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Being vs. Doing

I was just thinking about what attracts me to certain people... the people I enjoy reading about, listening to or just being around. I think the thing for me is authenticity.

The bible is a book about being.

The church is an institution too often times focused on "doing".

Fake it til you make it doesn't always translate in the body. In fact, I don't know if it does at all.

I'll add more later...

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, May 31, 2005

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Weekend Potpourri

Wonderful Williamsburg:
Although Sundays are never a day off for a Pastor, this week allowed for a little more pleasure outside of "church" than normal. Our family took a trip to Colonial Williamsburg. You may read about our trip at WilgisFamily.com.

I would encourage many of my friends around the country to consider Williamsburg for vacation. Water Country USA, Bush Gardens, Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg are all within a few miles of one another and offer terrific family fun (and some cool education experiences).

Stupid Mistake on my part:
I did one of the dumbest things I'd done in a long time last night (and into today). My wireless internet went down on my other laptop (and old donated Armada we use for the church). I thought nothing of it and let it go. Then a few hours later (last night) my internet quits working on my personal laptop. We have a network at the house so I spent several hours last night and at least 3 hours today running every test, fix, driver install, etc. to see if I could get to work. In a last ditch effort, I went and purchased a new G-link router. Still no change. I was frustrated.

After doing some other things around the house I came back and approached the problem again. This time I came across a website with some obvious help. "if your computer has a blue or red button, you may have to press it to enable wireless internet". WHAT???? That's it?

Yes. Somewhere (possibly on Sunday Morning when I took this machine with me) the blue "internet" button had been pushed and the light wasn't on. So I hit the button and "Boom!" the internet started right up!

Sometimes I wonder about myself. I'm not sure if anyone out in blogland can relate... but tonight was a time when I wondered if my years of education and "wisdom" were worth anything. It just makes me so much more in awe of how God can love us so...

That's my boy:
As mentioned below, Kristy and I got to see our baby boy. This experience was wonderful. It's going to be so cool to see my baby boy in a short 7-8 weeks. My friend John is about to have his boy as well. His wife Amber is due on June 12th!

We had a new birth at Focal Point this month and we have a few ladies who are currently expecting. Exciting times.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, May 31, 2005

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Like Father Like Son

Kristy and I got to 'see' Caleb today via '4D' images.

It was cool to be able to see the little guy!

Chip off the old block huh? :)

The real picture of Caleb can be seen at WilgisFamily.com

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, May 28, 2005

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Okay, I've finally taken the time to get our family site up. I decided to go with a Blogger format. I have problems with trying to get everything just right. In addition to my compulsive behavior I have little knowledge of html. I 'hunt and peck' when it comes to making the changes I need. It looks like I've figured enough out to get our family site up and running.

I'll post to WilgisFamily.com pretty regularly and I hope to get my lovely bride involved on this site as well. Our son is due on July 25th so I'm sure to have some exciting things on there in the next few months.

Check out WilgisFamily.com

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, May 27, 2005

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Core Values

Recently a new blogging friend from Canton, GA (Gary Lamb) posted about his staff values. I appreciated his list and his honesty regarding how they are doing. I thought I'd post our Core Values and commentary where necessary.

Focus- Do a few things and do them well.
Participation- We're a church of missionaries.
Community- Doing life together is where discipleship happens
Compassion- We should be getting our fingernails dirty helping those in need.
Authenticity- Transparency paves the way to Intimacy and vice-versa.
Relevance- The way to communicate is to use the language of the culture.
Equipping- Eph. 4 reminds us to train others to carry out God's work.

We're doing well with: Focus, Community, Authenticity and Relevance.
We're turning our attention to: Participation, Compassion, and Equipping.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, May 26, 2005

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I hope you are like me, I hope you are not

Today I've continued to read Andy Stanley's book (with Reggie Joyner and Lane Jones) called "7 Practices of Effective Ministry". In some ways I hope some of you are just like me. The reason I hope you're like me is because I hope I'm not the only one who's struggled with the these things. In other ways I hope you are not like me because that may mean you have answered this question definitively in your own life and ministry.

Well, as I've shared, the book is an easy read. I should have said it's easy TO read. It's not an easy read for someone who wants to be intellectually honest and who is his own biggest critic. You see, as I'm reading more detail about each effective practice the book offers, the bell of truth continues to toll against my thick skull, "SIMPLICITY STUPID". Don't get me wrong, at Focal Point we could be charged with being anemic with regard to the ministry opportunities we offer. A buffet we are not. Intentionally. We've kept the church streamlined and it's been a big help to us. I'm not having problems with thinking we've clogged up the arteries of our ministries. This week I've been having problems with my own critiques of my communication.

