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Casting Vision for the Next Chapter: Sun Valley Community Church

Back in the spring, I had the opportunity to facilitate a strategic planning retreat with the leadership team from Sun Valley Community Church. Sun Valley is a church with 7,000 people gathering in five locations in the Phoenix area. Many times, I don’t get the opportunity to see the vision move from the planning charts to reality. Because of that, I was encouraged to see this update. Check out the video below.

 

As I was listening to Chad give this update, these leadership thoughts came to mind:

1) Owners need updates.

If people invest prayer, time and money, they expect to hear about results.

2) The Lead Pastor can’t delegate vision-casting.

Although a team can develop new vision, the lead pastor is primarily responsible for casting the vision.

3) Multisite only works if you’re actually one church in multiple locations.

Sun Valley is Sun Valley in all five campuses. You get the same experience, the same teaching and the same ministry philosophy regardless of where you go.

4) It doesn’t take a big personality to lead a big church.

Chad is a strong leader and a great Bible teacher, but Sun Valley hasn’t experienced health and growth due to his personality. I personally think it’s due to the strength of the strategy and the team Chad has helped build.

5) It’s important to say “thank you.”

The vision can’t be accomplished without the contribution of people’s time, talent and treasure. If you’ve made an investment like that in the past, you know it’s good to hear “thank you.”

For more inspiration on how to cast vision for the future, check on Sun Valley’s website for details on The Next Chapter for how they plan to help people meet, know and follow Jesus.


About the Author: Tony Morgan
Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He’s written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.


Posted in Leadership, Testimonial

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Why Knowledge isn’t the Key to Team Leadership

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You don’t have to be the best at everything to lead the best team. I’ve seen church leaders of the past lead based on titles, having the most experience and knowing the most on the team, having the right answers, and being an expert authority. Church leadership is changing, and I think it’s changing for the better. Church leadership of the future is based on the leader’s ability to build the right kind of team culture that attracts high capacity team members. It takes humility, trust and the ability to give leadership away, not just keep it to yourself and tell everyone what to do.

If you have to know everything or be the one with the greatest expert knowledge on the team then eventually you will become the lid to growth.

While you don’t have to know everything, if you’re the leader you still need to be able to provide your team with the following 4 keys that unlock team success.

Clarity

Great leaders provide clarity to the team so that everyone knows where they’re going and what the objective and deliverables are. Clarity and pace are directly linked to one another. The greater the clarity the faster the team can move.

Resources

It’s really difficult to do a job without the right tools. Great leaders give their teams the tools, time and resources needed for them to succeed at their jobs.

Alignment

Great church leaders provide alignment for their teams. They coordinate all of the individual working pieces of the team into one direction. They have the ability to focus the finances, staff, volunteer teams, ministry calendar, communications, weekend services, and the discipleship pathway to move the entire church in one direction.

Care

In church-world our work is unique. It’s not about the bottom line or shareholder value. It’s about life-change. It’s distinctly spiritual work. Great church leaders understand this and they care for their teams along the way. They invest in them, they don’t just use them to get stuff done.


Posted in Staffing

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How do you know when it’s time to Leave your Church?

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Most people don’t stay at one place of employment their entire lives. If you work at a church, chances are you probably won’t work at that church the rest of your life. Most likely at some point you’re going to leave to go and start or work at another church.

There are all kinds of reasons why church staff leave the church they work at to go work another church. Some of those reasons are solid and make a lot of sense. Some of them as you could guess, not so much.

If you’re a church staff member and you’re trying to figure out if you should stay or if it’s time to go, here are a couple of principles you should keep in mind.

God’s Direction

I’ve said this many times before both in writing blog posts on staffing and personally 1-on-1 to church staff members. If you know God is calling you to something else, then that’s a great reason to leave a church. But you better be pretty sure that it was God you heard talking and not the pizza you had at 2:00am before you start waving around the, “it’s God will,” card.

You’re Asked to Leave

If you’re asked to leave your church staff job for whatever reason from downsizing, restructuring, poor fit, or poor performance you can be pretty sure that’s a good reason to leave a church.

Ongoing Conflict

It’s difficult to give your all to a church and be “all-in” when you don’t get along with the people you work with. Just because it’s a church doesn’t mean every personality will be able to work with every other personality. I’ve seen some staff stay too long at a church in an effort to “live at peace with all men,” thinking they’re ungodly if they can’t figure out how to work with everyone. It’s probably naïve to think you’ll be able to get along with everyone or work for anyone. It’s important to remember that relational and cultural chemistry matters.

Opportunity

Sometimes I’ve seen staff leave their current church because they’ve grown and they’re ready for a new challenge or greater responsibility, but their current church is unable to provide that challenge or opportunity.

Don’t Respect the Leadership

If you don’t respect the leader you’re serving under and you can’t, in good conscience, submit to their authority then it’s time to leave.

Don’t Agree with the Vision

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation. Someone (usually in a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th chair role) thinks that God has called them to speak for the Lord and help their poor Lead Pastor understand that it is time for the vision to change because they don’t agree with it. And they are just the person who has come down off of the mountain with the new blueprint for where the church should go next. Or on the other hand the vision is so unclear that people have a hard time understanding how to define success in their job, which leads to frustration, which leads to burnout. Either route you take you end up with a lot of frustration and an eventual job change.

The first two reasons (God’s direction and you’re asked to leave) are super clear and no brainer indicators that’s it’s time to go. The other four are not as easy to figure out. They can be indicators that it’s time to go or they can be excuses that you make to yourself that it’s time to go. You have to discern which it is.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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What makes a Great Executive Pastor Great?

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When I was starting out in full-time ministry more than twenty years ago if you had told me that I would one day serve as an Executive Pastor of a multi-mega church I would have asked you, “What’s that?”

More and more I’m running into young church leaders that aspire to be an Executive Pastor and I’m fielding more and more questions about what young leaders can do to prepare for the role. With that in mind, while this is not an exhaustive list, here are a couple of recommendations I’d make to any young church leader who thinks they may serve as an Executive Pastor (XP) one day.

1. Sober-mindedness

Understand who you are, come to terms with who you are, and then be who you are. It’s not uncommon for young church leaders to think big and want something bigger than they’re able to handle sooner than they’re ready for it. It takes a deep well of experience built over time to serve well in the XP role, not just talent.

2. Submission to Authority

In Matthew 8:5-13 the Roman Centurion demonstrates an incredible XP mindset (seriously click the link and read it). He understands what it’s like to be in authority so he has no problem submitting to authority. Great XP’s submit to the authority of the Lead Pastor. They challenge appropriately, they lead up and ultimately understand what it means to both be in authority and under authority at the same time.

3. Recruit, Place & Develop People

The church is ultimately about people development. The theological term is sanctification, the every day church term is discipleship. Whatever label you want to put on it great Executive Pastors are great at recruiting the right people, putting them in the right seat to succeed and developing them.

4. Organizational Alignment

The best XP’s I’ve ever been around have an uncanny sense of alignment. They’re playing chess not checkers. They’re constantly working and reworking the organizational alignment (staff, finances, facilities, communication, and ministries) of the church so it doesn’t become a lid to growth.

5. Fill the Gap between Vision and Reality

Great Executive Pastors fill the gap between vision and reality. In other words, they’re strategic in nature. They think “how” are we going to get “there”? But they’re not negative about that “how.” They’re solution oriented.

6. Get Theological and Business Training

It takes a heart for theology and a head for business to be a great XP. If you’ve got more of a business background then get some solid theological training. If you got a theological background then go get your MBA.

 7.The Church isn’t a Business

The Church isn’t a business. It has a clear mission from Jesus about why it exists, the best ones have clear vision regarding where they’re going, and they have strategies to align staff and other resources around. There are a lot of things that “smell” like a business in the church (after all the book of Proverbs in the Bible too), but it’s not a business. The church is the Body of Christ, it’s the family of God. The goal is not to make shareholders happy by having a strong bottom line, it’s life change.


Posted in Staffing

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10 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real

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Thank you for making September another great month here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s great staying connected with you through social media and hearing that these articles have been helpful. So, thank you for connecting with me through the content on this blog! You made these the top posts from this last month. If you missed out on any of them, here they are all in one place for your convenience!

What Separates Good Church Leaders from Great Church Leaders?

Over the past 20+ years of full-time ministry and 5+ years of consulting with churches and coaching church leaders around the country there are a few characteristics that I’ve observed that separate good church leaders from great church leaders.

8 Reasons Why People Don’t Volunteer at your Church

I’ve never worked with a church that has said they don’t need more volunteers. But I’ve worked with a bunch of churches that have trouble getting people to volunteer and stay engaged volunteering.

When to Invest in a Young Leader and when to Ignore them

Experienced leaders are always going to have more opportunities available to say yes to than capacity to meet them. This is true in leadership and this is true in developing young talent. You have to make a choice. So, choose wisely. How do you know who to invest in and who to ignore?

5 Reasons Why Churches Avoid Developing a Strategy

Churches avoid developing a strategy for all kinds of reasons. Many are tied to not wanting to use “business practices” in the church or not being “spirit led.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus has a strategy, and your church should too!

A Sneaky way to Change the Culture of your Church Staff Team

Here’s a low investment example of a sneaky way you can start changing the culture of your church staff team and ultimately your church.

Why Churches Decline and Die

Church decline can be avoided and even turned around. If your church is stuck or in decline I’d encourage you to start a conversation with the Unstuck Group. They have proven track record of helping churches get unstuck. Here are a couple big reasons, in no particular order, why churches decline and die.

You Get what you Tolerate

I talk to church leaders all the time who dream about how they wish their church were different. But I rarely talk to church leaders who are willing to take action and do something with all of that wishing. Just like in parenting, any relationship or social construct, in church leadership you get what you tolerate. If you tolerate bad behavior, you’re going to get bad behavior.

7 Questions to Help your Church determine the Location of your next Multisite Campus

If you church is thinking about launching a new multisite location in the next 18 months I’d encourage you to seriously think and talk through the following 7 questions with your Sr. Leadership Team to help you determine the next right location.

The Difference between Preparation and Planning

Do great organizations prepare for the future or do they plan for it? The answer is, “yes.” To be clear preparation and planning are not the same thing, and great organizations become great by doing both.

The Tension between Leadership and Power

A little bit of power can go to your head. Give some people a uniform, a title, or a little bit of authority and they can become a little overbearing and overzealous (the movie Mall Cop comes to mind). People often confuse power and leadership. I get it, leaders by perception have all the power and leaders often misuse power. But leadership and power are not the same thing.


Posted in Leadership
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