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Are you in Good Company?


"Synergy"

Today at a state church-planter network meeting one of the presenters shared the above diagram. I've seen these types of graphs before but I did like the point he was trying to make and I took something away. I thought I'd share with you as well. He said it was from a book but unfortunately he didn't share the name. If you've seen this before please let me know what book it's from and I'll give proper credit. The following notes are in my words and not those of the speaker or the author. You have now been warned.

The above diagram relates to the formation and focus of teams. No matter the team and no matter the goal. This was particularly interesting to me as I continue to learn and grow in my own leadership of various teams to accomplish the vision of Focal Point Church.

Each of the circles are simple:

Individual-
Usually every individual wants value added to their life "What's in it for me?" This isn't always bad. I'm not talking about utopia here, I'm talking about working with the average man.

Team- This is the group gathered together to work on a project. This is a collection of individuals.

Task- The task is the job that brings the team together. This could be a short-term focus such as a big event one weekend or it could be your executive team tasked with leading the entire ministry.

Okay, now here is where your mind may begin to think. Each of these options presents the developmental stages of individuals involved in a team.

A- This person is a person who is involved in the task because they enjoy taking out of the task. "I love doing what I do" These people have difficulty playing in the sandbox. They may be great at one aspect of a task or even the whole thing but they are horrible at working together on a team. Many church planters are this way. They think "I love reaching people and I'm a pretty good youth Pastor so surely I can lead and entire church". Usually they go out on their own and realize "ohh crud, I'm all alone... I want my MOMMY!"

B- This is when you have a team doing a task but there is no personal fulfillment. These teams usually are held together by some outside force. It could be a paycheck that keeps this team moving toward a task or it could be guilt but the individual(s) on the team feels unfulfilled even though the tasks are getting done by the team. This may look fine to a CEO on paper but horrible in the long run and very personally unrewarding for everyone involved.

C- This is where many church teams end up. These are people to enjoy getting together on a team. They get fulfillment and they give fulfillment to one another. It's a big pow-wow. This group likes each other and has great cookouts. The problem? They are difficult to keep on task. Sometimes they forget what they were meeting for. Many times in church we have these types of "teams". This is what most of your "committees" end up looking like. Don't have them if you can help it. Have project-specific teams and tell your people that THEY (not you) are respsonsible to love their neighbor and have great relationships on their time, not primarily during the time they are supposedly dedicating to service.

D- This obviously is the best situation. This is where you want to steer your team. This is when 1. The individuals feel appreciated and rewarded for their involvement, 2. The team is a unit where everyone works well together and 3. Where the task is central to everyone. So the people get loved, the team gets along and the task gets completed. Many times we find that we're not quite there yet.

During this presentation the speaker said:
"And guys, D is where you want to be. D is where you find Synergy."

I turned to my friend and cupped my hands and said "Synergy!" (a clip from In Good Company)

Honesty time:
Where are your teams on this diagram?
Do you have an A, B, C, or D type of team?
What will you do to re-adjust them?

The reality is that all teams can become D teams but only if we first realistically identify our current situation and begin to look forward to our preferred future.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, June 30, 2005

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Don't be this Guy

A few days ago I spent the time writing down some helpful hints for guys exactly like this over at Terry Storch's blog.

If anyone knows him, please remind him about Blogging Maturity 101!

Terry, I wish you didn't have to deal with people like this but I appreciate how you handle yourself. Keep up the great work.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, June 30, 2005

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Touch your sensitive side

No I am not going to write about how you should have a good cry now and then. I'm not talking about pink shirts on Ed Young or even great new cologne (which are fun reads none-the-less). The sensitivity I'm talking about is a sensitivity to your people and circumstances.

As a leader you are charged to move people from point A to point Z. In many situations you can simply "Know the way, Go the way and Show the way" but there ARE situations when you need to be sensitive enough to the hearts and minds of those around you.

As Pastors we can find ourselves in the middle of a see-saw between two polar opposites. On one side you have 'sensitivity to needs of your people' and on the other side you have yourself thinking: 'We've gotta get moving!'

In every church you have complainers and whiners. You have people who want to talk to you just to say they had your attention. Please ignore those people during my post. They are not who I'm talking about. The great thing is that we all have the other types... sane, rationale and regular people who have some common sense. These ARE who I'm referring to.

Bob Franquiz asked the other day about the hardest things to do in the Pastorate. I believe that this balancing act is one of the most challenging. If you are in a church where people can still talk to you in the hallway you will deal with this balancing act.

Where is the balance then? Where is the balance between letting the tail wag the dog and getting stuff done without completely stomping on the very people you're trying to reach? I believe the answer is found in your ability to remain sensitive.

If the Holy Spirit lives in each believer and each believer believes in the same God and seeks out truth in the same bible we SHOULD be able to gain wisdom from HIM about our people and about the direction of the church.

Many times Pastors find themselves trying to run on 'back then' visions from God.

"Back in ______ (2003, March, Last month, etc.) God told me to do this... so I am."

What we can find ourselves doing if we're not careful is running on spiritual fumes. If we don't have a constant and fresh face before God we can take our marching orders and go make terrible decisions. I read in His Excellency about a battle that the British troops lost to the Americans where the Americans killed many of their men only to find out later that the peace treaty was already signed before the battle began. The original order to fight was right but something changed. If they had faster communication (like a cell phone) they would have not died in vain but because of the lack of communication (give them a break, it was the 1700's) these men died in a battle that didn't' have to happen. Our original order to reach the lost won't change but it's possible the 'how' will. We can't get married to our methods.

Our ongoing sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and to the lives of our people will help us to make decisions at the best time. That sensitivity will allow us to be ready to pull the trigger at the right moment to see our plans succeed.

Final Illustration:
I'm not a fisherman. I have gone fishing only a handful of times but if fishing was like what I see on Bassmaster where fish are coming out of the water every 2 minutes, I'd probably enjoy it better. What I have noticed about fishing however (from trail and error as well as the television) is that when you pull your rod back and toss it forward to cast, you have to release the line at the right time or else your bait will flop. It's not the bait's fault and the equipment was fine. The boat does it's job to hold you up and boy you sure look good in your new shades... But still a flop. Why? Timing.