If you are a communicator you may be able to relate. I've had a great few months communicating. I've felt terrific when the message was complete and I have enjoyed hearing how something I've said impacted the lives of some of those in attendance. Those days are great because I feel that I did a good job in the following:
1. Understanding what God wanted me to focus on.
2. Studying it
3. Creating relevant messages
4. Getting out of the way on Sunday (and not screwing up what God's word says)

There are days however when I don't feel like I did as great of a job of getting with God and then getting out of the way. This past Sunday was one of them. We're doing a series called "Desperate Households". We're talking about areas within the home that can make a household become 'Desperate'. Yes we've tied it into the current T.V. show.

A bit of transparency here: I hate doing it how I did it Sunday.

From time to time when I feel I stunk it up I try to pin it on a few things: talking in circles, not connecting with the audience, etc. But today I think I've found the truth about myself. Simplicity.

In our "Programming" I've gotten this concept but in the "What makes Tally tick?" department, I haven't gotten the memo (until now). When we started the church I was all about "Know God". Anything that got in the way of people Knowing the true God through His Son Jesus Christ was a waste of my time. The problem I've found is that I can let 'good' topics or discussions get in the way of people Knowing God. {side note: People in the church have requested Sundays message and shared how it highlighted areas of improvement in their lives so the week was still beneficial}

With my communication I believe I now know what makes me feel that I "hit a home run". I think I've hit a home run when:
No matter the topic I am able to easily connect that topic and it's solution with Knowing God.

When God's glory becomes the "Focal Point" of the message (regardless of what the message is about), that's when I'm most "on".

So, as I sat and read I thought to myself "What makes me so frustrated with some messages and not others? People still enjoy them... People seem to be moved by them... but still I walk away regretting I walked up onto the platform. I now know. It's simple. If I can feel that I connected people with God's glory as the solution for every area of their life, I feel fulfilled. If I connect people to God as a quicker fixer-upper I feel unfulfilled. The reason I think I feel this way has to do with Means vs. End.

God is to be our END-ALL. He should never be the means to my truly desirable end. If I as a Pastor allow people to believe God's main role is to be their microwave to life's problems, I've failed. I've set up idols that may prevent them from truly knowing their God. Yes God can do (and does) wonderful things for our lives but we must understand His heart and motive and very nature or else we may completely miss who He is.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, May 25, 2005

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7 practices

I've started to read Andy Stanley's book (with Reggie Joyner and Lane Jones) called "7 Practices of Effective Ministry". What I love about this book so far is the simplicity with which it's written. The first half (which I finished very quickly) is a story of how a young (mid-30's) Pastor learns of these 7 practices. It's an interesting story with an attractive narrative that most any young Pastor would love to be a part of.

I enjoy reading but I really enjoy reading when the text is concise and make sense. Books don't have to give you a headache to be "deep" (whatever that means). Reading (and enjoying) this book reminds me as a Pastor to work on presenting messages in the same manner.

Get the book: 7 practices book

Okay, I'm out now. Going to watch the end of '24'.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, May 23, 2005

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Direct Mail

We just returned home from the 4 hour trip to Lynchburg, VA to visit my wife's family and attend her sister's wedding. I've been away from the blogging world a few days.

On Thursday I dropped off 15,000 mailers to our city post office to be delivered. On Friday morning I noticed the mail had run and sure-enough there was our 5.5x8.5 direct mail card. Apparently the mail isn't too bad around here!

So I just checked the website stats page to see if there was any immediate result ("was our card worth drawing some hits"). I'm pleased to report that our traffic jumped and we got 33% of our months traffic on Friday and Saturday (today). So, now if people enjoy the site I hope we'll see some guests.

A few things I've learned with direct mail:
1. You can't do it once and say "it didn't work". Direct mail must be done over and over. It more or less establishes presence.
2. If your piece sucks, it sucks. Don't send out garbage and expect it to work. If you don't have a designer, hire one. (I know one if you need him.)
3. Direct mail doesn't fly solo. To get people to respond to direct mail, it should be used in conjunction with other things. Especially for church plants, people need to begin to find a familiarity with us. Churches come and go (and they meet in unusual places) so you have to develop relationship with your community.
4. 6 to stick. They say it takes (I don't know who 'they' are either) six times for someone to see your add/image for them to respond.
5. Wait it out. People aren't going to jump at a mailer. A mailer is not your outreach savior. Get your face out and create some buz by what you do each week. Don't send out a mailer and sit on your blessed rear expecting things to happen. At the same time, don't freak out if you don't get people in the building THAT weekend. It takes time. We've seen people come after 6 months or more.
6. Think Tires- I don't 'need' tires very often. Most people don't believe they 'need' your church. The business that gets my cash is the one that can come to mind when I think "Hey, my tires are getting bald, where should I go?" Thats the same mind-set of someone who feels they are missing something in life. They think "I need something good in my life. What church looks like they'd be nice to me and my kid?"

