How Do You Become A Ministry Superstar?

Average is all around us. If you don’t believe me, just take a look around and see what you find. It is simply uncommon to see a superstar, someone performing at levels that most people think are beyond their own reach. Whether you are looking at sports teams, businesses, schools, or churches, average is just too common. So what does it take to break from average and become a ministry superstar?

ministry superstar

In my last post, I talked about how our desire to be an impact player is often not matched up with our preparation. So many people want to be great, but are not willing to pay the price. Others may be willing, but not sure what to do.

I will not even attempt to tell you everything you could do to prepare for greatness. I will instead share three simple, common traits most often found in those people who have shown greater consistent impact in ministry. Buck Jacobs, founder of the C12 Group, calls these people “ministry superstars.” These three traits come from his observations during his decades of experience working with Christian business leaders.

A God-focused Mission Statement

The first trait of Buck’s ministry superstars is that they have a God-focused mission statement. Regardless of the size of the organization, those with a mission statement that honors God have greater ministry impact. The same is true for businesses or individual leaders. As I described in a previous post, mission statements capture the organization’s purpose or fundamental reason for existing. A God honoring mission statement sets the path toward greater ministry impact.

They Lead!

The second characteristic of ministry superstars is that they lead! Ministry superstars recognize that ministry does not just happen. They know they cannot sit around and wait on ministry opportunities to come to them. They are intentional with their time, talents, and treasure. They know what they are to be doing and they do it. They also enlist others in the effort. These ministry superstars draw others to them because of their focus.

Intimate Daily Quiet Time With God

The final trait of Buck’s ministry superstars is that they have an intimate daily quiet time with God. This is not a quick verse-of-the-day calendar and prayer-headed-out-the-door type of quiet time. This is not a once or twice a week devotional reading when the mood strikes.

No, the ones who consistently make the greatest impact in ministry are those who spend consistent quality time with their Creator. God is personal and wants a personal relationship with each of us. He has given us His Word and told us to hide it in our hearts. Jesus lived as our model in this as he did nothing other than what He heard from the Father. He could only do this if He spent regular time in prayer. We are to do the same.

While this is certainly not the only way to spend quiet time with God every day, Buck offers the following structure as an option.

    1. 30 minutes reading the Bible (always include a Gospel chapter)
    2. 15 minutes reading marketplace ministry materials
    3. 15 minutes in prayer
    4. 15 minutes to journal

Ministry Superstar?

If these three traits are supposed to be indicators of ministry superstar potential, do they match up with Scripture? I would consider the Greatest Commandments and the Great Commission to be our Scriptural benchmarks. When I compare Buck’s three traits to these mandates, I think they fit. As we said earlier, this is certainly not an exhaustive list of traits. At the same time, I believe we would do well to start here and make continuous progress.

What does your quiet time look like?

Do you lead or do you wait for ministry to happen?

Is your mission statement God-focused?

What do you need to change today?

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  • http://thehighcalling.org Marcus Goodyear

    Confession: my quiet time doesn’t look as good as it should. I’m kind of tired of trying to lead. And I’ve become quite cynical about mission statements that make a lot of promises and fail to deliver.

    I’m bumming myself out! 

    How does one snap out of a bad attitude? Read more encouraging blogs, I guess? And then get to work.

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      I feel your pain, Marcus!  I have been in a similar position recently as well!

      I cannot give you a guaranteed solution, but I will offer this…after working through Tom Rath’s Strengths Finder 2.0 and the resources it offered, I learned that with my personality, part of my “fuel” comes from interaction with my close friends and from words of encouragement.

      I realized that my low points matched with times I was not maintaining contact or interaction with my friends.  I set a monthly goal to go to lunch with a friend two times per month and to call one out-of-state friend per month.  

      I also started scanning (into Evernote) various notes of encouragement I had received in the past (and forward) and reviewing them on occasions when I felt drained.  It has not been perfect, but both of these ideas have sure helped.

      If you have not been through this book, I strongly recommend it.  It is a follow up to Marcus Buckingham’s Now, Discover Your Strengths, but it also adds resources which give tips and recommendations to various personality/strengths types.  I have seen significant progress from tips I got from these books!

      In the meantime, I will pray for you!

      • http://thehighcalling.org Marcus Goodyear

        Thanks, Chris. I’ve had a lot of people recommend Strengths Finder. Another confession: I really don’t like reading nonfiction outside of magazine length articles.

        However, Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin has me riveted these days.

        I should give Strengths Finder a try on a personal retreat sometime.

        • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

          Yeah, I know…and my kids don’t like the purple cough medicine either!

          I know we don’t know each other that well yet, but I hope you can take that in the spirit it was offered!

    • http://www.susandimickele.com Susan DiMickele

      I am with you Marcus, remember what you told me, don’t be too hard on yourself!

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    Gotta admit I’m not a big fan of Buck’s model of quiet time.
    I think that quiet time absolutely needs to consistently and regularly happen. But for me, I think that the actual structure of each individual “session” can vary greatly. Sometimes I read a chapter of the Bible and meditate over it. Other times, I’ll read one verse and it will hit me so hard that I study it in depth for some time. Sometimes I do nothing but pray. Sometimes I write my prayers in a journal. Sometimes I listen to praise music and just worship. Most times, I’ll do some combination of the above.
    It helps me to remember it’s about the relationship and not the process. Of course, the danger is that one falls into a mushy sort of state where quiet times never happen. That’s a danger to guard against to be sure.

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      I understand completely…I agree with your points.  Obviously, some people need more structure and others need less.  Sometimes a structure of some sort is a good starting point, but when something hits you (like the one verse), then structure goes out the window and you should stop right there.

