during this season. We saw our family grow as we welcomed Meraliese Kylera in May of 2019. I had been with Eleven22 for the last five years. I will always be amazed at the ways I saw the Lord work there – both within me, through me, and through the ministry of the organization as a whole. Over the last 18 months of my tenure, I began to notice some concerning trends in the directional leadership of the larger organization. At first, I viewed these subtle departures from the mission, vision, and culture as aberrations. Then COVID-19 hit and it seemed as if pandemic conditions accelerated the some of them. My commitment and love for the church was buoyed by the beauty of Christ-centered service, community, and spiritual growth that was abundantly present during this season at the campus level. I continued to serve until this summer when conversations with my leaders – men who I love and retain deep respect for – clarified that these directional shifts would be
increasing moving forward. I chose to resign, though incredibly heavy-hearted and reluctant to leave my campus, campus team and church community, because it was clear that my next season of ministry could not be authentically compatible with the shift in direction of the larger organization. Our parting was very amicable, and I remain exceedingly grateful for all the opportunity, learning, growth, and values clarification that the Lord cultivated in me during my nearly five years there. Even more, I continue to be inspired and encouraged by the outpouring of love and kindness my family and I have received from the absolutely incredible people we got to serve and serve with.

Over the last few months, Anika and I have moved back to Minnesota and we welcomed our fourth child Annora in October. I have taken a short season to pray and discern what God is calling me to in this next season of life. God’s call on my life to serve His people has not wavered at all, in fact it is stronger than ever, however, this season has allowed me to consider how He has wired and grown me to do that in ways I had not previously imagined.

“C12 is everything I was looking for and more of what I didn’t know I needed. My peers challenge me in my blind spots, love me in hard times, and encourage me to glorify God in the way I lead my team. It’s a home for business leaders.”

Brittany Zeller, founder and director of Tiny Feet Early Intervention / South Carolina C12 member

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