I don't know if this works for you or not, it does me. There are other lessons I'm certain... I just wanted to get your brain moving. We are sending more mailers out by the way. This was the beginning of a new campaign for our move to a new location. I'll keep you informed. Please keep us in your prayers (or as I say "Toss one up for us, would ya?")

Our Most Recent Mailer:

Front Big

Back Big

The Company we use: Church Marketing Solutions

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, May 22, 2005

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The Countdown

Eloy Ramirez has a great post about Time. I am with Eloy on this. As I said in a previous post that I do think about these things on a regular basis. Unfortunately I don't think about them enough in context to how I'd want to respond.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, May 20, 2005

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Sympathy for the Dark Side

Tonight we took about 16 students to see Star Wars III.

Overall I must say that I enjoyed this movie more than the prior two in the latest series. The critics were right when they said that this film targets a little older audience than the other two previous films. I understood the efforts to get a younger generation involved by making the previous movies more entertaining to young children but it was an akward mix which has now been corrected with this latest film.

Political Lines?:
The two lines I've read about which may be taken as "anti-Bush" actually could be taken that way. I cannot say with an extreme amount of certainty but I can see how someone would possibly take those lines as political references.

Tie In:
This movie does a good job in my mind of tying back in with the origional episode 1 (or 4 if you are counting). The viewer understands how everything works together and I for one was left feeling somewhat sorry for Darth Vader. Poor Guy.

Anyway, our theater seemed to enjoy the movie. When the movie opened our audience began clapping... when the credits (at the end) started... our audience again clapped.

Special effects were terrific and the plot was worth following. I enjoyed the movie very much.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, May 19, 2005

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Know God

"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." -- John (17:3)

I think about life,death,heaven,hell,eternity just about every day. I think about how fragile we really are. I think about how little control I really have over things. Sure to a certain degree I have control but seriously how much? And isn't that desire inherently opposed to God's plan for me? Does He want us to look for control? I don't believe so. Control of ourselves in certain areas, yes (our tounge, our bodies, etc) but outside of that He's looking for hearts who will passionately seek Him and forever know Him. He's looking for people who will allow His spirit to work in and through us. He's looking for people who will truly Know him as the incredible power that he is and will give him the authority he deserves in our lives. God doesn't desire me to 'do grea things for him'... he desires me to be on His team and do things as he leads. That obedience in itself becomes great.

The image above demonstrates something we don't often consider. Many people view eternity as if it begins where our heartbeat ends. Many Christians and non-believers are on equal footing with this thought pattern. You see, if God's word is only relevant for us for AFTER we die, then what good does it do us to spend this life soaking it up? This broken concept of eternity encourages us to sit on our hands and take the opportunity to Know God as an option.

As you think of 'eternal life' think about the fact that life that's eternal is NOW.

Much of Paul's writings are written as if Christ was returning within a week or two. We don't necessarily know how long Paul thought but it certainly wasn't 2005+ years. The urgency for people to live solely for Christ was amazing. Paul was a guy who really believed that eternal life was going on right then and that having stepped into eternity on God's team he wanted to adjust his priorities to match the urgency of living in eternal life.

We must stop looking at eternity as if it's a plank we're walking. The plank isn't this life and then 'real eternity' kicks in... Eternal life is forever behind and forever to come. Jesus said eternal life is that people Know God and Jesus Christ whom the father sent. Life in Heaven will be Knowing God and life on earth should be about us Knowing God as well.

My life is within the scope of eternity. If eternal life is all about Knowing God, if that's the central desire of God's heart, that He become known and glorified than I want my entire being to be wrapped up in Him.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, May 19, 2005

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Full of Crap!

I couldn't resist. Our local mall is bringing a giant colon called "co-co" to the people of Chesapeake, VA!

Move over Barney and Spongebob, we've got... a COLON!

I joke about it (because it's way too easy) but in all honesty I know people who've had colon cancer and it's not a joking matter. In our culture you have to shock'em to get their attention.

For those who are into the postmodern scene, you can't get much more experiential huh?

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, May 19, 2005

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Double Standard

A girl at a Catholic school walked across the stage to receive her diploma even though she was not invited to participate in the graduation ceremony.

Why is this a big deal? The graduate is pregnant.

I remember taking my second ministry position as Youth Pastor several years ago. One of the questions asked of me is "what would you do if you had a girl in your youth group become pregnant?" I asked "What do you mean what would I do?" They said "Would you let her continue coming to youth service?"
Without hesitation I said "Absolutely! What is a better lesson on abstinence to show our students than to have one of their friends who has now lost her childhood sit in the middle of the crowd."