As a Leader I encourage you to remain sensitive as you make each of your decisions. It doesn't mean that others tell you when to lead, it just means that you take into account all of the circumstances before you cast your line.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, June 29, 2005

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Linchpins, Leadership and Lordship

linch·pin or lynch·pin Pronunciation Key (l'nch'p'n')
n.

  1. A locking pin inserted in the end of a shaft, as in an axle, to prevent a wheel from slipping off.
  2. A central cohesive element: Reduced spending is the linchpin of their economic program.
(dictionary.com)

Linchpins:
Yesterday I learned that a key family in our church may be forced to leave our area soon. The husband (who leads our music) lost his job. I've joked that our band is an updated Partridge family (not in any derogatory sense) because 4 out of 5 members of the band are family. They are an extremely talented group of individuals. God has used their gifts in amazing ways over the last 7 months.

This family also opens up their home for tons of things within our church body.
Our ladies regularly have a lunch together there on Thursdays (among other places), they've hosted small groups, they host cookouts and in May they hosted a Baptism in their back yard. In addition our student department (about 25 to 30 kids) was mainly built from the two High School students reaching out to their friends at school. I can't say how central this family has been to our church these last 7-8 months.

Leadership:
My role as their Pastor:
This family will have our support and love in every way I can imagine. I will want to lead our church to demonstrate Agape love to them in the midst of this dramatic change. High school students moving from their friends is never a fun thing. Leaving a new church where God has matured you several levels (their words, not mine) is not a good feeling. We'll love them through it all.


Lordship-
The great thing is that God is the one who has ultimate control and they are HIS children and this church is HIS church.

This reality is not a trite phrase but rather a confident truth. God doesn't have a panic button in Heaven. Do you think he's concerned with the plight of our little (which is a realistic term no matter your church size in a world of 6 billion people) church? No. He's got it under control.

I've learned to live with my hands open with my palms to the sky. The Lord brings and the Lord moves away... blessed be the name of the Lord.

I encourage you to take time to demonstrate your love and appreciation to those who co-labor with you in ministry.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, June 28, 2005

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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

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"He done lost his manners!"

When I was in college I was in a rap group (please don't make fun of me) and we traveled around a little and got to meet interesting people. On one such occasion I remember a guy we'll call Greg. Greg was a very funny and very open young man. Greg told us this story about his trip to a local water park the previous weekend. Greg said that something crazy happened on a tube slide at the park.

When Greg got to the top there was a kid who was afraid of heights but his parents made him come to the top of this huge slide. (When you're up that high it almost feels as if the entire structure sways back and forth so I can feel the kid's pain.) As my new friend Greg sat at the top of the tube preparing for launch all he could hear was this kid screaming "NO, no... I don't wanna go!" Greg sat back and as the lifeguard said "go", Greg was off. He enjoyed his ride. As he got to the bottom however, he looked back and saw a blob of something coming towards him. He said "It was a small mass of brown..." Greg continued "Yep, He done lost his manners!" (The scared kid had relieved himself on the ride and our new friend Greg was on the receiving end.)

My wife and I are in Baltimore for the evening (about a 4 hour drive from our home). During the drive I reflected on my life's testimony. I have a life story that 15 years ago would have set me up great to be a traveling evangelist. You know the kind. I grew up without a father at home, experienced with teen temptations, I accepted Christ while running the street and hanging with drug dealers, etc. I remember the first time I shared my testimony in public among strangers. I didn't know what I was 'supposed' to do. I was 17yrs old and between my Jr. and Sr. years of High School while a summer missionary in Houston, TX. I got up in a local church and shared what Christ had done in my life. There were so many people crying (I felt bad for making them so upset).

Later a nice older lady came up to me and said "Young man, that is such a great testimony." I remember saying without missing a beat (again not knowing church etiquette) "ma'am, thank you but my testimony is just beginning."

Do you remember your early years in Christ? Do you remember the passion with which you lived for Him? Do you recall that determination to make him known to all who will listen? Do you remember wanting to please your heavenly Father so badly that you were devastated when you sinned? So often times we lose focus of those early days and our 'testimony' is always mentioned in the past tense. I'm not advocating you beating yourself up and crying each time you fall. I am however highlighting the consequences of us 'slipping' and losing sensitivity to our sin. As a Christian we can also 'lose our manners' and cause problems for those around us.

I want to encourage you today to value your testimony as an ongoing advertisement for Christ. It took me until I was in my early 20's to understand the power of moral authority and a testimony that cannot be dismissed easily. It took me a while to realize that my testimony was God's way of communicating to the world how great He is and what He can do with a life given over to Him.

Today I encourage you to learn the lesson from Greg... "Hold on to your manners."
There are other people on the slide of life.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, June 25, 2005

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Blog Maturity 101

Today Terry points out how "Wheels Off" people who claim the name of Christ can be when it comes to attacking churches that are making a difference. I've been somewhat taken back by the attitude of many Christ followers who seem to get their joy from putting others down. It's amazing. I know that we will disagree with things others may say but what I'd like to address is what I call "blogging maturity".

Because blogging is relatively new for most people I'd like to think that many of the people who are involved with blogging are adolescents in their use of this new medium. As with young people there is an uncertainty among those who are learning the blogging world. For many of these otherwise fine individuals the urge to make an ignorant remark is simply too strong. The perceived glory is far too great and the self-centeredness takes hold under the guise of "to god (g) be the glory!" With some angry "Christian" bloggers, God simply becomes a means to an end. The end being the feeling of "winning" a blogging boxing match.

So, for all my friends who are learning how to blog (and comment on blogs):
1. Each blog you visit is the internet "home" of someone.
You wouldn't dare walk into a home and run your mouth at the host. It's inappropriate to do on blogs as well. It's just ugly and you end up looking stupid. Don't do it. It's immature.

2. Any attack on a blog is a public attack.
It's one thing to debate a friend in college where it's you two in a room or sitting out on the grass with no one else around. Imagine if you took some of those debates and broadcasted them to every dorm room on campus. Yeah. Be aware of what you say. You can look stupid, no matter how 'valid' your point may be.

3. It takes time to type so people will judge you a little tougher.
When everyone knows you took time to type your thought it gets a little more scrutiny than if you just said something in a conversation. It's one thing (still dumb) to blurt out something ignorant in a conversation b/c you don't have the facts or you come off as rude but to type it solidifies any thought of you being immature or ignorant. Read what you type. You have time to think it through!

