Tag Archive - family


See you After Sabbatical!

There are a lot of reasons that I love working at Sun Valley Community Church. It’s the best staff culture I’ve ever experienced on a church staff team, every week there are incredible stories of life change, over the past 6 years we’ve opened 4 new locations and there have literally been 1,000’s of people baptized. It’s a really special place to be a part of.

It’s also a place that values and takes care of the staff team. In fact, after 7 years, full-time Director level staff (and up) qualify for a paid sabbatical. It’s a great way to invest in, value, reward, and incentivize longevity with our team. Each person builds a written plan and budget that focus on three key areas that are submitted for approval.

Professional Development

Key Question: What are you going to do to invest in your career?
What skills, training, or development do you need in order to get better at your craft? Is there a class you need to take, a church or organization you need to visit to learn from, or some kind of process certification you need to complete that will resource you to improve your professional capacity?

Personal Development

Key Question: What are you going to do to invest in yourself?
What about you? It’s a question most people in ministry rarely ask. Ministry Staff Members typically spend the majority of their time and energy serving other people. What do you need to do for you that brings you energy? I don’t mean just sitting on the couch vegging out and watching Netflix but doing something that fills you up.

Family Development

Key Question: What are you going to do to invest in your family?
Why don’t you ditch the kids over sabbatical and go do something with just you and your spouse? But then again, plan something with just the kids too, you’ve got the time. What kind of experiences and memories do you want to build with your family?

Over the summer I’ve got a plan to do all three of these things, and I’m grateful to serve at a church that values their staff in this way. So, at the risk of not being very consistent here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real or on social media you’re going to notice that I’ll be around a lot less this summer on these digital platforms. So, I’ll see you after sabbatical!

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


If it’s Not on a Screen it’s Not Multisite

Being a part of leading a large multisite church, I’m frequently asked by church leaders about my thoughts on various multisite models and how we do it at the church I’m a part of. In this post I’m going to answer that question (to an extent) for everyone reading this article and here’s a little warning, I’m going to say it in a bit of a straight forward matter of fact manner. Here’s the way I look at it, and I reserve the right to be wrong…

“If it’s not on a screen, it’s not a multisite.”

It may be multi-congregational or even a family of churches, but it’s not a multisite church. The simple reason why is teaching. Nothing else in your church has the power the build the unique culture of your church in so much as teaching does. This is why people say the organization always takes on the characteristics and personality (culture) of the leader. When you have different people preaching at different locations, no matter how similar they are, no matter how good of friends they are, no matter how hard they work to be on the same page with the presentation, you’re going to get a different culture. You’re going to get a different church. And like it or not, people who attend churches look to the primary communicator of that location as the leader. Here’s a really quick overview (obviously there are slight variations).


Big Idea: “One Church Multiple Locations”
Preaching: Preaching is delivered via video. No matter if it’s one primary communicator or a teaching team approach, whoever is preaching is preaching the same message at every location via video.
Governance: There is one Board of Elders that provides oversight to the entire church; all campuses no matter the location. The Board is not put in place for the representation of the campuses (it’s not congress).
Ministry Practices: These churches have a tendency to be more identical in their ministry practices and staffing structures (based on scale). Ministry practices are typically overseen by a Central Ministry Team that coaches and influences each campus towards best practices and objectives


Big Idea: “One Church Multiple Congregations”
Preaching: Preaching is delivered live at each location. Often times the main communicators on each campus collaborate to ensure that they are generally covering the same content.
Governance: There is still some kind of directional team making high-level decisions that have some affect on each congregation, but each congregation has their own Board of Elders making local decisions.
Ministry Practices: Often these churches will share branding and some communication (print & visual media) resources and a centralized Business Department may support all congregations. However each congregation has much more freedom and independence as to what ministries they build and start.

Family of Churches

Big Idea: “Multiple Churches with One Cause”
Preaching: Preaching is live at each location, each church may even have it’s own teaching team. They may share their best teaching series with each other, and speak at each other’s churches from time to time, but that’s about it.
Governance: Early on often these churches will have a Board of outside Pastors from the Family of Churches govern the new church until it is mature enough to have it’s own Board. Similarly often another stronger church in the Family of Churches may manage the business function of the newer church until it has the capacity to do so on their own.
Ministry Practices: Families of churches typically organize around a theological ideal or a common cause such as church planting. While these churches certainly learn from one another and even pick up best practices from one another they are autonomous in their approach.

Posted in Leadership


Reaching and Leading Millennials

When The Unstuck Group is helping churches with strategic planning, one of the most common concerns and priorities that churches identify is attracting Millennials and young families.