A few years prior while working as an intern I was made aware of a church who had a huge stink after the church asked a teenager to leave the youth department because she had gotten pregnant. Personally I think that was the dumbest thing the church could have done.

A few weeks ago my wife and I went by the home of a 16 year old who began visiting our church AFTER she became pregnant. She had visited my old youth department on and off a few years ago. The reason she began attending our church now? She's accepted. She knows what we teach about sexuality. She knows her situation is a bad one and that she shouldn't have gotten to this place in her life but she also knows that we will love her and begin teaching her how to raise her new beautiful daughter in Christ.

The double standard in this case: The father of this child is also a graduating senior at this Catholic school WAS ALLOWED TO WALK!
Every kid in that room knew who had sex with this girl. Because the boy doesn't have a big belly as a reminder of his action he is embraced.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, May 18, 2005

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Okay, I'll shutup now

My friend Mitch from LU and currently Children's Pastor at FC blogged about a partner in ministry he appreciates named Steve Dilla. I checked out Steve's blog (the Preschool Director for FC) and came across this clip. Steve says it's old so maybe I'm a little out of the loop on this one but it doesn't matter how new this is, because this morning I still sat in disbelief...

Check it out: World on Fire

DC Talk had a song called "What have we become". It's appropriate.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, May 17, 2005

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Marriage Matters

Terry Storch at Fellowship Church in Dallas has a terrific post about the tension between Marriage and the Ministry.

Those who are outside of the 'full-time ministry world' may think that Pastors have it together when it comes to families. Many times a church attendee may think that the Pastors and staff have so little to do that they certainly have wonderful home lives. How wrong they are.

As any honest Pastor will tell you, ministry can beat up on your family! It is so vital that Pastors and church staff protect their family first. We must nurture our family and as fellow church planter Gary Lamb points out, we must avoid having an affair on our wives with the church!

The principles discussed by Terry and his wife Robin are great no matter your position. If you aren't a church Pastor, please do your best to see the needs of your Pastor and family so that you may become the Aaron or Hur to your church Shepard. They may not say it for fear of being seen as weak or needy but your Pastor and staff need your support and understanding especially in the area of taking care of their family!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, May 17, 2005

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Make Service Un-like work

I believe one of the ways to keep people active in serving within your church is to make it UNLIKE "their job".

- People run the rat-race all week at work, they don't need another race to run within their congregation... get rid of the rat-race attitude and dump politics as status-quo.
- Most disciples WANT to help but you can't make them regret it. Get organized before they show up, give clear goals (realistic, measurable and attainable).
- Use the time to love, validate, hear their story.

One of our guys shared how he became sold on Focal Point as his church home. He said "I didn't really connect with people through small groups b/c I don't like forced relationships but I jumped in to help set up and take down. One day during take down a guy came by and patted me on the back while telling a joke and I caught myself laughing. I felt at that moment that I genuninely like these people."

Service in your church needs to be ANTI-job. Yes there is a task but as a leader you can structure it so that the work is a means to an end, not an end in itself. When people view their task in the "machine" to be the end of their reason for showing up... they leave unfulfilled and tired. When the work is a means to an end of deepening Christian relationships, they can leave feeling fulfilled, loved and validated. Make ministry service UN-LIKE work!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, May 16, 2005

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I won't visit your church

Tony Morgan is an executive Pastor at Granger Community Church in Indianna (near Notre Dame). He is also an author of "Simply Strategic" books (Stuff, Volunteers, and Growth).

I love his post about why he won't visit your church. He basically gives a dozen reasons why he won't visit your church if your website sucks. We're in the process of redesigning our site and thankfully for the most part we'd be okay. (besides if we sucked I wouldn't be posting this site for you)

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, May 14, 2005

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Avoid Staff Infections

Staph (pronounced "staff") is medical quick speak for staphylococcus aureus bacteria. This pesky little bacterium is very common (many people have some living on their skin all the time), but when it enters the human body, usually through an open cut or break in the skin, it can cause infection and trouble anywhere in the body.

Staff Infections:
As with many diseases a staff infection is both complex and simple. Complex because often times when we are ill with a bacteria we cannot specifically point to the time when we received the bacteria. It may be easy to diagnose food poisoning for instance if you can pinpoint the last meal or a meal where several people all got sick. The tough part is trying to diagnose other problems that take a few days or weeks to show up. As an extreme example some of our most deadly diseases can go undetected for months or a year before being made known. The Simple part of most all of these diseases is that there are precautions that help us all to avoid the bulk of these threats. Washing hands, eating only fully cooked food, sexual relations with 1 partner for life... these are all things that help us avoid the disasters of disease.

