Tuesday, June 30, 2009


This week I was blessed to spend some time away after such a hard run at getting everything prepared for my book The Superman Syndrome to get printed. After a crazy journey, Im excited to say that I will get the first copy of the book by the end of next week. But enough about the book,  this week I got to go on  a road trip with Ashley and our good friends Ryan and Haley.  My parents flew to meet us for the last part of our vacation. It was great to get away from the busyness of life and be able to go with the flow with very little worries.  On Sunday I had quite an experience, the reality of no longer being in my twenties came abruptly as I celebrated my 30 birthday. But I have to say that God has blessed me tremendously in my 30 years of living. It has been an incredible roller coaster ride thus far. The ride has been filled with times of great joy, seasons of hurt, moments of success, and vivid times of struggles. Yet, I am grateful for each one of those ocurences, because without them I wouldn't be who I am today. 

Live to Love.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009




Chapter 1 The Superman Syndrome

As a little boy, I practically idolized him. 

Who didn’t? Who wouldn’t want to be 

Superman? He is an American cultural 

icon that has fascinated scholars and 

critics alike as they explore the char- 

acter’s impact on individuals and society 

as a whole. When I was a kid, my 

Saturday mornings were booked solid— 

you got it!—right in my living room in front of the television 

set, living my life and my dreams of glory through cartoon after 

cartoon. Superman was one of my favorites. 

One memorable Saturday, I had an epiphany—I decided I 

could BE Superman! I ran to my room and donned my 

Superman cape, which I was sure possessed superpowers. I 

climbed to the highest point of our living room couch, ready to 

make my debut. I was going to fly like Superman. With knees 

trembling in fear, I trusted my powers and heroically jumped. 

Up and away! (Okay, so I wasn’t always the brightest crayon in 

the box!) 

In midair, I realized my Superman cape was no contest for 

gravity. In a blink of an eye, I was lying facedown on the floor in 

terrible pain. The cartoon echoed in the background, “It’s a bird! 

It’s a plane! It’s SUPERMAN!” and I tragically realized that he 

wasn’t me! Hours later when I finally admitted to my parents 

how badly I was hurt, we discovered I had a broken collarbone. I 

learned a hard lesson that day: there was only one Superman, 

and I wasn’t him! I simply needed to be who I was supposed to 

be and not someone else. 

Sadly enough, this is the same reality for many church 

leaders. We read, we observe, and we research what is fueling 

other leaders and their churches—the reasons why they are 

growing. Then we try to mass-produce the formula that worked 

for them. We become generic plastic clones of someone else’s 

convictions and inspirations. It took me a while but I finally re- 

alized that there is only one Billy Graham and I wasn’t him. 

There is only one Martin Luther King, Jr. and I’m obviously not 

him either. I am and only can be Chad Mitchell, but I wasn’t 

becoming the Chad Mitchell that Christ created me to be. 

Please don’t misunderstand me; I wholeheartedly believe 

that every Christian should have role models to inspire and en- 

courage them—that “cloud of witnesses” spoken about in 

Hebrews. But if all I do is copycat another person or idea, I my- 

self will become purposeless—empty and burned out as a result 

of not pursuing my own unique gifts. I can’t do another person’s 

job. I can only do what God has uniquely called me to do. No 

matter what role we carry in ministry, we are all designed and 

created for a special purpose—a purpose no one else can fulfill. 

One is no less and no greater than the other because it takes all 

of us to fulfill God’s plan. Through nothing less than the inspi- 

ration of the Holy Spirit, Paul clarifies God’s plan in practical 

terms to which we can all relate: 

But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part 

just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it 

had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one 

body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” 

The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you” (1 Cor. 

12:18-21 NLT). 

In the verses above, Paul vividly confirms that each one of 

us has an exclusive part to play in the greatest story ever written: 

the redemption of man through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. As 

pastors, leaders, and even laymen, we make up the church: the 

body of Christ. A pastor alone is not the whole church. Just as 

the eye cannot do the hand’s job, I cannot do Francis Chan’s job. 

God has placed him in Simi Valley, California, to minister and 

serve in ways that I can’t serve in Abilene, Texas. I respect and 

admire his ministry and outreach. I can gain insight into min- 

istry by learning from him, but I can’t be him. My church can’t 

and shouldn’t be his church. God’s purpose for me within my 

church is exclusive only to me, and if I try to be Chan or 

Graham or Osteen, I will fall to the ground broken just as I did 

when I tried to be Superman. 

As I’ve studied spiritual growth both individually and within 

the church over the years, one very glaring and apparent truth 

proves itself time and time again—churches grow and thrive 

simply because God is alive and present working in the lives of 

the leaders and the church body. The methods and formulas 

only work when we let God use us as leaders and pastors to 

meet specific needs and goals within our individual ministries. 