4. A sign of maturity is the ability to delay gratification.
One thing that separates a mature person from the immature is the ability to hold back from immediate gratification. This is true for the blog world. We all have opinions.

I was in a conversation yesterday with a former co-worker (at our mother church) who said "So Tally what do you think?" and I said sheepishly "I don't have an opinion". She smiled and said "Yeah, Right!" The reality is I usually do have an opinion.

If you have a brain you have a thought but not every thought has to be brought forward and presented in the dialogue. I try to operate on terms of 'value added'. When I'm considering posting I ask "Is what I'm about to say going to add value to the conversation?" My "opinion" sometimes means NOTHING to the core of the author's post. Therefore I keep my golden brain to myself no matter how great I think I may be at the time.

5. Look up the term Ad Hominem.
I'll do the work for you: [link]
The jest of an Ad hominem is that it's an attack on the person rather than the argument. I see this so much in the blog world it makes me sick.
Goes a little like this--

Author: "So and so is doing something amazing for God."
Immature Blogger: "So and so is a blank and blank. Why doesn't so and so just become more humble, LIKE ME!"

Don't attack the person. If you disagree and you must get your thought on record, do it in a civil way. Don't go after people. If you must, talk about the idea presented.

6. You can be both true and Wrong at the same time!
For many immature bloggers they don't understand that perception is reality. Although the context of what they are saying is true, how they are spraying is wrong. For effective communication both parts must be able to be received.. the saying AND the spraying.

Those who don't want to work to make their communication better received by their audience have lowered themselves to bully status. "I'll say what I want and you WILL listen or else". The 'or else' in blog world is usually "Or else I'll keep posting!"

So there you have it... some thoughts to consider. If you don't like them it's okay to disagree. Just disagree in the right manner and we can all play in the sandbox together.

Bonus Features for Christ-followers:
Matthew 18:15-17
James 3:2-12
James 1:26
Matthew 12:36-37

1 Corinthians 10:23-
"Everything is permissible"Â?but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible" but not everything is constructive.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, June 24, 2005

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Encouragement

I've enjoyed the blogging world for many reasons but one of the biggest is the encourgement from like-minded people "out there". Just yesterday I got an email from a guy I've appreciated but never spoken to. Through a couple of breif emails we shared with one another the desire to get together soon. I have no doubt that I will definately make the trip in the near future to meet him.

I got to thinking about the encouragement I've received from blogging and how much I value those positive deposits into my life account. If you are in ministry (or if you have a pulse) you will at times feel like the world is on your shoulders or the eyes of the world are staring into your fish-bowl of a life. There will be other times when you know you just made a call that will tick some people off. Regardless of the situation you may get to feeling like toilet paper (used and drowned).

It's during these times that you should have some wells to pump from:

1. Just think "At least people don't know what I know about myself!"
I heard a communicator who put it in perspective by saying that he thinks this thought whenever someone lays into him and tells him how horrible he is. He says that he rests in knowing that he knows how bad he is and how much grace he really receives from God. When you understand that about yourself, people who rag on you will seem tiny and their darts will bounce off your chest.

2. Seek security in Christ. When I'm down I usually look up. The reason? I can only honestly get down when I take my eyes off of the prize. At least for me, discouragement can come from a lack of a God-enhanced perspective. So the next time you're down... look up.

3. Keep an Encouragement File. I have a folder in my office filled with notes and cards. I've placed in that folder the notes from people who have written me to tell me the difference I've made in their life and how God has used me. I have cards from years ago about events I've forgotten where someone was kind to me. I have little sticky notes that students used to leave on my desk when I was a YP just to say hello. Having a file to turn to reminds me that no matter how down I feel, I DO have support. Sometimes it's just not in front of my face.

4. Have friends! I have a best friend with whom I'm bluntly transparent on many issues. When I'm down I tell him (or he picks up on it) and he kicks my tail into gear and reminds me of how little I truly have to be concerned. Other times he lifts me up in prayer or even prays for me right on the phone. We've got a unique relationship that I find extremely helpful during times of discouragement.

5. Remember what discouragement is. The best definition I've heard is "Discouragement is the result of failed expectations." wow. So when I find that I'm discourged I almost always start by evaluating my expectations. I'm typically pretty good at observing whether my expecations are right in the first place. Many of us get bummed out over stupid things or we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves or others which set us up for failure.

There you have it. Get encouraged. Don't get down, don't have pity-parties. Just get back on your bike and keep riding. You can't get yesterday back but you can have a greater tomorrow!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, June 23, 2005

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Fishing in an Aquarium

(Inspiration for this post comes from a recent post at Monday Morning Insight)

Recently a nearby church plant closed it's doors. Instead of having the remaining people go without a ministry, I was invited to meet the departing Pastor and a state leader for lunch. At this meeting I was asked if I would help the remaining people in this closing church transition into our church body. There was some honest hesitation on my part but ultimately I agreed and we began working to transition about 20 people from this closing church into our own.

Three to four weeks into the transition things were going pretty well and we began getting these families into small groups for the first time to help with assimilation. During the 4th week something creepy happened. A nearby church began recruiting these families HARD CORE. They took them dinner every night, sent different members to say hello, had others make phone calls,etc. This church pulled out all of the stops to attract these few families whom I had been reluctant to try to persuade in the first place.

Then it hit me. Frustration.
As I tried to figure out why I had felt this way I realized that it was because this church had put all of this attention and energy into going after 'churched' people. Fishing in an Aquarium.

SIDEBAR:
I'm not that type of Pastor. I don't try to press people to attend our church. People (I pray) attend our church b/c of the vision of our church and not because of any pressure we place on them. I've learned that most of the people that have been pressured into the church by guilt or gifts usually don't stay and almost NEVER become active in the body. They usually take up a seat and complain. It's like that quote: "Whatever it took to get your spouse is what it's going to take to keep them!"


Anyway, back to the experience. I honestly don't care about their attending our church or any other as long as they are somewhere...

The part that bothers me is I wonder...
I wonder if this church goes after lost people with that same passion? I wonder if they take food to the homeless instead of the established? I wonder if they call the down and disheartened in their community. I wonder if they show the divorced or rebellious person the same sort of 'love'. I just wonder.

