A Large Multisite Church in Phoenix is Hiring a Preteen Pastor


I’m pleased to announce a new Staff Search. Sun Valley Community Church, the church I have the honor of serving at, is beginning a national search for a Preteen Pastor to lead the ministry to 5th & 6th grade students on our Gilbert 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 Gilbert Campus is the original and largest campus with well over 3,500 in weekly average attendance. 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.

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Posted in Staffing


Leading Through Change: What Game is Your Church Playing?


On a regular basis at Sun Valley Community Church (the church I have the honor of serving at) we get the staff together from all three campuses for leadership development and training. This past week one of our Lead Pastors, Chad Moore, shared about the different games that churches play. I thought I’d share with you some of the key take-aways and learnings. Do you know what game your church is playing? Follow this link to learn more about the “4 Stages of a Church Staff Team.”


“When the organization changes, there are changes within the organization.”

1. Never forget, growth changes everything

  • A small church, mid-sized church, and large church are completely different animals.
  • There is a big difference between an organizational shift and a cultural shift…and often times it’s hard to see the difference.
  • Leaders who are leading through significant growth and change are typically accused of being unloving, unkind, or uncaring.

2. 4 Games that Churches Play

Game #1: The Track Star The track star performs alone. They may train with others and their score may affect an overall team win, but they operate by themselves. This is the solo pastor.

Game #2: Golfing Buddies The primary value is the relational feel of the team. The score doesn’t matter. High performers and low performers can still play the same game together and have fun.

Game #3: The Basketball Team Basketball is a team sport not a friendship sport. It requires working together, trusting one another and sharing the ball.

Game #4: The Football Team Football can be a dangerous game if you think you’re still playing track, golf, or basketball. In the game of football there are highly specialized roles and teamwork is essential.

3. The Two Biggest Challenges of Game Change

  • Relational overload: You know that the game has changed when you find yourself spending a lot of time managing relationships.
  • Increased miscommunication: Exponential growth increases complexity.

4. How do You when know You’re Stuck and the Game needs to Change?

  • You’re focused on the past instead of the future (fear instead of faith)
  • You’re continually hanging around the 19th hole with the same people (same staff / same volunteers)
  • You tend to value the experience more than the results (protection instead of progress)
  • You tend to value your personal role more than the mission (instead of asking what’s best for the church I ask what’s best for me)

Photo Credit: Mariano Kamp via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership


5 Articles that will Help Your Church Make Vision Real


Thank you for making July a great month here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s great staying connected with you through social media and hearing about how helpful different articles have been. So, thank you for connecting with me through the content on this blog! You made these the top 5 Posts from this last month. If you missed out on any of them, here they are all in one place for your convenience!

#1 10 Things You Lose When Your Church Grows

It’s impossible for your church to grow and everything to stay the same. I know it would be nice if everything could stay the same as the church grows, but it can’t. And the secret underlying truth is as your church grows you will lose some things along the way. But that’s kind of the point. You simply can’t move from here (current reality) to there (preferred future) and everything stay the way it is. If it did, you’d never get “there,” you’d just stay where you are. Understanding that, here are 10 things you lose when your church grows.

#2 9 Big Decisions that will Change Your Church

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to sit down with a group of Executive Pastors who are serving in churches of 5,000+ and during the conversation I heard them talk about some of the best decisions they’ve made over the recent history of their churches that have made the greatest impact. I thought I’d share some of those thoughts here with you and give you the opportunity to learn from some incredible leaders that are in the trenches! Could it be that one of these decisions is the one that will make all the difference this year at your church?

#3 6 Things Your Church Should Know About Core Values

Left to themselves organizations…including churches, drift. It can happen to the best of us if we’re not careful. As organizations and churches grow they naturally become more complex. There are more assets to allocate, more people to manage, decisions seem to have greater consequences than did when you were smaller and more nimble, and those decisions seem to just keep coming faster and faster. It is easy to become consumed with the business of running the church. But just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re taking ground.

#4 10 Findings from New Research on Church Communications

Recently, The Unstuck Group released its latest research report: Say What?! Key Research on Church Communications. We paused to ask 186 churches about the ways in which they communicate. Here are the 10 most interesting findings from that research:

#5 4 Reasons Short-Term Mission Trips Still Work

In recent years many churches have been backing away from sending teams of volunteers on short-term international mission trips. Some argue that such initiatives are ineffective, a waste of resources, and even hurtful to the advancement of the Gospel.

Photo Credit: justin fain via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership


4 Principles of Highly Effective Churches


This past week the Unstuck Group met in Atlanta for our annual planning and team gathering. Not only is it an incredible team to be a part of but also it’s incredibly rewarding to help churches all around the world get unstuck, which ultimately results in the Kingdom of God taking ground and more people saying yes to follow Jesus!

There is genuine excitement on the team, a sense of unity of purpose and calling to help churches get unstuck, and frankly there’s momentum. But even with the positive momentum and sense of winning there were a few key principles that came up repeatedly in our time together. And as a local church guy at heart I was reminded of these four key principles that all highly effective local churches employ.

1. The Team Outperforms the Individual

It was exciting and humbling to be in the room with the whole Unstuck Group at the same time. It really is a high powered, highly talented, experience rich group. When you hire the Unstuck Group you’re not just hiring a single consultant, you’re bringing the experience of the whole team to the table. As we dreamed about the future and built plans to get us there it was incredible to watch the team make ideas stronger than any individual would alone.

2. Plan Your Work & Work Your Plan

An old Japanese Proverb states that, “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” Most churches are either busy daydreaming or stuck in a nightmare. Fortunately the art of planning and turning vision into focused action is a core strength of the Unstuck Group. It was fun to apply tools that we typically use to help churches get unstuck to our own future and action required to get there.

3. Guard the Gate

You become who you hire. Successful churches are borderline fanatical about who they allow to join the team. They know that people build culture and with each hire they either move closer to, or further away from the culture they’re trying to build.

4. Lean into the Fountain of Youth

Every great ministry started as an idea, but not every idea ends up being a great ministry. The key question is are you generating new ideas? Do you have a drawer full of “fountain of youth ideas” to implement when the time is right. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. And you’ll age out as a church. Great churches innovate, are idea rich, and discover new solutions to old problems.

Photo Credit: Stuck in Customs via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership


6 Simple Steps to Help your Church become more Generous

The Quest for Change

Generosity is not something that Jesus wants from you. It’s something He wants for you. Generous churches and church leaders who understand the generous nature of the God that we serve help the people in their churches become more generous.

1. Never use Guilt as a Motivator

People feel bad enough about themselves; they don’t need churches to make it worse. Attach giving to celebration, joy and obedience.

2. Say it Over, and Over, and Over Again

Clear is always better than clever or cute. Churches that consistently teach and say the same thing about money do a better job with this.

3. Stay Away from a Prosperity Gospel

Giving is not a tactic to manipulate or get something from God but rather give something to God.

4. Identity

Connect generosity to your identity. For example, “We are a serving/giving community.” “We are a multiplying/outreach church.” “We are here because the generation before us gave.”

5. Simple Clear Method

Make it easy for people to participate through online giving, text giving, and reoccurring automatic withdrawal.

6. Celebrate Life-Change

Lead with the mission and put life-change on display. This reminds people that it’s all about people meeting Jesus and their lives changing…not money.

Photo Credit: jDevaun via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation
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