Better Than Waffles: Sun Valley Church’s Livestreaming Recipe

By Joel Lombardo

Who doesn’t like waffles?

If you’re like Mike Work, Executive Creative Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church in Arizona, you view these culinary creations as villains plotting against you and your livestream. You see, back in the day, the only thing competing with Sunday morning at church was, well, waffles at Sunday brunch.

But here’s the thing, it’s not just these (hopefully a la’ mode) breakfast staples that are going head-to-head with viewers’ attention now. You know the culprits: Netflix, youth sports, Airbnb, the NFL, and of course, making waffles at home.

That’s why the team at Sun Valley approaches livestreaming as a counter-recipe for distracted viewers and, more importantly, reaching them with the Gospel. In our conversation with Mike, he laid out how livestreaming has become a critical piece of their overall digital strategy, what they use to measure engagement, and so much more. We encourage you to watch the full interview above, but we’ll break down our three key learnings below for you:

Key Learning #1

Streaming Quality Matters More Than Ever

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“Spectator church isn’t going to cut it.” This strong sentiment by Mike was fueled by the realization that streaming at Sun Valley used to be an afterthought. But that all changed.

It started with moving to a resilient streaming platform here at Resi and became as detailed as dissecting every camera shot along the way to achieving the kind of quality you see today. He saw the same competition for people’s attention you see today, and quality content isn’t getting any harder to create. Just saying…

Key Learning #2

Measure Retention. Refine Content. Repeat.

One thing that kills momentum more than anything is assuming your content is reaching its maximum potential. We all know now that not all “views” are created equal and that those waffles aren’t going to make themselves.

This is why measuring viewer retention became a massive boon for Mike and his team while developing content. They dug down into the minutia and found out which segments carried the weight of the broadcast and which ones needed to be rethought, refined, or even removed to create an intentional journey for their audience.

Key Learning #3

Actionable Engagement Always

Sun Valley Community Church has a vision: to help people meet, know and follow Jesus. (It’s on their website, so we cheated a little.) The tricky thing about vision achievement, though, is helping others take action without creating unnecessary barriers along the way. And we’re not talking about theological barriers here.

It’s simple things like a lengthy new guest form, clunky giving mechanics, or even worse, ignoring your online viewers by not giving them a clear next step tailored just for them. So, the team at Sun Valley puts the same intentionality that goes into refining their entire online experience towards giving their online audience a way to engage. Every time they tune in.


There you have it! We truly hope this helps nudge you along as you develop a clear strategy for your livestream. And, we’re also sorry if you hate waffles now.

Don’t forget, if you’re wondering how you can get streaming with the same resilient workflow Sun Valley uses, you can find out more info about Resi’s livestreaming platform.

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Joel Lombardo

Joel is an Online Pastor, Web Developer, and Digital Marketer. Joel has been helping churches and organizations livestream important moments for almost 10 years.

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