I certainly hope so. My heartbeat is to Encourage and Equip people to know God through His Son Jesus Christ.

In our church plant we've probably "lost" 30-40 "churched people" aside from these couple of families because I've completely determined that we will not be a church of spiritual babies in the I-chair. Our attendance at present is a little lower than if I had pacified the 'churched' and tried to be all things to all churched-people but I believe we're developing a culture in our community that values the lost and doesn't tolerate whiners. I also believe that the very things church whiners complain about are some of the things my newly saved friends consider relevant to their spiritual growth. Constructive criticism gets attention if it is aimed at reaching the lost. Comments from the peanut gallery don't have weight with us b/c we know where we're fishing.

Too many churches ask the fresh water fish what the salt water fish would want to eat.
Are you fishers of men in a sea of those who don't know Christ? Or is your ministry going to PetSmart to fish in an Aquarium?

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, June 21, 2005

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Ouch

Guess the significance of these numbers: 15,000 . 300,000 . 20,000




Answer:
There are 300,000 Protestant Churches in the United States
There are 20,000 Catholic Churches in the United States

There are 15,000 McDonald's in the United States

Who's making the impact on our culture? Wow. Scary!

Here's the post that doesn't suck.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, June 20, 2005

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Shouts to Gary Lamb

I glanced over at my sidebar and noticed that although he's on my blogline account, I didn't have Gary Lamb listed under 'A Few Good Blogs' within this site. I'm now correcting that terrible mistake. Gary Lamb is the church planting Pastor of Ridge Stone Church. Ridge Stone is a growing church in Canton, GA. This is Gary's 2nd go-round with church planting and he's doing a great job.



He was kind enough to give me a call today and answer a few questions I had. He's a great guy with a sound mind. I encourage you to go check out his blog and gain from his wisdom. His title makes me jealous... "Mad Babble from a Church Planter" is one of the coolest titles going.

Check out the Mad Babble and Gary Lamb!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, June 20, 2005

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Going Steady

Going steady in the context of leadership is not about getting a date, it's about getting progress.

What great leaders have in common with one another is the fact that they have a clear direction and an understanding of how they will get where they are going. One of the worst things you can do as a leader is to flip flop on your vision or values.

Every leader has a true core set of values or principles which guide them. Whether you write them down or not, you will live by them. Some things are of utmost importance and others don't matter as much. It's natural. Get over it.

IN CHURCHES I've seen so many small/medium sized churches get the 'Conference Cravings'. This is similar to uncontrolled eating. The conference cravings have you craving to be like that last church and conference you attended. I've seen churches 'want to be' 12 different styles and types of churches because at each of their conferences, the host church shared a great story of how God used certain methods to expand that ministry.

What's interesting to me about each of these conferences is that I've yet to attend one where they said "Here's the conference... we stole it all from ____________. Thanks for coming!"
I've also never heard them say "We change our vision and values like underwear!"

The basic premise for each of these great ministries is that they understand the context of their culture and they've created a ministry to reach that context. They also have leaders who have shared a compelling vision and have remained true to that vision from jump street. Did they learn along the way? Sure! Did they try a few methods along the way? Yes! Did they change their fundamentals every 6 months? NOPE.

So go to conferences but take home principles to apply in your context. Adapt the concepts to your context and go steady! Hey, it's easier than asking a girl out for the first time!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, June 20, 2005

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Don't be Defensive!

I recently went through a situation with someone I appreciate. This person is a valuable addition to our team and before you read further, know that things are worked out and I don't believe we will have this type of problem again with one another.

If you are a leader, expect to catch heat. Heat you caused. Heat you didn't cause. Heat someone else caused but you're left to deal with (because you are where the buck stops) and Heat that is perception-based and doesn't hold much truth.

In this situation the person sent an email describing their concerns and correctly asked if we could address them together. I understood that a return email would be a useless endeavor. Not only does an email show very little in tone (aside from harsh), the list-factor to answering the concerns would have made an email come off as a boxing match rather than a desire for resolution and reconciliation. So, I picked up the phone.

I began the conversation with: 'to start, I'm not upset with you at all. I don't believe I have any reason to be.' (The tone of the initial email let me know that it took a lot for this person to express their concerns. I quickly wanted to neutralize their fear of a damaged relationship.) This quickly calmed my friend and we continued...

We then talked through several of the issues and ultimately discovered that the vast majority of the concerns were unsubstantiated and some were downright lies and gossip that needed to be corrected.

As I said, we're now completely fine and a good heart to heart took place. I think we'll move down the road much quicker and stronger together now that we've had that dialogue.

Here's the lesson:
Leaders, don't come off defensive! Perception IS Reality in most every situation.
No matter the quality of the concern brought forward, you can destroy your ability to get to the truth by acting defensive. The truth is that at times you may make a bad call. Own up to it and move on. No need to 'defend' a bad move. Other times someone may have lied or misunderstood. What's the need to be defensive there? Simply show that you're completely unfazed because the accusation is baseless. Be deliberate but completely calm. Use silence as your friend. It will highlight the fact that you are responding, not reacting.

When I began in ministry I tried to defend everything. I wanted everyone to like me. I wanted to do a great job (always have wanted that and always will) but I also wanted everyone to agree I did a great job. I was afraid of anyone being uncomfortable with me. I quickly learned that you will always have someone somewhere who disagrees with you. It's important to find security first in God and then in a few solid Christians whom you respect and will be honest with you. These are the people in my life who are my 'caution flags'. If they say something, I pay attention.

In the situation above I calmed the situation by simply not trying to defend myself. Again, when you're right you don't have to! When you are wrong you can quickly admit it and move forward. When you spend time trying to justify a bad decision or get angry over a lie, you end up with egg on your face! Don't be defensive.

Being defensive is more of an attitude. You can set the record straight with people without having a 'defensive' attitude.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, June 18, 2005

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Still Leading



Last night I saw Billy Graham on Larry King Live.

This was an exchange that particularly caught my eye:

KING: The current president says you're the one who changed his life. That your ministry took him from being an alcoholic, to nearly losing his marriage, to being a man of faith. How does that make you feel?

