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When the Lights go down in the City

One of my church planting heroes Bob Franquiz had an experience last week that apparently I just HAD to share. The Lights went down in the city! We blew a circuit.

I thought through the situation quickly but in slow-motion in my mind. I decided it would kill us to spend the next few minutes trying to worry with it and find new breakers (with this being a new environment we really don't know enough to make those judgments). So I walked up and made a joke about the music blowing us away and moved on with the service. Overall it turned out fine and made the morning more intimate as it forced me to mingle among our people more during the message.

Today's semi-crisis (am I being over dramatic enough) reminded me of some 'must knows' in leadership for situations like "When the Lights go down in the City"

Leaders have to move.
Leaders don't have the luxury of looking around and scratching their heads. If you lead, move. People follow you. If you sit still you will cause what was once moving to become still with you. It's easier to steer a moving vehicle than a parked one. MOVE! (caution: this doesn't exclude you from having a clue)

Leaders have to remain calm.
With this incident (and many others) I've seen that most people buy-in when they see that their leader doesn't flinch. On the inside I may be thinking "ohh no" but to those I lead I remain calm. The truth is that it's rare that I even fret on the inside. I just believe that I have to overcome. Challenges are simply that... Challenges. Not death sentences. No one wants to follow someone who's shaking in their pants. One exercise I always perform is to ask myself "So what is the worst thing that could happen and how would I respond?"

Leaders have to think on their feet.
Part of this is actually deceiving. This is absolutely true but it hinges on the next one. You must be able to process your thoughts on the fly and quickly come up with a set of priorities in any situation. How you come up with those ties in with this next point.

Leaders know the win happens pre-game.
What? That's stupid! No, it's not actually. What happens on 'game day' is only a reflection of what you've done to prepare. Via my friend John, his old boss at TRBC- Matt Wilmington (now a Pastor at West Ridge Church) used to say "Plan now, Pastor Later". When junk hits the fan or when pressure mounts the people who shine are the people who put in time in the off season.

I wrestled for a year in High School. Wrestling is a 6 minute match. It's one of the shortest competitions you'll ever be involved in however it's one of the most grueling. You quickly realize that so much of how you do on the match is a reflection of how well prepared you were coming in. Wrestling is a constant dance where each person is acting and reacting to one another throughout the match so knowing what to do in each possible situation is critical to success.

Leaders act as if they've been there before.
As a child getting into football I remember that I enjoyed the Bengals. Yes, THE Cincinnati Bengals (I was young and stupid). Anyway I remember cheering for Ickey Woods as he scored and did the Ickey Shuffle. I remember watching a game with my grandfather one day when Ickey scored. My grandfather didn't know I was all about the Bengals. Once when Ickey scored and started his routine my grandfather said "He's a good ball player, I just wish he would act like he's been there before." WOW! That hit me as a kid. I remember taking that in as a learning moment. Tally, act like you've been there.

The truth is that if you are a leader that God has used you HAVE been there before. When people decide to invest their lives under your leadership or at your wing as you attempt to take on the world for God's kingdom you should not belittle them with your arrogance or pride.
Act like you've been there before.

You see... as a leader you are supposed to be there and if God allows, you will be there again.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, June 26, 2005


At 10:09 PM, Blogger Gary Lamb said...

I think this is a rite for all church planters. We blew all the breakers in the entire school our first service. We had pulled out all the stops, had a huge crowd, and the power went out and everyone was sitting in the dark. You are right, just keep moving.

About two months ago we actually shorted out an outlet and it started popping and smoking during the service.

I think those are the great stories of planting churches.

At 12:08 AM, Blogger Bob Franquiz said...


As always, your insights are fantastic! I think Gary is right in that all of these things are part of the testimony. They become part of the folklore of our churches. By the way, my wife reads your blog everyday. Your fans are growing!

At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Sarge said...

Great post Tally! With that post I'm adding you to my blogroll.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger RMc said...

Good words Tally - we are working on the answer to "how do we know when we win?" from Stanley's 7 Practices book. has been interesting to hear the answers.

Guess we didn't do so well on the collaboration effort on backpack did we?.....

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Tally said...

The collaboration worked well Rodney. I just began the series yesterday. I'll continue it over the next 2 weeks. Thanks for checking in.

At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Mark Rodriguez said...

Tally, it's a scary yet amazing place to be. As the Worship Leader and Youth Pastor at CCML I've experience my share of unexpected/God is this You moments. A couple of weeks ago we where having a Hip-Hop concert at our Youth Group. We had been setting up in our rented facility all day. About 2 hours before the event started, I went home to take a shower, as soon as I got out of the shower I got a call from one of my assistants. "Mark the Power went out and the power company says that it's going to be like 3 hrs before it comes back on." I told them whatever you do don't freak, tell the parents everything is under control. The power came back on 15 min before the show, a bunch of kids got saved, and the rest of us just stood in awe..


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