Pastor, Do You Live Under the Burden of Being a 5-Tool Player?

Baseball is the Greatest American Sport.

Those who moan about the slow pace or belittle the idea of hitting a 3” diameter sphere hurled at speeds of up to 100 miles-per-hour do not understand the nuance, strategy and simple beauty of The Game.

Baseball players are a rare breed, equipped with lighting fast reflexes, molasses slow patience and a coiled-spring stillness that transcend other athletic endeavors. In fact, a baseball player at their finest is said to be a 5-Tool Player, excelling in hitting for average, hitting for power, running the bases with skill and speed, throwing with precision and fielding with accuracy.

There have been few true 5-Tool players to have ever stepped on a professional baseball diamond. Some, whose trading cards still remain carefully stored in attic boxes are greats I have watched play like Rickey Henderson, Bo Jackson, Barry Bonds or Ken Griffey Junior. Others are the stuff of legend with names like Ruth, Mays, Aaron and Mantle.

A 5-Tool player is a rare find in baseball, and a joy to watch play. However, lasting success is taking a bunch of two and three-tool players and building a 5-Tool team.

Many pastors today live under the immense burden of being the mythical 5-Tool Pastor. The often painfully unstated expectation by staff members or leaders is that their Senior Pastor would be the best in the organization, as the:

Unrivaled Leader – the John Maxwell Book 21-Habit Personifying Tool

Strongest Communicatorthe Dr. King Lincoln Memorial Orator Tool

Matchless Counselor the Patched-Elbow Tweed-Blazered Psychiatrist Tool

Principal Visionarythe Calloused-Knee Exact Next Step Mapped-Out Tool

Preeminent Ideator the Apple Design Team Can’t Miss Product Development Tool

Most accomplished pastors are noticeably equipped with two of these 5-Tools. Even the most known pastors, culturally evidenced by podcast download numbers that outdraw their weekly worship attendance numbers, may only possess three of the 5-Tools.

Bottom line, there is no such thing as a 5-Tool Pastor. Yet, church leaders today often live in the social-media-cast shadow of a burdensome 5-Tool expectation.

That’s why I love serving pastors as much as I love watching baseball… because ministry is ultimately not about having one person with all 5 Tools, but a team of people who compliment each other’s strengths, play their positions with every part of their being and work together to accomplish the Great Commission call. That is why we produce tools at Auxano like the Break-Thru Leader Newsletter or SUMS Remix… to supplement the tools, encourage everyday pastors and guide the discovery of break-thru in their unique ministry.

There is no such thing as a 5-Tool Pastor. For some, it is time to rest in that reality. For others, maybe it is time to stop wishing you were a 5-Tool player and start building your 5-Tool team.

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Bryan Rose

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
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