GRAHAM: Well, you know, he says that. I don't say that. I never comment on his religious faith. I think he is a religious man. I think his father his, I think his mother is, his wife is, and I haven't seen him...

KING: Does it make you feel good when you hear that said?

GRAHAM: I feel good that he changed, but I'm not sure that it was my influence. He had a lot of influences around him, I'm sure.


Immediately I began to think. Wow. Billy Graham represents the face of loving Christianity. He's 85 years old. To answer some of the younger generation, I'm not sure how much more missional he can be when his organization raises 9 million dollars for poverty relief and his son's organization does the same. He's spoken to over 210 million people and saw many come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Larry King is interviewing him and asks if his involvement with the salvation of the current President of the strongest country in the world makes him feel good and he says that he feels good that the President changed but doesn't take the esteem for what he did in this young man's life.

How many of us in ministries can come close to a Billy Graham? No one that I know... and yet Billy Graham is still leading us all when it comes to the heart of the matter. It's about Christ and a relationship with Him. It is not about us or what we have 'done'.

He could so easily have said (and I would not have flinched or questioned him):
"Yeah, the President was a tough nut to crack but I just told him how it was... I'm glad I was there at a time he needed me and my message. I'm also glad I could contextualize the gospel for him. He had heard it before but he was turned off so I just repackaged it for him." But no, he didn't. He deflected the praise and exalted Jesus. (John 3:30)

I want to be found faithful with what God has given me but while being faithful I want to be found faithful with my attitude towards what He does with my life.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, June 17, 2005

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Today's Office

The other day Scott Hodge had a post about places he enjoys to work. I have a similar feeling on work space. We're getting offices on July 15th but I'm sure to be found at my local hangouts.



Today I'm at a local coffee shop.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, June 16, 2005

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Try to walk in their shoes

Last night I visited a couple in our church who haven't been involved in church before visiting us. They've been at Focal Point for about 5 weeks now. They had been damaged by works-based and rules-based churches in the past which turned them off from the value of the local church.

I met them one day during a trip to the Emergency Room. Their daughter was ill but the waiting room was completely full. About 12-14 of our church members were there to support one of our own students who had fallen ill. Our people started conversations with the wife/mother about their little girl and ultimately recommended they go to a local children's hospital for immediate care.

They decided to take that advice and the father/husband went to the front desk and informed the nurse that they'd be leaving he walked back past me toward his family. As he did I handed him an invite card (business card with directions) and said "Hey man, this group of people is here supporting one of our own, I heard you say you were active duty military, maybe our church could be a great support system for you. I encourage you to give us a shot." He politely nodded and off they went.

A few weeks later they came. They have been attending ever since.

As I heard their stories last night and got to understand where they were coming from I thought to myself "I hate it. I hate that they've been turned off to God's love based on people who created rules and became angry if they didn't follow those rules." Rules by the way that ARE NOT biblical.

It's important for those of us who are in the ministry to truly get to know people before passing judgment. Find out what hangups they may have and do your best to inform them without belittling. People have real questions and they want real answers. You don't have an insecure God so don't act insecure when challenged by someone asking questions that force you to think about your faith. Try to walk in their shoes...

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, June 16, 2005

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Attention LU Alum



SLC Basketball Courts- Center Court
Student Life Center
at Liberty University

Last weekend I visited Lynchburg (home of Liberty University) with our summer intern who is considering LU as his new educational home. We were given a tour of the school. WOW... It has changed in some amazing ways!

If someone wants a Christian undergrad, I don't think another campus can hold a candle to LU any longer. The picture to the left will take you on a visual tour of LU. This picture is from the Student Life Center at Liberty which in a major part was underwritten by Tim and Bev LaHaye.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, June 15, 2005

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Here God, There God, Everywhere God, God

In our leadership meetings lately I've been doing something I picked up from Andy Stanley.

I've been asking "What is God doing in the life of our Church?"

We answer in popcorn fashion (anyone can speak up) and share the various things God is actively doing among our people. From Salvation to brokenness to new sense of worship I am now hearing more and more stories of God's blessing on this body.

Sometimes we can get so tunnel-visioned that we lose sight of our 'Abba, Father'. When He's not getting the Glory for things He does in and around my life I feel I'm stealing from Him or plagiarising His work. We are the church... we are HIS Church. Focal Point shouldn't get credit... our Father should.

Take time today, this week, this month to ask around you and to observe: "What is God doing?"
I know in my own life how powerful this simple question has become and the wonderful picture it paints for me and my relationship with Him.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, June 15, 2005

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What about Bob?

This post is not about the movie... it's about the man, the legend...
Ladies and Gentleman please allow me to introduce you to another blogging friend: Bob Franquiz

"Bob Franquiz is the founding and Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel in Miami Lakes, FL (www.calvarywired.com). Birthed in the year 2000, Calvary Chapel Miami Lakes has grown from a Bible study of 7 people to a church that ministers to over 400 people each week. Pastor Bob is also the featured speaker on Fuel Radio, the radio ministry of Calvary Chapel Miami Lakes."

Bob is a great guy who is making it happen in Miami, FL. Read His stuff.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, June 15, 2005

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Change, Conflict, Growth (repeat after me)

I have to keep reminding myself of this image that Ed Young gives with regard to how growth occurs in any organization. At last year's Super Conference at Liberty University and then again at C3 he shared how important these three elements were to every organization's growth.

Our church started in a skating rink. Yes, a roller skating rink. With no schools available and the local movie theater unreasonable in price, we opted for the rink. Each week we brought in tables, chairs, a stage, sound equipment, children's and nursery and all of our signage as well as our welcome center materials and continental breakfast.

I remember going to the rink with our original core team (yes, I said 'original') and heard someone from the core say "I don't know if we should do this... we might have to get chairs." At that moment I silently prayed in disbelief... "Lord? Are you serious?" Looking back, chairs have been the least of our concerns.

One downside to our body meeting at the rink was the lack of nursery and children's space. Once the church got to 70 people or so we couldn't use the rink b/c our nursery was overflowing and more children meant more noise from their area. So.. the move.

We recently moved to a High School. We've not transitioned wonderfully well. I believe several factors have been at play.

1. Our small groups stopped meeting for a while which broke down the intimacy apart from Sunday mornings. Now for some, 'Sunday' is back to being about their needs, not the needs of our local community.

