The 5-Tool Team… A REAL Measure of Pastoral Ministry Success

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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