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

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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I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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