We are uniquely created, each one of us designed for a special 


When I first became a pastor, I would read everything I 

could concerning church growth, the new worship trends, fail- 

safe outreach methods, as well as all of the megachurch/super star 

pastor success stories. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if there were 

a guaranteed method to make our churches grow? Wouldn’t we 

all want our church to grow like Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church 

in Houston? Or do we really? Over time, I finally realized that 

there is no single growth prescription that works in all cases and 

cultures. I was quickly becoming so consumed with modeling 

other pastors and churches, I began to morph into someone who 

was not genuine—a cheap imitation of whom God intended. I 

had to come to the realization that the assembly line of mass 

production had to cease, that God created me with unique abili- 

ties to impact my sphere of influence. I finally realized that for 

me to be the pastor and the man God wants me to be, I have to 

empty myself of all my superhero notions and megachurch ideas 

so the Holy Spirit can work in me and through me fulfilling the 

unique purpose God has for me. 

How often we look at someone else’s success and fame and 

we become less content with our own ministry. If I forget even 

for a season that my church is the Body of Christ, not the body 

of Chad or the coolest pastor I most recently read about, I will 

get trapped in the “Superman Syndrome,” trying to do ministry 

on my terms, not His. Have you found yourself in that position 

yet? We want so much to be effective in ministry that we be- 

come so full of ideas and visions—our own as well as the latest 

greatest church leaders—that we lose sight of the fact that we 

are His servants, not His superstars. All that we do must point 

to Him and only Him. Many of us remember one of the contes- 

tants from the sixth season of American Idol, Chris Sligh. He 

risked his fame and fortune as the next American Idol to fulfill 

God’s unique purpose, and though he came in tenth place that 

season, he shared the message of grace and salvation through his 

performances. While on tour with the American Idol, he wrote 

a hit single, “Empty Me” that exemplifies the need to get rid of 

ambitions and foolishness that we often disguise as ministry. 

God has called us to share the gospel of Christ, not the 

gospel of the next best thing. All the greatest schemes and lofty 

visions of other pastors and other churches will not make my 

church, Mission Abilene, just like Lakewood Church nor 

should I want that for my church. My calling is to be right 

where I am, sharing the love and grace of Jesus Christ through 

exercising my own unique God-given abilities. No one else’s 

step-by-step ministry plan can embellish what God has called 

me to do. He gave me only one model to follow that doesn’t re- 

ally have anything to do with worship style, the size of the 

church building, or the clothes we wear. There is only one true 

way to be Christian—to live out the name and to be like Jesus 

Christ. I don’t need a secret formula or superhuman powers; I 

just have to commit to love and to live as He did—an extraordi- 

nary life. 

As each one of us begins to contemplate God’s inimitable 

purpose for ourselves as individuals and leaders, I pray that we 

first of all set aside all our ambitions. Let’s rid ourselves of what 

we want and let the Spirit fill us with the desire and the deter- 

mination to fulfill His plan. As I share my story and insights, 

our goal is not that you would copy my ministry style or for me 

to lay out step-by-step explicit instructions for you to follow to 

the letter, but rather for you to use my experiences to discover 

how to make your lives and your ministry fulfilled according to 

God’s divine design. As we lead and minister in our churches, 

our families, and our communities, I hope that each one of us 

can daily pray the same words that Chris prayed and sang in his 

fifteen minutes of fame. Isn’t it funny that although he lost and 

didn’t live out his own dream as the next “American Idol,” he 

still won in God’s purpose and plan? The echoes of his heart 

and his ministry still ring true. As I share my heart with you, my 

prayer is that I will allow God to do the same for me, “Lord, 

please empty me.” 



First and foremost, my intention is to inspire and chal- 

lenge fellow Christian leaders to dare to be the leaders God 

has called us to be, developing a ministry identity and style 

that reaches the unique needs of those within our individual 

spheres of influence. It is my prayer that this book will 

rekindle each leader’s passion and desire to seek the true heart 

of Christ as they, in turn, challenge those within their reach. 

Second, this book exposes the average American church 

member’s common misconception that it is the sole responsi- 

bility of church leaders or the pastor to share the gospel. 

Regardless if we want to admit it or not, God ushers each 

one of us into place of leadership the very moment that we 

choose to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. In Romans 

10:14-15 (NLT), Paul explains: 

But how can they call on him to save them unless they be- 

lieve in him? And how can they believe in him if they 

have never heard about him? And how can they hear 

about him unless someone tells them? And how will 

anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why 

the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messen- 

gers who bring Good News!” 

In all of His infinite wisdom, God could have selected 

any vehicle possible to share the message of His gospel. But 

He didn’t, He chose mankind to be His spokesman—to share 

our own personal salvation experience with others who don’t 

know Him. Once we have encountered the Christ of the 

Cross and we believe the miracle and victory of His resurrec- 

tion, we are chosen to share the redemption story with others. 

He saves us and in turn, we are called to tell others. 

But He didn’t suddenly give us superhuman powers to save 

them ourselves. That’s not our job. He calls us to use our own 

unique abilities—and yes, our weaknesses also—to offer the 

rest of humanity the opportunity to accept the same saving 

grace we have so freely received. We speak; He saves. You see, 

we didn’t “choose” a career: He chose us to be His hands, His 

feet, and His voice! In that order: He calls us; we answer and 




Truth. Big word. We are living and ministering in a world that 

believes there is no such thing as absolute truth. Those thoughts 

permeate throughout our culture and, sadly, our churches.  Recently, 

I was studying the book of Ruth and was reminded of the story’s 

setting: “in the days when the judges ruled” (Ruth 1:1 ESV). As I 

tried to imagine what that world would look like, the final words of 

the book of Judges rang in my head, “in those days there was no 

king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 

21:25 ESV).  I thought, “Wow, what a horrible time to be alive!” 

and then I realized we are living in the same sort of days. Everyone 

is doing what is right in their own eyes! Truth today has taken on 

an entirely different meaning. Many of those we are ministering to 

doubt the existence of absolute truth. The reality is they believe that 

their truth is truth. Whatever they think, feel, or believe about 

something is truth to them, including the Bible. 

The worst part is that there are pastors who are innocently be- 

ginning to bend on truth in their ministries due to a lack of focus 

from the King of kings to peripheral items that are not making a 

bit of difference for the kingdom. We are driven to look the part in 

every way and to have what we believe will bring in the people. 

The question is: What are we sacrificing for this? We are trying to 

do it all: big buildings, bright lights, snappy music, and slick cam- 

paigns. There is nothing inherently wrong with those things except 

that other things are taking the back seat such as prayer, study, and 

biblical truth on Sundays. 

Have we become so busy running our churches that we have 

forgotten the Truth? Are we contemplative at all or are we too 

busy? We shake our heads when we think of those in this culture 

that are beginning to pass on truth, all the while allowing them to 

creep in and take control of our churches. We are contributing to 

the putrid relativism of our time! That is why the book you hold in 

your hand is so refreshing. It is nothing but truth.  As I read 

through it, I found myself cut to the core many times. I needed to 

hear some of the things Chad has written here, as I often think 

that I am the modern day church Superman. I had to deal with a 

lot of issues during my time on these pages. And you know what, it 

was great! I am fortunate to have many friends that are pastors, 

evangelists, educators, and missionaries. I love them all dearly but 

shudder to think how many of us sweep things under the rug. 

Chad Mitchell has exposed his heart for the Lord and for 

people in a very powerful way. We do think we can do it all. We 

want to do it all. We want to make a difference for Jesus. But we 

sometimes get so busy trying to do it all that we lose focus on the 

one thing that truly matters—Jesus and His love. What are we 

trying to do, build our kingdom or His? My friend has exposed 

himself and his ministry in unbelievable ways in the following 

pages, and I pray that you read this as I did—prayerfully ask the 

Lord to show you ways to move your ministry back toward truth, 

not your truth, but the truth found in the Scriptures and at the 

Cross. We have all done what this books speaks of. The question is, 

will we be open to change or continue trying to be Supermen? 

Thanks, Chad, for sharing truth and love. Thanks for ripping back 

the false fa├žade that surrounds so many of us today. Thanks for re- 

minding us of the real Truth and for making us take an inventory 

of our lives and ministries. 

Don’t put this book down until you have allowed it to absorb 

into your ministry. Buy a copy and give it to your best friend in 

ministry. May these words start a revolution for the One who gave 

His life for us. Let’s allow these words to change our focus from 

ourselves back to Alpha and Omega. I pray you are blessed by 

these life changing pages. 

Trace Michaels, Pastor, 

South Pointe Church, Abilene, Texas 

Time, Where has it gone?

Wow, WHERE HAS TIME GONE?  I got word today from my publisher that I will receive my first copy of my book The Superman Syndrome the 2nd week of July. Then later on that week I will fly to Denver for a book signing at the CBA Conference, the biggest, international book conference in the world. God has truly blessed me. Writing this book has been such an exciting adventure. The hardships, the late hours,  and the countless phone calls, in the end HAS definitely been worth it.  My greatest prayer for this book is that all that read it will truly be inspired to be who they are suppose to be in Christ. In the next several post I want to give you a little glimpse of the book. Please feel free to pass this on to all your friends and mentors. 

Live to Love.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Wow it has been ages since I have posted anything on here...life has been quite crazy, but productive. Since my last post, I must say that I did end up signing a contract with a publishing company named Rev Press an imprint of Evergreen Publishing. The book has changed titles, it will be called The Superman Syndrome. It will be released this summer.