Tag Archive - sun valley


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


3 Ways Leaders Lead at their Best

Over the last 15 years I’ve been blessed to lead worship with many talented musicians and singers. I’ve led at camps and retreats. I’ve led for different generation, for different gatherings, for different churches. I’ve led in large venues and small venues. And through it all I’ve discovered three principles that allow me to lead at my best…truth is, these principles apply to anyone who leads a team.

1. Trust Your Teammates

If I’m focused on whether or not the drummer is staying on time or if the bass player is playing the right notes then I’m not focused on leading the church and engaging the crowd. As leaders we need to equip and empower our teams and then trust them to do what only they can do so we can do what we’re called to do.

Key Question: Do you have confidence in the people you lead with?

In worship ministry, we audition. Then we train and equip. I provide whatever the musician needs in order to set them up for success. When they feel confident I feel confident and I can set my attention to leading the crowds.

2. Like Your Teammates

I’ve noticed that when there are people leading with me that I genuinely like to be around it is more fun to lead the church. When it’s fun I do better. There are certain people that I connect with more so than others. These are the people I want to do ministry with. Chemistry is a must in order for me to be at my best. This sometimes means I’d rather lead with less talented people in order to lead with people I like.

Key Question: Do you look forward to leading with the people who are on your team?

When working with volunteers this doesn’t always happen. There are certain roles to fill and we can’t always fill them with people we instantly connect with. But, when possible I try to have someone I consider a friend on every team I lead.

This leads me to the third principle…

3. Know What Gives You Energy

In order to lead with people you like you can’t surround yourself with people that drain you of your energy. I don’t care how talented they are.

In addition, like most artists I’m an introvert. Standing around making small talk with strangers sucks the life out of me. If I do that right before I go on stage I might not have the energy I need to lead worship. This is why artists have “green rooms.” It is being intentional about preserving energy for when it is needed the most.

A green room should be stocked with food, coffee and anything else that combats the early call times and the energy drainers. It is a safe haven that needs to be protected.

Key Question: Do you have a plan for gaining and maintaining energy?

When all three of these principles are aligned I know I’m getting the best out of me and that usually means a great experience for everyone else. As goes the leader, so goes the team.

Photo Credit: alexcoitus via Compfight cc



This is a guest post by Matt Thompson who serves as the Worship Pastor at the Tempe Campus of Sun Valley Community Church. To keep up with Matt you can connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted in Creative Arts, Leadership


Why Your Church Needs a Mobile App

Sun Valley Community Church, the church I have the privilege of serving at, recently announced the public launch of a new app for mobile devices. While I know that Sun Valley is by no means the first church to go this route; I also know as a result of my work with churches across the country that there are many churches considering developing an app but still have questions before they jump into this technology and method of engaging with people.

I sat down with Mo Grimm, the Director of Communications at Sun Valley, to ask him about the launch of this app. Here’s what he had to say. Hope it’s helpful to you and your church as you engage your community with the Gospel!

Paul: Does a local church really need an App?

Mo: Every day there are over 1 million smartphones sold. The majority of the people purchasing those smartphones are using their devices to access data. The thought that people are accessing the website through their desktop computers is fleeting. About two-thirds of all Americans have a mobile device that they use for apps and they spend almost an hour and a half every day on those apps. Our desire is to reach people and interact with them in a language and manner that they use most frequently. So we went with an app. It’s actually quite missional in the sense of going to where people are and learning to speak their language.

Paul: You chose to partner with Subsplash on the project? Why this company?

Mo: Subsplash is a leader in app development for churches, and because this was a new endeavor for us a proven track record was important to us on this project. Not only are they developing apps for churches, they are developing apps for Fortune 500 companies. Their platform has been tested and continues to be improved upon. Their goal is to make the Truth of Jesus incredibly accessible to people both inside and outside of the church.

Paul: In designing an App what features should Churches key in on?

Mo: Our goal with the app is to provide people with the content they want most. We are keeping it pretty simple by providing the ability to watch sermons live via Livestream or recorded, notes for the sermons as well as for Small Group Bible Studies. We wanted people to have the ability to see our various campus locations, connect with our website, and give financially to the ministry of Sun Valley in a simple and secure manner.