When it comes to staffing a church I have found there are infections that creep up as well. It doesn't matter to me whether that staff is lay staff or fully paid. There are some indicators we all should keep our eyes on. I will list a few here but the goal of this exercise is for you to develop this list and share with others so we can all learn from our experiences.
1. Warm-body syndrome: many churches take the approach that says "anyone is better than no-one". I have learned this is absolutely false. Many times the best thing you can do is avoid a ministry all together if it requires you placing someone in a position they cannot handle or should not have. Don't buy into the warm-body as the qualification.

2. Diverse vision: in the church world there are a ton of people out for their own good. We would like to think that men and women wanted to serve with or in support of their Pastor but this isn't the norm. Many people have 13 reasons they want to be in a position and aligning with the leadership of their church comes in at number 14. The point: they have motives. If their motives aren't pure... toss their file.

3. Lack of Loyalty: Another staff infection is a lack of loyalty between staff. I told my wife before we were married that people in church will come to her for things attempting to get her to bring it home to me. I told her up front to never allow people to do this... call them out. She's done that and we don't' have church people coming between us because me being upset that my wife said something she shouldn't have. I also don't have problems with our church people b/c I've developed a leadership that calls out problem people. Staff is the same way. You must have complete loyalty when making decisions and solving problems. A quick way to staff infection is for someone on staff to break loyalty. It's as simple as trying to look good in front of a parent by saying "Yeah... that Student guy made a stupid call... I wouldn't have done that." Another common way to undercut your Pastor may be to say to someone in the church "Listen, I just work here. He's the boss, I do what I'm told." These attitudes will KILL staff loyalty. Your staff must present a unified front and at all times circle the wagons around a member of the team who makes a poor decision or is dealing with flack. Everyone on the team WILL be in that position at some point.

4. Gossip- Lets face it. In ministry you will walk a fine line between sharing important information about people in the church that can be used to minister to that person and their family vs. sharing information as pure gossip. If you allow Gossip on your staff you will create a distrust among the team. If you share to keep people updated... fine. But don't sit around and joke about people behind their back. You want a staff that takes their ministry seriously and can feel confident that they aren't being talked about behind their backs.

5. Laziness: Too many lazy people have ministry positions. The 'good-ol-boy' system needs to be dismantled and tossed in the garbage. There is a time for fun (all of your work can be fun if you love what you do) but there isn't room for a strategically lazy person on your team. One of the biggest staff infections there is comes from a lazy staff member. Productivity and morale will drop to nothing if a Senior leader allows for "Brother Bob" to remain on the team even though he golfs 3 times a week and is consistently procrastinating on projects.

6. Square Pegs: (round holes). A staff should work together well. If someone is a great person but just doesn't get along with other staff members, it may be a square peg in a round hole problem. You don't want a staff that enjoys each other's company and actually likes each other LESS ONE. It's not fair to the guy/gal who's a loner to keep them on a team that they aren't a part of. You should try to involve this person as much as you can but if you finally feel that the chemistry isn't there... fix it. It doesn't mean everyone on your team has to have the most bubbly personality or talks like you do. You just need a team. There is no sense in keeping someone wearing the uniform who is isolated from the entire group. It's either the group's fault for not being open or it could just be that this person would do better on different staff.

I'm positive you have more. Share them if you'd like. I'm interested to see what others feel are "Staff Infections" that can sink your organization.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, May 12, 2005

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Free Training Material

I had a friend send me this link today so I thought I'd pass it along to my blog-readers. This is a site I've never heard of called "Cadre Ministries".

For myself at least, this looks like a useful tool to gain information and reminders of how to train disciples in a more biblical way.

Take a look at the site and download the free 'dialogue' book.

Cadre Site Here

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, May 11, 2005

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Another Stupid Church Sign

At the end of my road is a new YMCA (about 1.5-2yrs old). Across the street from the new Y is an old church. The church is larger than most (900 or so) but as with many churches they are somewhat out of touch.

A prime example to me is a banner displayed on the front of their church building facing the YMCA parking lot. This banner has been on the building for a month or so but I didn't notice what they were advertising until today. As I took a moment to read the banner I realized that they were not advertising anything!

This sign was (in my opinion) a horrible attempt at outreach. the sign read "what about your SPIRITUAL fitness?"

Yes. The YMCA has a very long section of the building for treadmills. This section has glass walls which face the main road (and therefore the church building). So as some people attempt to work out they look across at a big church building that reminds them again that they are on the 'outside' of Christianity. The front door to the YMCA is also directly across the street from the church building so anyone walking out of that building is potentially exposed to a sign that tells them that taking care of their health is even a failure in the eyes of "the church".

