Tag Archive - baptism

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6 Signs that You’re Leading a Healthy Church

Jesus is into results. I know I’m going to lose a lot of readers at those 4 little words. But I really believe it’s true. Read the scriptures and Jesus actually has a plan that He’s working to make everything new and fix what we broke. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul talk about it in terms of producing “fruit.” That’s the Biblical language ascribed to producing results.

Healthy churches produce results and you can know if your church is healthy by the results it’s producing. And while I’d quickly admit that none of the items on this list guarantee a healthy church, you probably can’t lead a healthy church without these things.

1. Baptisms

The Church isn’t a building that you come to, it’s a movement you chose to be a part of. The whole point of this thing called the Church is to join God in His mission to reach everyone on the planet with the Good News of Jesus. Healthy churches aren’t simply growing churches, they help new people meet Jesus and follow Him. The lead indicator of that is post-conversion baptism.

2. Divorce Rate

Is the divorce rate of the people in your church lower than that of the community your church is located in? Jesus said His people would be known by the quality of their relationships (love for one another). This is a simple and tangible way to get to the everyday effectiveness of your church.

3. Financial Strength

This is not just a question about the amount of money you have in savings, although I’m a big fan of churches having reserves and margin (I think the book of Proverbs is a big fan of that too). An often-overlooked indicator of financial strength in a church is its capacity to respond to opportunities that Jesus provides. Essentially healthy churches put themselves in a financial position to say yes to Jesus when He asks them to do something. The Scriptures clearly connect financial generosity to spiritual maturity.

4. Span of Care

It’s well documented that the best C-suite Executives of Fortune 500 Companies (i.e. some of the best leaders on the planet) manage around 7 direct reports. What’s the span of care at your church? If your staff team is directly managing more volunteers than that, you’re probably just filling volunteer spots, not developing people. Your span of care is a lead indicator of how well you’re doing as a church at developing people, not just using people.

5. Staff Restructures

You may have never thought of this before but staff promotions and restructures can be an indicator of a healthy church. Are the staff at your church growing in their roles and responsibility? Growing churches have to restructure their staff team to both respond to and catalyze healthy growth. Staff promotions are an indication of churches investing in, developing, and recognizing the growth of their staff team members. Churches that are plateaued or dying restructure to accommodate layoffs and decline.

6. Numerical Growth

So, I saved this one for last. But I couldn’t leave it off the list. Healthy things grow. But so does cancer, and nobody wants that. Just because it’s growing doesn’t mean it’s healthy, but…if it’s healthy it will grow.

Interested in discovering how healthy your church is? Take the step and engage the Unstuck Group in a comprehensive Ministry Health Assessment of your church!


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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Why I Love Working at Sun Valley Community Church

When I was a freshman in High School I prayed a prayer, begging God to let me to be a part of helping thousands of people meet Him. It’s crazy to think that all of these years later God is answering those prayers.

Every year at Sun Valley Community Church we share wins from the previous year of ministry and I thought I’d share them with you. I hope this is encouraging to you, inspires you, and prompts you to pray for the ministry of Sun Valley.

Ministry isn’t all about the numbers, it’s about life change. That’s why I’m excited about these numbers, because they represent lives that are being changed.  These numbers below represent stories of people who Sun Valley has helped meet, know and follow Jesus.

  • 1,034 people said yes to following Jesus
  • 799 people were baptized
  • 506 people strengthened their marriage through our marriage ministry
  • More than 3,800 people attended a Sun Valley Campus for the first time
  • More than 2,000 people are a part of a volunteer team
  • More than 3,300 people are a part of a small group where they’re building great friendships centered around Gods’ Word
  • We’ve ministered to more than 1,600 kids and students every week
  • More than 300 people went on a short-term mission trip
  • 76 families paid off more than $750,000 of debt through our financial ministry
  • More than 1.6 Million Dollars went outside the 4-walls of Sun Valley Community Church to help people all over the world meet, know and follow Jesus
  • We opened our 5th Campus on Christmas Eve with more than 1,900 people in attendance and 30 people said yes to following Jesus!

You’re allowed to celebrate right along with us. The Kingdom of God is taking ground through the ministry of Sun Valley! It’s humbling and exciting to see prayers I prayed years ago as a freshman in High School answered all of these years later. So pray big prayers and take big risks, because we have a big God, and He still does big things! I’d encourage you, if the Lord brings us to your mind, pray for us as we continue to help the thousands who don’t yet know Jesus meet, know, and follow Him.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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The 5 Most Important Indicators of a Healthy Church

Numbers can be overwhelming. I’ve seen churches keep numbers and measure all kinds of things. First time guests, returning guests, empty parking stalls during services, kids attendance, student attendance, short-term mission trip participation, first time givers, on and on the list goes…literally. None of these (or other categories not listed) are necessarily bad things to measure. In fact in totality they can help you gain understanding as to which direction things are moving at your church. The thing is, there are a lot of things you could measure, a lot of things you could pay attention to. But what are the most important things to pay attention to? I know some people will disagree with me, but based on my experience working with churches around the country, and being a guy that’s in the trenches day to day at a local church, the 5 most important numbers to keep a pulse on are the following.