Truth is, Millennials get a bad rap. We hear leaders complain that they don’t follow through, they get bored too easily and are too self-absorbed. Beneath the specific complaints, however, we hear an honest frustration at the fact that what was working to reach this age group in the past isn’t working any longer. Millennials were born into a very different world, and it is essential that they learn to live out their faith differently than their parents’ generation. What worked to connect with 18 to 34-year-olds in the 2,000’s won’t be the same things that work to connect with the same age group in the next decade.

Reaching Millennials is not about building even better facilities, flashier stage designs and Disney-esque children’s programs. It’s about discovering what really matters to this generation, and presenting the truth of the Gospel in a way they can hear and understand.

As church leaders we can cover our eyes and ignore the fact that our churches are not connecting with the younger generations they desperately need to reach, or we can do something about it.

With this in mind, we at the Unstuck Group have an early Christmas gift for you — a new eBook comprised of practical chapters to help you think through some of the most important aspects of reaching and leading Millennials.

Follow this link to download this new eBook,
and get your copy for free by using coupon code “christmas15”

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


Learning from Kids about Leadership

The other day I sat down with a couple of the most influential people in my life to talk about leadership. Their perspective and input is very important to me. No leader becomes a great leader alone. Great leaders learn from others and invite input from others they trust.

Me? Some of the voices I listen to are my 11 year old, 10 year old, 7 year old, and 2 year old kids. Here’s what they had to say about leadership.

  • Leadership is setting an example for people around you.
  • Good leadership is being the best you can be.
  • Good leaders are obedient to their parents…translation…leaders know how to be under authority not just in authority.
  • Leadership means always having a happy heart…translation…the attitude of a leader matters.
  • Good leaders care more for others than they do for themselves.
  • Good leaders let others go first.
  • Bad leaders have a bad attitude and don’t care about others.
  • Good leaders always have good sportsmanship.
  • Bad leaders don’t care about others opinions, they’re in it for themselves…translations a sure fire way to become a bad leader is only looking out for yourself and not listening to others.
  • Bad leaders don’t want to be around their families…translation…bad leaders are lonely leaders, they lead alone.
  • “Don’t be a bad leader” (nuff said)

Oh, and my 2 year old added, “bee-doo, bee-doo, bee-doo Goooo Gators!” (smart kid)

Posted in Leadership


Work Hard Give Your Best & Put Family First

How do I balance family and ministry? It’s a conversation I’ve had over and over again as a church staff member. I’ve heard church staff express deep frustration and anxiety over this question. They want to give their best to their ministry calling and yet sometimes feel like they’re sacrificing their family to follow Jesus. But then again doesn’t following Jesus mean you take care of and lead your family well? When you’re on staff at a church it means working weekends and often times being gone multiple nights of the week at meetings when church members are available. Further, many church staff members feel like they’re on call 24/7 to meet the needs of church attenders. You can see how ministry staff members can quickly feel tension over the whole balancing work and family, especially young church staff members who are just starting out and trying to figure it out.

At Sun Valley Community Church (the church I have the privilege of serving at) we’ve defined our leadership culture with 7 clear distinctives. If you’re interested in learning more about them you can follow this link. One of them states:

Effort: We work hard; give our best and put family first.

Recently I used Periscope (I’m learning to use this new social networking tool) to share a leadership tool we use to train this concept and explained it a little more. In fact you can follow this link on your mobile device to watch it. Or you can check out a few of the highlights below:

  1. God is not opposed to effort, but He is opposed to earning. God is into results and effort…it’s all throughout the bible. He’s just not into earning.
  2. You don’t have to die for the Church; Jesus already did that. The Church doesn’t need another Savior we already have one. He’s doing just fine by the way.
  3. All Work and no Rest Leads to Burnout You’ve got to figure out a way to refuel daily, weekly, monthly and annually.
  4. Productivity = Working Hard + Resting Well It’s not work vs home. It’s not either or. You can’t have great results at work and poor results at home or visa versa for very long. Home affects work and work affects home.
  5. Rest FOR Work not Rest FROM Work. In John 15 Jesus talks about abiding in Him…resting in Him so that we will produce fruit.
  6. Laziness is Dangerous! When you retreat from meaningful work and meaningful relationships it will lead you to a dangerous place.
  7. Take Personal Responsibility! No one is responsible for your schedule but you. Don’t play the role of a victim when it comes to your schedule.

Photo Credit: navonod via Compfight cc

Posted in Family, Leadership, Staffing
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