My first thought when I read this sign was "What about it?" AND I AM A CHRISTIAN!
This Pastoral team has a great opportunity to witness to families who come directly across the street every day to take care of their health and the health of their children. Why in the world would they put up a dumb sign like this?

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, May 11, 2005

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Liberty University

Tonight I'm writing from the campus of Liberty University. Can I just say how jealous I am?

I know it's bad for me to feel this way (and honestly I'm more excited for the future than jealous about the past).

Liberty has stepped it up! The campus is amazing and the city is becoming a wonderful place to live and play. Earlier today I came across a new town center being developed called Wyndhurst.
Wyndhurst is a newly built community of townhomes, apartments and homes anchored by an active adult retirement community and the new (and expansive) YMCA. The community is being built surrounding a 'mini' downtown area with various shops (coffee, arts, tanning, books, etc.). It's a beautiful place to live.

Lynchburg has come alive the last several years since I called this place home. Major retailers have built wonderful shopping areas all around the campus and Liberty itself is in a constant state of growth. Every time I come to this campus I am overwhelmed with how large a vision Dr. Falwell has for this place. God birthed in the heart of a 22 year old man the passion that drives this campus (and subsequently this city) to this day! Liberty University is experiencing tremendous growth in enrollment, facilities, spirituality, etc.

I love this place.

I visited with my old boss "Mrs. Stinsen" today as well. She was one of the people who gave me the opportunity to lead. She also showed me a lot about supporting staff. I remember one day during the summer I was the director of the summer program at Thomas Road. Someone who was under me in position was challenging my authority at the beginning of the summer (this young lady had been on staff for several years--to my 1-- and she thought she knew the best way to do everything---the same as it had always been--.) When this problem came to the attention of Mrs. Stinsen she reminded the young woman that I was brought in to lead and unless I was extremely out of line it would be best that she follow.

This is but one lesson I have from my time spent here at Liberty. Did I mention I love it?

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, May 09, 2005

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This site is so funny if you've seen the movie: Napoleon Dynamite's sound page

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, May 08, 2005

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E-card to Mom!

My mom was my mom and dad. While my dad took an easy road without me, my mother took myself and my sisters under her protective wing.

My mom inspired me when I was young to never give up and taught me that if I work hard I can see so much more accomplished. My mother believed in me all of my life and supported me in everything I've done. She went without while I got the best. She worked hard to get her G.E.D. and then Associates degree so that I could live in a part of town where it was a little safer. She's always been the true example of sacrifice and betterment of her children. I love my mother so very much.

As I wrote in a previous post, my mother and her sacrifice have provided a springboard to everything my life is and will become. Mom I love you so much!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, May 08, 2005

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The last few days have led me to meet a couple of guys with similar thoughts on contextualizing ministry and reaching people with the gospel. Two of them are JR and Sean.

JR is a church planter in Manhattan who is planting Manhattan Christian Church. He and his wife are a great coule from just outside of Dallas. JR is being sent out by Life Pointe Church where JR served as a teaching Pastor. In talking with him he seems to be a great guy with a similar laid-back approach to things that don't matter and an aggressive approach with the things that do. I enjoyed meeting him and hope to get the opportunity to visit him in the big apple in the fall or early winter (after Caleb arrives). Check out JR's blog. NYC is a world mission field so if your group is looking for a mission opportunity I would encourage you to contact JR.

Another guy I met this week was Sean. Sean is from Tucson, AZ and is the founding and Lead Pastor of Crossing Church.
Sean is equally contextualized in his ministry. He serves as a Biking and Hiking guide as a part-time job in order to get to know others in his community and offset some expenses incurred during the planting process. Sean is looking to become a Church Planting Strategist for his area of the state and he introduced me to New Church Initiatives, a church planting resource that seems to do a good job of assisting a potential planter for work in the field. I have not yet experimented with it but it seems (according to what I picked up from Sean) to be a great program.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, May 07, 2005

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Religious Universities

This is a fair look at religious educational insitutions in America. Liberty University is mentioned in this article.

Regent University (just 5 miles from me) is also mentioned.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, May 07, 2005

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We're Home! (BARELY)

It's late so I won't go into the great detail I am sure to share later but here is the summary of how our day went from 1:45pm until now (12:27a.m.)

1. Left NAMB, stuck in traffic (about a 45minute ride in an 11 passenger van).

2. Didn't have small bills (only had a 10 and 20) for the sky-cap who checked our bags (all 2 minutes of effort) and unfortunately he chose to remind me a polite way that he was disappointed in my not giving him a tip. (I generally tip well on purpose and I felt bad that I didn't have anything smaller than a 10 but he decided to let me know I was a jerk none the less. He said "Thank You for using Sky Caps to check your bags. I'll be glad to get this bag for YOU!" The words were what he should say... the tone and inflection was in a way as to say "You idiot! I want some cash. Don't make me check your bag unless you give some loot!" I felt bad that I didn't have a few bucks but I felt frustrated and disappointed when he copped an attitude with me. (no I didn't say anything, I just went into the Airport).