2. The space is almost overwhelming in size for our smaller church. I would have preferred to use a neighboring elementary school but their custodial staff didn't want to come in on the weekends.

3. At the rink we could see what needed to be done and 'pitch in'. At the school we are apart from one another and some things aren't being done as smoothly as they should b/c people who would be glad to help don't easily see the need.

4. We moved at the end of the school year which is a very busy time for many of our people.

Last night our leadership team had a lively meeting about all of this. I believe the meeting was productive, insightful and encouraging. I'm looking forward to implementing some of the changes we discussed. I reminded everyone however that it does no good for us to be the bomb.com church on Sunday morning unless we are active in reaching out to our community.

*It's also no good to invite people in to a wishyouwerethebombbutyouareadud.com church [uncomfortable environment].*

So, here we have it. We've experienced the change. Last night we had a little conflict and I'm sure with other adjustments we may see a little more. We are, however, going to push through the conflict (making adjustments to improve) and prayerfully see God bring on the growth.

Keep us in your prayers. Church planting is fun.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, June 15, 2005

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Tie your boat to the Vision

I once read a story about a guy who upon coming in from fishing with some buddies stayed in the boat while his friends went to use the rest room and grab a snack on shore. The three guys threw the rope loosely around the dock and two went on their relief mission while the one friend stayed back with the boat. After a few minutes the sun and soothing motion of the water took their toll on the young man left behind in the boat and off to sleep he went.

After what felt like 30 seconds the young man jumped suddenly from his rest as he felt the boat rock back and forth with force. Startled he looks up only to see himself away from shore. Drifting he thinks to himself "How did I get here?"

Some times if we're not paying attention we can end up drifting in that boat. As a leader this is one of the worst feelings. Not being anchored while feeling that you're alone drifting is a crushing defeat to the driven individual. The leader within is secure when he/she is chasing, charting, pushing and pulling themselves and their organization forward. Sitting helplessly adrift fits no natural instinct of the leader.

There have been many times in our church's first year that I could have been drifting. Some of those times where when good people wanted me to tie the boat to their pier. In a church plant you will have many people come along and with a burst of energy be the greatest team players you'll meet. You will want to give them the ministry and 'get them into leadership'... Don't! You will regret tying God's vision for your church to the so called 'pier' of others. Before you know it you will wake up drifting as you think back "How did I end up here?"

Other times I have found myself drifting:
- I've had relational drift where I got so focused on the 'work' of ministry that I neglected my relationships with the people in the ministry.
- I've drifted in my relationship with Christ when I was too busy "serving Him" to notice that I was ignoring Him as my protector, provider, Lord and Savior.
- I have drifted in my role as a husband as I pull a 15 hour work day and crawl into bed with my already asleep wife and think "how did we end up here?" while I lean over to turn off the light.

In every drift I've experienced there has only been one thing that has brought me back... God's vision for my life. This is the only thing upon which I can "tie" my proverbial boat. God's vision for my life does not include neglecting my family, ignoring people for work, and definitely not ignoring Him. God's vision for my life is not that I get caught up in what others think of me. God's vision for my life however is all about Him. God's vision for my life is that I become the best CHILD of GOD, Husband, Son, Father, Pastor, Friend, Neighbor and Rescuer that I can become. I believe I become all those things as a byproduct of Knowing Him. (John 17:3)

As you find yourself in a season (or moment) of drift, I encourage you to seek out and recall God's perfect vision for your life. When you see yourself in a tough situation, there is no greater cure than to see yourself as God sees you.

Tie your boat to His Vision for your life.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, June 14, 2005

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I feel like an Uncle

I just got the news that my best friend John is now a proud new father!

Tale of the tape:
Name: Lawton Ryder Smith
Parents: John and Amber Smith
Weight: 7lbs 4oz
Height: 20 1/4 inches
Born: Today, June 13th at 11:20a.m. in Corpus Christi, TX

There are some great posts on John's new blog. If you get the opportunity, drop in and post a note of congratulations !

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, June 13, 2005

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What's in YOUR motivation?

I’ve often been a harsh critic of myself in the area of motivation. To me the ‘why’ I’m doing something is as important or more important than the ‘what’ I’m doing. I read a passage of scripture as a freshman in college that has never exited my mind. The passage is Philippians 2:1-11.

In the ministry we can often find ourselves doing things for the spotlight or greed or even ‘freedom from a boss’. At times there are good motivations that can replace the great motivation. Some people can find themselves in ministry because they are co-dependant. They seek to lead in a church because they get their self-esteem puffed up from helping others. For them, they live for someone to be helped because then they feel self-worth. The motivation in that case is completely selfish.

With volunteers we often see that someone would love to be on stage singing but that same person would never help with the nursery or pick up trash in the halls.

As Tony Morgan’s friend, Tim Stevens points out in “Simply Strategic Volunteers”, someone has to clean the toilets. I’ve removed several ‘on stage’ people after discovering that their motivation for the stage wasn’t to “Encourage and Equip people to Know God through his Son Jesus Christ.” It was to “Encourage and Adore myself by doing stuff these people like to (hear/see) about Jesus Christ.”

As Pastors we aren’t out of the loop either. In fact we have to constantly check-ourselves in this department. As we look back to scripture we are reminded that we are to not live out of selfish ambition and vain conceit but rather consider others better than ourselves. Why? Because Christ demonstrated this in His own life and we are to constantly point to Him, not ourselves. Our lives should hold mirrors reflecting Christ, not empty picture frames held in front of our face.

The God of the universe came to the planet in an Earth-Suit. Once here he SERVED. Then he DIED. He didn’t just die. He died a death on the CROSS!

What a paradox. All at once He was the supreme and the most humble being. He flipped our view of ‘supreme’ on it’s head.

I've learned in life that I’m not really all that powerful when I seek out selfish ambition. It doesn’t take much strength for me to attempt to make myself look good in the eyes of others. (we naturally do that on our own, our tire pressure always pulls to that side) It takes a ton of strength to keep my focus on glorifying God and considering others above myself.

So, what’s in YOUR motivation?

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, June 13, 2005

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Is your congregation your world?

Or is the world your congregation?

