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Another Reason...

... I'm going to Baltimore.

The following data is crime data within the last two weeks in one Baltimore neighborhood. An awesome ministry I care about rests in this area. I've helped this ministry a little bit and I keep up with their activities. They are reaching people, loving them and meeting needs in the name of Jesus. They have 70 or so people gathered to form a church that "looks" exactly like their community. They are a congregation of people who live in the midst of these stats. To them every stat has a victim and that victim is a neighbor, family member or friend.

I wanted to keep them on my mind and in my prayer life so about 8 months ago I signed up on spotcrime.com to receive crime updates for their neighborhood. Seeing these updates on a regular basis helps me "See the Need" without having to ask "How can I pray for you?" Every few days I can see how to pray for their neighborhood. The people who run this church and ministry are completely volunteer and work side jobs to be able to do ministry. They are Christian special forces as far as I'm concerned.

(click the logo for your city's data)

As you read this list please be aware that these are crimes only within a 2 mile radius of an inner-city church. This is one more example of city-life and why it's time for Christianity at-large to take a harder look at how to reach cities in America.

Crime Date
Robbery . Saturday, Oct 25 2008.
Assault . Thursday, Oct 23 2008.
Robbery . Sunday, Oct 19 2008.
Assault . Monday, Oct 20 2008.
Burglary . Saturday, Oct 18 2008.
Burglary . Wednesday, Oct 22 2008.
Assault . Wednesday, Oct 22 2008.
Theft . Sunday, Oct 19 2008.
Burglary . Monday, Oct 20 2008.
Theft . Tuesday, Oct 21 2008.
Assault . Sunday, Oct 19 2008.
Theft . Sunday, Oct 19 2008.
Theft . Thursday, Oct 23 2008.
Theft . Thursday, Oct 23 2008.
Theft . Sunday, Oct 19 2008.
Burglary . Tuesday, Oct 21 2008.
Theft . Monday, Oct 20 2008.
Theft . Tuesday, Oct 21 2008.
Burglary . Monday, Oct 20 2008.
Theft . Sunday, Oct 19 2008.
Burglary . Wednesday, Oct 22 2008.
Assault . Wednesday, Oct 22 2008.
Theft . Monday, Oct 20 2008.
Theft . Sunday, Oct 19 2008.
Assault . Saturday, Oct 25 2008.
Theft . Sunday, