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Why Selfish Players Lose But Sometimes Win

If you’ve ever been on a team you know that from time to time you’re going to come across a ball-hog. You know the type, a selfish player whose goal is to become a human highlight reel in order to get to the next level. They don’t care about the team or respect the game. In fact they use the game and the team to get what they want, which usually means notoriety and the admiration of others. The sad truth is that this doesn’t just show up on the field or on the court but it shows up on church staff teams as well.

1. Selfish Players Wear Everyone Out

It’s exhausting to have a selfish player on the team. They have to talk in every meeting, their idea has be the one that is used, they have a tendency to blame others when things go wrong, and the coach has to handle them with kid gloves. An exorbitant amount of energy gets put into managing around these players’ and it’s usually tolerated because of the talent they bring to the table. But the reality is no matter how appealing it may look to have that talent on the team, eventually the price you pay in keeping them on the team ends up wearing out the team.

2. Losing with a Selfish Player Accelerates the Process

Losing is no fun for anyone. But it gets worse when you have a selfish player on the team. When you have a player that has to be the center of attention and the game starts slipping away and you begin to lose, that player simply becomes more of who they already are. They pass less, they take shots earlier in the shot clock, and they get visibly upset with other players. If you’ve got a selfish player on the team and the game goes south, everyone else on the team will have the tendency to give up and throw the towel in faster due to the lack of morale on the team.

3. Selfish Players Win Sometimes

You can win with a selfish player. In fact depending on how talented the player is you can win a lot of games with a selfish player. But you can’t win championships with a selfish player. Players on championship teams have to give up their own interests and ego and become a role player on the team for the betterment of the team. Many churches are stuck because they have an incredibly talented player that has carried the team on their back, but has taken them as far as they can on their own. To move forward will mean taking a new approach and playing a role on the team instead of carrying the team.

4. Great Players Make Good Players Better

The greatest single determining factor between a good player and a great player is that good players play their role and carry their load, while great players not only play their role but they elevate everyone else’s game by the way they play. They find the open player in transition; they know how to distribute the ball and who to get it to in what situation. They know when to push the tempo and when to slow things down. When things go wrong they gather the team together and look everyone in the eye and encourage the team to get on the same page. They don’t shrink back under pressure and in clutch moments not only do they want the ball, but the other players on the team want them to have the ball.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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You Are Who You Hire

As a kid I can remember being coerced into eating my broccoli with phrases like, “you are what you eat.” Well…that and a lot of melted cheese. And while that’s true when it comes to eating healthy, the principle also holds true when it comes to who you hire. If you lead long enough and well enough than eventually you are going to have to hire and fire people on your team. Hiring a new team member is a powerful and often overlooked moment in many churches and organizations. It’s an opportunity for an infusion of new talent, new ideas, if done well it challenges the status qua, and you inherit a brand new library of experiences to learn from. A hire that’s done well raises the water line for the entire team.

The reason that a new hire is so powerful and pivotal is because people lead out of who they are and the organization or church always takes on the personality of the leader. In other words, you are who you hire. No matter what their skill set, abilities, experiences or personality is; people always lead through the filter of their unique identity. That’s why these next two statements are so important.

Hire from the inside when you like what you already have.

If you like the culture of what you already have in your church or organization, if you like the direction things are going and you want to keep going that way then hire from within. Because people who are on the inside already get your culture, the way you do things, and the direction you’re going.

Hire from the outside when you want to change what you have.

If you are ready for a change in culture, direction, way of doing things, an upgrade in talent or a new skill set is needed in your church or organization then it’s time to hire from the outside. Because if the people inside were going to lead it there they would already be doing it.

People lead out of who they are, and if they’re not who you are, or who you want to be, then don’t hire them. Because you are who you hire.


Posted in Staffing

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How to Convice Your Sr. Pastor to Join a Small Group

One of the most common points of frustration I hear from church leaders around the country is, “My Senior Pastor wants Small Groups to be a big deal at our church, but they won’t be in a Small Group themselves.” And the natural follow up question that’s asked right after that statement, “How do I get my Senior Pastor to be in a Small Group?” In an attempt to answer that question, here are a couple of steps you can take to help convince your Sr. Pastor that they need to be in a Small Group.

#1 Have a Plan

Don’t pester or nag your Sr. Pastor, this won’t get you anywhere. Come up with a clear plan, presentation, or pitch. Get on their calendar (schedule an appointment) and walk into that meeting with a plan. Don’t take more than 30 minutes. If you can’t cover it in 30 minutes, you’re not ready to cover it at all.