Mark Batterson has a "dagger" of a post on his blog, the batterson blog. If I posted a cool church of the week like {gary} or {tony}, I'd have National Community Church on that list. Get out your blogline, I think you'll like his stuff!

I called this post a "dagger" b/c if you're like me it will be one of those posts that remind you what you always have known but can sometimes get a little twisted. Have fun.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, June 12, 2005

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Who are you leading?

Many new church plants fall apart before the end of their 3rd year. We aren't out of the woods yet but are more stable than many seem to be. The problem is that I can't settle for 'better than others'. I have to lead in such a way that we are giving God our best. I can't compare myself with Fellowship (Shouts to Mitch and Steve and Mark), Miami Lakes (Hey Bob), History (Hola Ben) or Ridge Stone (go Gary!) or the dying congregations and "national averages". I'm charged with leading this church to 'Encourage and Equip people to Know God'.

One of my personal leadership challenges for 2005 has been to begin duplicating myself in other lay-leaders within our church. In our first ministry year I didn't 'do everything' but I didn't reproduce myself either. I set up leaders over ministry areas and let them go. That's fine to get the ball moving when you have no money and 'need' the basics (music, nursery, children) but it is most definately NOT the way to grow a healthy ministry for the long-haul. As we approached our second year (we're now in our 15th month), I knew that I needed to spend this year INTENTIONALLY reproducing myself as a leader (think Mitosis).

Currently I am working with 3 guys at different places in their leadership development. My passion is to have each of them leading major areas within our church by next year (if they are up for it at that time). Each of them are already leading some area but I want to invest in them and develop such deep relationships that I begin to view them the way I would view anyone I hired to fulfill these ministry areas. Each of these guys are leaders in their professions. I view my role less about teaching them nuts and bolts of doing a ministry as much as my role is to model the discipleship and ministry aspects of leadership within the context of the local church.

Yes it takes time but the way I see it, I can pay now or I'll pay later.
On top of everything else I truly appreciate these guys and know that we're building a great foundation to a preferred future.

We aren't a thousand member church but there is no reason that we cannot groom future leaders today so that our church doesn't experience the bottleneck because of me trying to play Superman. I'm sure we'll hire from the outside at some point but I'm certain that the average local church would be in better shape if we (staff Pastors) invested in those who already invest in the ministry.

So, the question remains for us each day... Who ARE you leading?

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, June 10, 2005

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ONE

You may have seen Brad Pitt on Primtime live this week.

In between the lust for the next 'scoop', Diane Sawyer managed to assist Mr. Pitt in sharing about a relevant crisis and a growing network of people who want to make a difference.

It appears that we may actually have the opportunity for "Christianity" to partner with everyone else in the world to do some good through a campaign called "The ONE Campaign". Many celebrates have joined many Christian organizations and humanitarian groups in this effort and have signed this declaration. What I noticed when I looked at the celebrity list was that bands like DMB and No Doubt and Bono are listed alongside Toby Mac, Third Day, Relient K and Jars of Clay. This has the potential for Christians to build bridges with the rest of the world on a very human level. Many times people see what we say we believe and feel that it doesn't match up with our actions.

The goal of ONE.org is to re-align America's governmental budget to contribute 1 percent of the overall budget (about $25 billion) to fighting issues like poverty and HIV/AIDS. The resources are at our fingertips. To give you some idea, the cost for the 2004 elections was approximately 4 billion dollars. Another thought might be the cost of the current Iraq war (which I personally support) at around $175 billion (total congressional approval for Iraq and Afghanistan to date is $300 billion).

This discussion is not about wars or political parties. This issue is about humanity and stewardship. As the richest nation in the world and leaders of some of the most wealthy people in the world, we all have the potential to make an enormous impact.

I read a while back that if we own more than 1 set of clothes then we are in the top 1/3 of the richest people on the planet. I also read recently that 1 billion people live on less than 1 dollar a day. Each time I file my taxes I also have the opportunity to approve $3 to go into a fund for political campaigns. It doesn't require my personal cash, just my voice.

From the site:
ONE percent of the U.S. budget is $25 billion, and redirecting that much money would have to be done over time. Directed to honest governments, private charities and faith-based organizations, this support would provide the tools and resources they need to really make a difference. American support would be part of a compact with poor countries who fight corruption and use their own resources to help their people out of poverty. American leadership would be an example for rich countries in Europe and Asia to do their share to help the poorest people in the world.

In addition to the celebs I mentioned earlier, World Vision and Save the Children are two other prominent organizations involved in this effort. I want to encourage the rest of us (starting with myself) to play a role in this opportunity. I'm not a big "fight for this cause" type of guy. I just see something here that makes a ton of sense and there is no way I can justify inaction on my part.

The potential impact on our world is amazing if enough of us help shed light on the issues. I encourage you to get involved and spread the word. No one is asking for your cash, just your voice.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, June 09, 2005

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Introducing John B Smith

Those of you who read this site know that from time to time I mention conversations had with 'a good friend' or 'my friend John'. John and I have been very close friends since our days at Liberty University. He's a Lead Pastor in Corpus Christi, TX at 1st Family Church.

John is an 'iron sharpens iron' type of guy. We have a transparent friendship which we use to challenge one another regularly (for the better). I'm certain that our logic, debate and creativity have all been enhanced due to our frequent discussions.

Recently John has been observing the blogging world and has decided to share his brain with the rest of us. I think your blogline would do well to include his thoughts. He will share everything from social issues, political observation (don't freak out, he's more pragmatic than anything), church thoughts and leadership lessons. He's a straight shooting intellectual whom I believe you'll enjoy.

So ladies and gentleman, here is John B Smith.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, June 08, 2005

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Believers Prayer

When I was a teen I learned and prayed the "Sinners Prayer" but this morning in my devotion I read about the "Believers Prayer".

Acts 4:23-31
23On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
" 'Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together
against the Lord
and against his Anointed One.' 27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Many people in church planting will point out Acts 4: 32-37 as an ideal church. After reading this passage this morning I am convinced we should hit 'Rewind' and check out the previous verses.

Peter and John just left what could have been a pretty scary situation. They got away with a tongue lashing only because so many people had fallen in love with their message that the priests, elders and teachers of the law felt it was best to let them go as opposed to making them martyr patties.