1. Baptisms

You can measure first time guests and the number of people who say yes to following Jesus (and you should); but the most important number to measure in all of that is baptisms, because the other two numbers are wrapped up in the number of people being baptized at your church. And after all, this is the whole point of the church to help people follow Jesus, and a public declaration of that intent is a huge part of that process.

2. Volunteers

The number of unique volunteers you have serving at your church tells you two really important things. First it tells you who is with you. Who is bought into the vision of where you believe Jesus is uniquely leading your church. After all in today’s’ world it’s a lot easier to give some money than it is to give time. These are all-in people. It also helps you identify and develop potential leaders in your church, because volunteering is discipleship. You can’t follow Jesus without learning to live an others oriented life!

3. Groups

Simply put life-change happens best in groups…in the context of friendships, because after all what we are being discipled to when we follow Jesus, is friendship with Jesus. This is where people “work out” their belief system and begin to change their thinking. This number gives you an indicator of the number of people who are being discipled and moving towards what Jesus wants them to become.

4. Giving

You cannot follow Jesus without giving and serving. Giving is an indicator of the level of buy-in people have in the direction you’re moving as a church. Healthy churches have a strategy to help their people become more generous. Not because they want something from them, but because they want something for them. They want them to look and live like Jesus. They aren’t simply teaching or telling their people to give, there is a holistic strategy to help them move towards becoming generous like Jesus.

5. Attendance

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? It may be simple but attendance numbers matter. Numbers count because people count. Every number has a name and every name has a story. The goal of the Gospel movement, called the Church, that Jesus started was not that it would get smaller and less influential, but rather that it would become a movement that would go to the ends of the Earth!

Interested in discovering how healthy your church is? Take the step to engage the Unstuck Group in a comprehensive Ministry Health Assessment of your church!

Photo Credit: griseldangelo1 via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Volunteers

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2012 in the Rearview Mirror

When you’re in the middle of the fray it’s often difficult to see what kind of progress you’re making. That’s why it’s helpful from time to time to take a step back and review the ground you’ve taken and celebrate the wins! After all what gets celebrated, gets repeated! So here are some of the ministry highlights that I experienced in 2012!

1. Multisite & Merger

Being a part of leading through the transition from one campus to three campuses and a church merger has been one of the most exciting opportunities I’ve ever had to lead through. To read more about it follow this link.

2. Fast Growth

It was an honor to have Sun Valley Community Church recognized by Outreach Magazine as one of the top 10 fastest growing churches in America this year!

3. Baptisms

We baptized 382 people this year on the Gilbert Campus and two of those were my oldest daughters. Big moment in the Alexander house!

4. Student Ministry

More Students went to camp this year than ever before in the history of the church!

5. Children’s Ministry

The Elementary Ministry has grown by 12% this year! We’re continuing to reach young families!

6. Outreach & Volunteers

We mobilized more than 2,000 people to serve in local outreach through quarterly Community Impact Weekends! The word “Community” in our name actually means something!

7. Small Groups

Small Group Bible Studies increased by more than 50% this year! Life change happens best in the context of relationship and I love the fact that more people are getting connect with each other centered around God’s Word!

8. Generosity

We discovered that 82,000 people in Maricopa County don’t know where their next meal is coming from and we decided to do something about this Christmas. To read more about it follow this link. The goal was to fill 5,000 boxes of food between all three of our campuses. I was thrilled when I learned that the Gilbert Campus filled more than 4,500 boxes of food this December to combat hunger in our own neighborhood (and we blew past our goal by the way)!

Within a 10-mile radius of the Gilbert Campus there are 880,000 people who don’t go to church anywhere. So while we’re nowhere near done, I’m excited about the ground we’re taking!

I’d love to hear about the ministry wins you experienced in 2012! Leave a comment!


Posted in Leadership

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Spontaneous Baptism

A week ago Lisa and I took a quick trip out to Atlanta to nail down a rental house. While we were in town we had the opportunity to attend a worship service at North Metro and were blown away by how the Lord moved. The preceding week the Staff had wrestled through the idea of doing a spontaneous baptism. That is to say, call people that have not repented and or who have never been baptized to get it done right there on the spot in the service. The Staff had prepared changing kits ahead of time for those that responded which included appropriate clothes and towels among other things (BTW there was an extra run to Target involved to pick up more towels). Between the two services over 170 people responded and drew a line in the sand to publicly be identified with Christ! The first service went almost 2 hours and the second went 3 hours! For those of you who are used to 60 minute cues for your weekend services you get what an amazing moment this was. Fathers were baptizing their children, children baptized their parents, and spouses baptized one another. Grown men (the big hulking manly kind of men) were in tears, broken in response to the grace of God in their lives. Lisa and I stood in the back and wept over the stories of life change and this tangible demonstration of the obedience of people as they responded to and followed the Lord. We are continually humbled that the Lord would allow us to partner with Himself and the leadership at North Metro to help shape this community of people into what God has dreamed up for us to become!



Posted in Creative Arts, Spiritual Formation