#2 Moral Authority

“Join Me” is always a better motivator than “You Should.” Help your Sr. Pastor understand that people in the church will more readily follow their example than their prescription. If the Sr. Pastor wants to have a church of Small Groups then they need to be in one. The church will always end up taking on the personality of the Sr. Leader.

#3 Let them Hand Pick the Group

Many Sr. Pastors are truly fearful of being vulnerable, and many of them are fearful for good reason. At the first sign of a crack in the armor or that they’re actually human many churchgoers call foul. So let them hand pick their group that they’re going to be in so they feel safe.

#4 Try Before You Buy

Challenge them to try it for one semester (the start of the school year to Christmas break or January to the end of the school year). At the end of that semester if they still think it’s a waste of time, no worries. At least they’ll have first-hand experience to be able to speak about it in a personal manner.

#5 Give them Good Reasons to Join a Group

There is a whole list of good reasons your Sr. Pastor should be in a Small Group. Make a list and talk to them about it. Here are a few examples:

  • They’ll grow in their relationship with Jesus (life change happens best in circles not rows)
  • They’ll make new friends that will care and encourage them (What Sr. Pastor couldn’t use more of that?)
  • It gives them moral authority (see point #2 above) and hence leadership credits with the church as a whole – it makes them a better leader
  • It’s something they can do with their spouse (score more brownie points)
  • Tell them they don’t have to lead it…just participate in it (you’re not adding more work for them to do)
  • It provides a personal accountability structure (it’s easier to stand for Jesus when you’re standing with friends)
  • Heck, Jesus was in a “Small Group” right? (Think the 12 Disciples)
  • You can probably think of more…but this should get you started

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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A Large Multisite Church in Phoenix is Hiring a High School Pastor

I’m pleased to announce a new Staff Search. Sun Valley Community Church, is beginning a search for a High School Pastor to serve on our Tempe Campus. Sun Valley began as a church plant in 1990 in Chandler, Arizona. Over the years Sun Valley has grown into a large mult-site church in the Phoenix metro area. Currently there are three campuses located in Gilbert, Tempe and Casa Grande with a total weekend attendance of over 5,000 people. Sun Valley was recently named by Outreach Magazine as one of the top 10 fastest growing churches in America. The Tempe Campus is the result of a merger in October of 2011 with Bethany Community Church. In the merger Sun Valley acquired a 16-acre, 8 building campus with over 100,000 sq. ft. under roof. Since the merger the campus has doubled in attendance and at present attendance is over 1,000. When fully utilized the campus capacity will accommodate 7,000 people. Sun Valley was recently featured in a new book by Leadership Network about church mergers: Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work. To learn more about that story click here Part-1 and Part-2.

Interested in learning more? Continue reading below…

Continue Reading…


Posted in Staffing

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How to Develop Young Leaders

Volumes have been written about investing in and developing young leaders. While there are a lot of great resources out there I think often times we over-complicate what it means to develop young leaders. In fact here are four simple steps that Sr. Level Leaders can take to invest in the next generation of leaders.

Invite Them to the Big Table

Remember sitting at the kids’ table during Thanksgiving dinner growing up? A simple way to invest in young leaders is to invite them to the big table. Give them access to attend Sr. Leadership Team meetings and see how seasoned leaders work with one another and make high level leadership decisions.

Take Them With You

One of the easiest and most overlooked opportunities Sr. Leaders have to invest in the next generation of leaders is to simply take them with you. Meetings, trips, speaking engagements, training opportunities, etc. Just let them be around you and watch you do what you do, the conversations you have and the decisions you make. Then let them ask questions and debrief what they observed.

Resource Them

Resource them with books, articles, blogs, and trainings that support the thinking, behaviors, and culture your church is trying to build. But don’t leave it there. Make sure you take the time to discuss key leanings and applications.

Give Them Opportunities

The best kind of training is on the job training. And leadership isn’t learned in a classroom…it’s learned by leading. Identify, create, and give young leaders the opportunity to lead small projects.

Having Difficulty Identifying Young Leaders on Your Team? A good place to start is before every hire you make or every volunteer you place begin asking yourself, “How young can we go with this next hire or volunteer placement and still get the job done?” Questions like this will begin to shift the thinking of your Sr. Leaders. Which will result in changing the behaviors of your church or organization.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing
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