As Peter and John got back to the camp the story unfolds. They share what God had done in their time of need and immediately the people responded in prayer by giving Glory to God. They didn't bottle it up, have a pot-luck or create programs to re-create the moving of God... they simply honored him as God and expressed their desire to continue seeing His power active in their lives.

v29"Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

They asked for a very simple thing:
1. God allow us to be bold and do what you've called us to do-- speak your word with boldness.
2. God, please show up and do what you do best.... be God.

You see, I'd like to think I always fall in line with my prayers this way. I'd like to think that as a Pastor I pray God's will all of the time. I'd like to think that if we were writing the bible today someone would be prompted by the Holy Spirit to write my prayer down as an example but in reality how often is this the case? How much of our day-to-day prayer life is worth being recorded as scriptural?

I find myself instead asking "God, today will you come down on my agenda for YOUR church?" or "God, please bless ________ action our staff has done for you." How crazy is that? We Pastors don't normally talk about our prayers (b/c it's embarrasing) this way but it's often true.

So for me today I've been reminded that no matter how good my "Good efforts" are, I still have a lot to work on. Today I want to live out the prayer of the early saints in Acts.

All of us would do well today to pray as they prayed-
"God, please reveal yourself as God today and allow me to speak boldly for your name."

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, June 07, 2005

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Socrates

One of the most important lessons I may have pulled away from my college experience is a statement from Socrates. He often says something like this "I know I'm the smartest man in the world because I know I do not know everything."

You see, Socrates spent a period of his life going around asking questions and causing debate. The Delphic Oracle had declared Socrates was the wisest of men (in 399 BC). Socrates spent his life testing the the truth of the oracle by engaging in philosophical debate with anyone he could. According to the story Socrates was frustrating everyone because he was doing more than just educating, he was causing people to question. Socrates often boasted that he knew "nothing" and that this made him wiser than other men who thought they knew when in fact they were ignorant. For Socrates, the point of existence was the pursuit of true knowledge. The unexamined life is not worth living.

Often times we go through life rather numb. We accept things as they are. We rely on others for sources of truth and understanding (see thoughts from my friend Mitch) and we assume at times that we already "know" (see Chris Gonzalez). These guys both hit on a chord that resonates with my life. We must not stop questioning, searching, learning and growing.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, June 06, 2005

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Today is my Birthday!

I'm getting older.

I'm embracing growth. I guess I can't do anything about it anyway but lately I have enjoyed the journey my mind takes me on. I contemplate life and philosophical issues much more now than ever. I think I'm valuing life and the smaller things I've ignored most of my youth.

It's a cool process.

Have a great day today. If you need me I'll be by the lake in my wheelchair. :)

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, June 05, 2005

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The Intern has arrived

Mikael Ritter, our summer missionary/intern has arrived. He actually arrived on Thursday night.

We went to show him the beautiful beaches of Virginia.



Gotta have the footprints picture!


Mikael and Ashley



My lovely bride and her baby magazine.


Me and my baby (she's being a little silly).

I just purchased this camera on Friday. So far so good, I'm very pleased with the purchase.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, June 04, 2005

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W.O.M.

This Tuesday I sat down with my leadership team and processed with them a business principle I read on Creating Passionate Users blog. The post is about being remarkable at every level. In the blog post they use a book as an example. The idea is rather simple but was great for our team to process.

As a church planter (and likely Pastor in general), it's vital that we all agree what a "SCORE" is. What we found was some things are being taken as "scores" that really don't add value to the organization.

The summary of the article is to create remarkability within segments of the overall project... in our case, the church.

They took: Book, Chapter, Page, Paragraph

I translated it for our team and we looked at: Church, Ministries, Small Groups, People

After about 1 hour of processing this concept with the 5 team members and a white-board I really believe we've moved forward in many ways. We walked away with practical things to measure as a score in our organization.

I've been through something like this before but with a different twist. Several years ago I learned about Management By Objectives. It's a great tool to get a grasp of organizational goals.

Where does all of this go? W.O.M.

Word of Mouth is the way the vast majority of people find out about and begin attending church. When we have measurable "scores" that lead to remarkability, we can begin to highlight the remarkability about our church. If we do this correctly week after week, we will generate positive W.O.M. with our attendees and see them telling their friends about our church.

Regardless of what we do week after week we are sending out an impression. Having these goals in mind allows us to create the impression INTENTIONALLY. If you are a leader of an organization, I encourage you to think about your "consumer" or "guest" and build your organizations around their experience. They will have an experience anyway, why not set things up for them to have the experience that you would like them to have?

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, June 02, 2005

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Amway Christianity

I'm in Barnes & Nobel writing the message for this week. I just had a meeting with one of our state representatives and one of my leadership team members so today this has been my office.

A table away from me a conversation is taking place where two younger people (early twenties) are talking. Well, one of them is talking and one is pretending to listen. The guy is telling the girl "What would you do with a $100,000 income? Would you move to Hawaii?, Would you buy a new Jag?" On and on it goes.

He then talks about how if she got 20 friends to buy a bar of something and they got 20 friends... she'd make X. After a web of numbers and calculator figures he says "That's what you'll be making!"

I couldn't help but to look up at her face. She's staring off into the store with a somewhat skeptical look as he sips his Latte with one foot on the floor and the other perched up on a chair next to him. He's obviously making a sales pitch that she's not buying. But he keeps talking.

Amway Jesus is the same pitch. Jesus called us to leave our father and mother and we tell people they can get $100,000. Jesus said the last shall be first and we say "God wants you in front of the line." Jesus says that the love of money is the root of all evil and we say "Touch our prayer cloth and get loaded." Now in the circles I run it we may not be so blunt but we are. We attempt to sell Jesus for what he can give. Does he give these things? Yes. If he wants to.

I'm getting turned off and I feel bad for this poor girl who had this meeting sprung on her. I hope we (read: I) don't distribute the Amway Jesus. I hope that what we do is introduce people to Christ for all of His glory. What I know is that I don't have to over-hype the God of all Creation. I think his resume is pretty cool on it's own. If I can practice a life of clearly communicating the Gospel... I'll be doing a good thing. I don't have to Amway-Jesus people to death. I can simply Creatively communicate the timeless message of Christ and Relationships will be born. Eternal loving relationships.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, June 01, 2005

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