3. We got to the Airport at around 2:30ish and our flight wasn't scheduled to leave until 6:15pm. A 4 hour wait ...yippie! (We actually ended up enjoying the time as we relaxed and spent time talking to some of the other couples we met while at NAMB--- 1 from Tucson, AZ and one from K.C.)

4. Our flight: Literally I sincerely thought tonight we were going to die. It was the most fearful time in an airplane I've ever had in my life.
I'll quickly summarize: Flight was good (interesting conversation and witness to a guy next to me) but I got pale upon attempting to land. Yes, attempting. We came into a wind storm in Norfolk, VA. As we approached the wind shook the plane the whole way down. Literally I felt like I was on a very scary ride at an amusement park. (Think broken down 'zipper' at the carnival). The plane dipped low, dipped left, right, etc. It was so scary. We got just above the trees and it didn't get better and I honestly thought we were crashing... the pilot at the last minute stepped on it and pulled us out and back into the air... we flew around for 10 minutes only to come back in and attempt another landing... By this time I'm nearly losing it... I'm praying and my new Atheist friend with whom I was talking says "are you okay? Figuring I Passed out I suppose.. I said "Yeah" I'm praying... he said "Okay" (I'm sure at that moment he was cool with me praying :)

Anyway... The same thing happened on the second approach... It was so scary. Ultimately we flew up to Richmond (2 hours north) and landed roughly but better.

Kristy and I (especially Kristy) were so worn out emotionally, physically and mentally that we decided to just drive and not go through those emotions again. We got a car and drove down to Norfolk Airport. We arrived about 5 minutes after the plane (almost 2 hours later) and I saw a guy who was sitting near us on the plane. I had invited him to the church as well. He's coming up for 4.5 months to do some training nearby. I said "How was it?" He said "Not better....I honestly thought we were crashing.... The plane came in the same as before but this time the Pilot basically dropped the plane straight down and we landed with a very hard thump and bounced on the runway..."

Needless to say I'm glad we drove... We arrived right on time and our bags came out just as I got to the Airport.

We are spent. The last two days of meetings and interviews have been tough but this travel home was one of the hardest times we've had recently. I can assure you that I have learned so many Spiritual lessons through this experience and I hope to share some of them in the future. As for tonight "Thank you Lord that you have many plans for our lives and you willed for us to make it home safely tonight."

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, May 07, 2005

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It looks like Microsoft is going to support a "gay rights" bill in Washington State afterall.

I discussed on this blog 12 days ago the concept of companies remaining neutral on civil legislation unless the company has an interest directly related to profits and losses. As individual citizens I support anyone speaking and organizing for a passion however we are such an intertwined and global economy that we must leave "politics" seperate from business unless the two overlap. Either way Microsoft has lived up to their name... (a little soft) on this issue.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, May 07, 2005

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In the A-T-L

NAMB does it right. We were greeted by a driver in a Lincoln Town Car who drove us the 30 minutes or so from the airport to Alpheretta. When we arrived at the hotel we were greeted with an information packet and all instructions we will need along the way.

We have our first meeting at 4pm and dinner at 5. It will be interesting to see who else is coming in. It appears to me that many of the people coming today are from the midwest. I'm looking forward to seeing who's out there and if we'll end up networking with anyone from this trip.

The weather has held up nicely so far. We'll see how it goes. I'm gonna go eat my sandwich from Jason's Deli now.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, May 05, 2005

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Headed to Hot-lanta

I'm sitting in the airport about to board the plane to go to Atlanta to visit NAMB and while I'm there I expect to check in on North Point Church.

I'm looking forward to the two day trip with my wife. Little Caleb is getting his first flight. Lucky kid. I was 17 yrs old before I ever made it to 30,000 ft.

I'll check in over the next few days.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, May 05, 2005

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Funny but True

Check out this site designed for those who have had a few too many beans.

This is a serious site. {flatulence filter}

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, May 04, 2005

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Go for the ASK!

Yesterday I got a call from my friend Ben Arment with History Church outside of D.C.

Since I jumped into the church planting thing Ben and I have kept in contact over the last year and a half. Ben is one of the few guys I've looked to in church planting that honestly inspire me. He has done a terrific job planting in a cold spiritual climate. He's in the Reston/Herndon area of VA which is within the boundaries of the high-pressure and quickly moving Beltway scene. In addition to D.C.'s political side the Northern VA area is dotted with high-tech firms and big business. Ben is in the middle of materialism and power central. "A desire to acquire that's gone haywire." (Ed Young's line).

