5 Tool Church Planters

I was talking recently to a major leaguer about guys in baseball who are 5 tool guys. For example rookie superstar Mike Trout is a classic “5 tool” player. Image

The 5 tools of baseball are…

1. Running speed


2. Arm strength

3. Hitting for average

4. Hitting for power

5. Fielding

In baseball there are very few guys who are true, “five tool” players and those that are usually end up making millions.

What are the “5 tools” for a church planter? If a church planter had all the tools what would it look like?

The 5 tools of a church planter…

1. Preacher/Communicator – guys who are terrific at communicating and holding the attention of audiences. Let’s face it there are some guys who are better than others when it comes to captivating a crowd with their stage presence and public speaking skills.

2. Administrator/Organizer – this tool allows for a systematic approach to church planting. The person who possesses this tool will have a superior understanding of systems and processes. When you see this tool you might want to think, Nelson Searcy. Over the years I have benefited from his ideas on assimilation and breaking attendance barriers just to mention a few.

3. Pastoral/Care-giver – these guys are able to empathize with the hurting. People with tool #3 are high on compassion and will be great care-givers to the hurting in their congregation.  

4. Disciple/Developer – guys with this tool will be not only great students of the Word of God but also strive to teach and disciple others with a great level of effectiveness. People with a high competency level with tool #4 will be naturally drawn to small groups and investing in individual growth.  

5. Evangelist/Persuader – this person is a natural at gathering a crowd. The man with a high level of competency with tool #5 will most likely be charismatic and comfortable in the company of non-believers. Many of the church planters that have early success are natural evangelist/persuaders.



In baseball there are very few major leaguers who are true “5 tool” players so don’t be surprised that in church planting that there are very few “5 tool” planters. Almost all of us have a deficiency in at least one of these tools. So what are we to do?

1. Lead from your strength. Don’t try to be a watered down version of who God made you. Don’t try to be balanced. Balance is way overrated. Marcus Buckingham has some great thoughts on this in his book, “Now Discover Your Strengths”.

2. Hire to your weaknesses. Don’t make the mistake of hiring people who share your strengths, hire people who compliment your weaknesses. If you are a great Preacher/Communicator but stink at Administrator/Organizer then by all means hire a person who will help you do administration.

3. Remember you have to reach them before you can teach them. While all gifts are important for a church planter I would argue that the ability to build an initial crowd might be one of the most important. I don’t want to underestimate the importance of discipleship – but it’s really hard to disciple the un-reached. Don’t forget that you have to reach-em before you can teach-em.

4. Work hard, take chances, and leave the results to God. Jesus told the parable of the talents in the New Testament. If that parable teaches us anything it teaches that not all of us will be gifted with all “5 tools”. There are 5 talent guys and there are 1 talent guys and everywhere in between. The litmus test for success is not how many talents/tools you have but your willingness to take insane risks, work long days, and display great faith in the God who has called you to plant this church!!!!!  


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