Interested in downloading the app and checking it out for yourself? Just follow this link.

Posted in Creative Arts, Leadership


An Interview with 5 Pastors Leading Multisite Churches of 5,000+

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down and interview 5 Sr. Pastors who are all leading multiste churches ranging in attendance from 5,000 to more than 15,000. Among other things we had a very candid conversation about momentum, multisite, developing young leaders, and the courage it takes to lead at a high level. Last week I shared some of the key parts of the conversation we had in a series of posts. In the event that you missed any of them or if you’d like to share them with your team I’ve placed them here in one place your convenience!

Below are the pastors who participated in the conversation:

Part-1 “How do young leaders earn the right to be heard and succeed on your team?”

Part-2 “What are some indicators that momentum is moving the wrong direction and how do you turn the tide?”

Part-3 “What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in going multisite and what are some of the most significant things you’ve learned as a result?”

Part-4 “Bonus Content and Take-Aways”

Posted in Leadership


My Interview with 5 Sr. Pastors Leading Multisite Churches of 5,000+ Pt-3

I recently sat down with 5 Sr. Pastors who are all leading Multisite Churches ranging from 5,000 to more than 15,000. Here’s some of what they had to say regarding church leadership. If you missed the first two parts of this series you can check them out here:

Part-1 “How do young leaders earn the right to be heard and succeed on your team?”

Part-2 “What are some indicators that momentum is moving the wrong direction and how do you turn the tide?”

Question #3 “What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in going multisite and what are some of the most significant things you’ve learned as a result?”

Tyler Johnson: I think one thing I’ve learned is that ministry really is local. One of the challenges in it, is the more decentralized you get the more difficult communication and clarity become. So the need to simplify and clarify your language becomes huge. Distance really hinders relationship. So intentionally creating environments where relationship really can be established is really important. It’s a lot easier when you’re at a distance from somebody to have a very negative and uniformed view of somebody than it is when you get in a room when somebody. As you decentralize yourself and things get pushed away and somebody says, “I don’t know that person.” It’s a lot easier to say, “That person’s an idiot, why would they do that?” So when you believe that ministry is local, it’s challenging to get people together to where there is enough relationship so you can build the trust necessary to have candor. This is really challenging and you have to work really hard to build that kind of culture.

Cal Jernigan: Two things I would say about Multisite. Number one, I think it’s harder than anyone ever wants to admit. It seems like everyone is talking about it being so good, it’s all growth, it’s just the greatest thing. I think it’s a lot harder than people are talking about. And I think a lot of sideways energy is going in, a lot of wasted money is going into it and I think we just don’t want to call it out and say it’s as hard as it is. And the truth is you have to have a gear that not everyone else has. And you’re going to succeed if you have the gear and you’re not going to succeed if you don’t. The second part I would say is what makes it so hard are things like authority structures, and who makes the call, and how do you retain leaders, and how do you let leaders lead? And how we’re structured is we have 5 campuses and we have a central band that runs across it all. And there are significant points of tension that need to be managed in regards to who gets to lead where and who gets to make a call. And this stuff is really hard, and a single site church never has to deal with this.

Don Wilson: I think a lot of multisite is still faddish. It’s not been proven that long, plus we’ve never seen a real successful multisite church where the Sr. Pastor has left and someone else has taken over. I don’t know a single one of those yet. For us, we’re getting ready to start our fifth campus this week. Lots of people are doing multisite a lot of different ways. Whatever way you do it, you have to do it with your DNA. What we’re finding is until you do four campuses you never really have to intentionally change your central team. When you get to four it forces you to do things differently.

Scott Ridout: I don’t know that Sun Valley’s really gone multisite. We’ve merged and have two campuses there and then we did a parachute drop down in Casa Grande so now we’re at three campuses. We haven’t hived off anything from our original campus yet, so that’s our next experiment. So we’re merging, we’re parachute dropping, and we’re hiving.

Posted in Leadership
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