Anyway, Ben has kept his nose to the grind and has gotten History Church onto stable footing. They are financially sound and spiritually amazing. I've learned much from observing how Ben and Ainsley have put together History Church to be a community rather than a church. Ben's passion and commitment excite me each time we talk.

My conversation yesterday with Ben was a little different. He challenged me. In a great way Ben challenged me to 'go for the Ask'. Ben is a good motivator and communicator. He challenged me on the phone yesterday to being sharing the story of Focal Point with those in a position to make a difference. Ben reads the blog regularly and sees what God is doing. He also knows of what God has done with so few resources at our disposal.

Ben's challenge to me is a challenge to all of us (especially if you are the lead on your team)... Go for the ask. Go ahead and stick your neck out for the team. Do you need finances? Ask. Do you need staff? Ask. Does your department or organization need changes that someone above you can make? Ask.

So I am going to take Ben's advice in the weeks to come and begin the "Ask". In what area do you need to go for the ask?

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, May 04, 2005

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Man speaks after 10 years

Amazing story

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, May 03, 2005

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Furniture and Focal Point

A family within our church recently purchased a furniture store in town called "Weekends Furniture". A city magazine is running a great story about their purchase and changes within the store. One such change is that the new owners, Marc and Shelley Orlick, are closing the store on Sunday. For the past 18 months they have been faithful with getting the church off of the ground to where we are today and they wish to continue their dedication to the Lord by closing shop and encouraging employees and customers to spend Sunday with their family (and hopefully in their local church.)

When explaining their closing on Sunday they were sure to plug Focal Point Church. They've also asked me to have a professional sign done for their large storefront window that lets everyone know who Focal Point Church is (where we meet, phone number, web and email, etc.) I'm excited to see the Lord blessing members of our church in this way!

Check out the article and the ink given to Focal Point Church.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, May 02, 2005

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Answered Prayer!

I can't tell you how exciting today has been.

To understand the following, please read the post below about talking to your Waitress.

SHE CAME TO FOCAL POINT TODAY!!! Yesterday I got an email from her family friends who have been sort of mentoring her. A little later I got an email from the waitress. Both emails said how God spoke to her through me and they wanted to come to Focal Point Church. Today they came and enjoyed the service with us. The couple that had dinner with us the other night told me after service that they talked a while and she loved the church and plans to come back next week!
In addition she accepted Christ at the conclusion of the service today (along with 5 others).

Being a new church start we have faced so many challenges and enjoyed so many victories. Today was one of those days where I just step back and say GO GOD! He's been amazing.

In addition to the Waitress attending today (I'm withholding her name on purpose), another family I invited several weeks ago came today. A few weeks ago a student in our ministry was in the ER for several hours. While there I saw this young couple with a 4 year old in the waiting room. This poor girl was out of it with illness. As the ER was full the nurses placed the little girl at low-risk and therefore long wait. Someone from our group (of about 15 who came in support of the teen---a testimony to the church God has built in itself) was talking to this couple and recommended that they go to a Children's hospital in town for quicker attention. As the husband (a Navy guy) walked past me I gave him an invite card and said "Hey man, I overheard you are in the navy and you may not have ties here.... these people (I pointed to our the 4 or 5 families there checking on our student)... these people are here b/c they love one another.... I want to encourage you to visit us sometime and I think you'll find a loving church were you and your family can belong. He took my card and said "Thanks Man". I nodded and said "Hey, I'm gonna be praying for your daughter" and he acknowledged and moved on to take his daughter to the Children's Hospital.
To be completely honest I had NO CLUE if they would ever take me up on the invitation. Today they DID! This young couple along with their healthy daughter came (this was several weeks ago now). She described herself as being somewhat agnostic and unfortunately has been turned off by church b/c of an incident that happened to her at a church when she was a child. She's carried around hurt and frustration for church but she's felt all along that she needed something. Today she accepted Christ as her Savior. They also joined us for the baptism and cookout after church. My wife and I spent a ton of time with them talking and laughing (they are great people and down-to earth). They both said they loved the church and are glad they came today!

I have several other stories about the weekend but these are my two favorite. These are two random people I met (one at a restaurant and one at the ER) whom I could have ignored. For whatever reason I felt that I should invite these people. (I didn't invite anyone else in the restaurant that day and I didn't invite the whole ER). It's amazing when God prompts you to step out and you act on that obedience in love... God Rocks. I Corinthians 3:5-15 (Those of us who plant and water are nothing compared to the God who makes everything grow!)

God you are amazing and worthy of our praise. Your ways are so far above our ways. Thank you for including us into your plan!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, May 01, 2005

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