      I do not use his structure myself, but I do have a sort of structure as a starting point.  Then, as things hit me or as I struggle with something, I head off on side trails.  I need some structure to keep me focused, but not so much to make me rigid.

      Thanks for your candor!  I appreciate you challenging the suggestion and doing so with sincerity!

  • Coach Brown

    Enjoy the challenging thoughts you provoke us to think about.

    Impact players and superstars do have common traits. Consistency, fidelity, and confidence. As a former coach, one of the greatest yet simplest formulas for success came from Lou Holtz when he shared that EFFORT=RESULTS! The Bible says it this way, “What you sow,you reap!” For the impact player or superstar I add this to the formula, FOCUSED EFFORT=FOCUSED RESULTS! That is where we move from just hard work to focused work to make real, measureable results. When we are focused with a strong sense of vision, we are more apt to become more consistent, more true to our purpose – more dedicated to staying on-track, not side-tracked (fidelity); and confident in what and why we do what we are doing!  And, when we make that vision consistent to our faith and purpose that derives from living before our Savior and Lord, our success is not measured by temporal standards but eternal purposes. Superstars and impact players have their eyes focused upon the finish line where Christ stands beckoning us to finish stronger than we  began the race.

    Thanks Chris…

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      I like it, Coach! All of this is true, but especially the eternal perspective vs. a temporal one!

      I also like the sowing and reaping quote…that works both ways, doesn’t it?!?!

      Thanks for your input!

  • http://dustinstout.com Dustin W. Stout

    Great post! SO glad I stumbled onto your site (bc of your comment on MichaelHyatt.com). Subscribing!

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      Thanks Dustin! I am certainly glad to have you!

      Do you mind sharing why you are interested? I would love to know what you are looking for so I know better which topics to address.

      Thanks for subscribing!

      • http://dustinstout.com Dustin W. Stout

        Sometimes even us dreamers need to be reminded to dream bigger. Even us superstars need to see what other superstars are doing to remind us to not let up! You seem like you will be a great reminder.

        • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

          I will do my best!

          Thanks Dustin!

  • A. Amos Love

    Chris

    Was wondering…
    Ministry Superstar??? Can’t seem to find that in my antiquated KJV. ;-)

    It seems Jesus, as man, – Made Himself of NO reputation…
    and took upon Him self the form of a servant… and humbled Himself…
    Phil 2:7-8

    Wouldn’t Jesus be an important example for us to follow?
    And being a “Ministry Superstar” doesn’t sound much like Jesus. Or – very – errr – Humble. 

    You also write…
    “So many people want to be great,” 

    Why??? That seems just the opposite of what Jesus taught His Disciples about – great. And…
    Soon, these, mere fallible humans, who think they’re great, or told they’re great, will be 
    in strife, contention, among the great, wanting to know – “Who is the greatest?” 

    Lu 22:24-27 KJV
    And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted **the greatest.**
    And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles *exercise lordship* over them; 
    and they that *exercise authority* upon them are called benefactors.
    **But ye shall not be so:** 
    but *he that is greatest* among you, let him be *as the younger;*
    and he that is chief, as *he that doth serve.*
    For whether (who) is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? 
    is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as *he that serveth.*

    Seems with Jesus, taking the lower place, being as the younger, being a “servant,” 
    is most important. NOT “being great” and NOT being a “Ministry Superstar.”

    And he (Jesus) said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; 
    but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men 
    *is abomination8 in the sight of God.
    Luke 16:15 

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: 
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd. 
    John 10:16 

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice

    ((((((  Jesus  ))))))

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      Amos, you make some very good points and I do not disagree. Looking back, I should have done a better job defining what I mean by “Ministry Superstar”. I will have to follow up with another post on that soon!

      I COMPLETELY agree with Jesus as our model. My favorite verses are 1 John 2:6, “Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” and Mark 10:43, “Not so with you.”

      I do not see a ministry superstar as someone arrogant or even famous. I see a model disciple. I see a humble, sold-out servant for the least of these. I see someone making eternal impacts all around them. While Mother Theresa certainly was famous, it was not something she sought out. She simply tried to live out Jesus to the lowest.

      When I said, “So many people want to be great,” I should have said, “So many people want to have a great impact” or “So many people want to hear ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.'”

      Thank you for the challenge to this post. You are justified in what you said and I will be more careful in my descriptions!

  • A. Amos Love

    Chris

    Amen… Much agreement with… And sounds much better…

    “So many people want to hear ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.'”

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      Thanks Amos! Hang around more (or subscribe!) and keep me straight!

  • http://www.coachbrown.org/ Coach Brown

    The danger that exists is when we choose to get out front leading the way and we allow our enthusiasm to explain our innocent arrogance. Spiritual leaders may be a step ahead of those around them, but even the most impressive apostles were never out of step with Christ. When we get so confident that we forget we are not to forge our own ways, then spiritual, emotional and physical fatigue will surely be all we find along the way we have forged. Our quiet time is the anchor and the road map. The only Ministry Superstar should be Christ who we follow. If people are pointing to us as the Superstar then we are out front on our own. Trouble will follow… I speak this from experience.

    • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

      Great points Coach.

      I am reading back over my post and seeing that I never really defined what I meant by “superstar.” I am going to follow this post with another on Monday that clarifies my thoughts. One of the key characteristics in my mind is humility and the mind of a servant. I do not equate fame and power with being a ministry superstar. I should have been a little more clear about that – and maybe used a different term than superstar.

      Thanks for bringing it up!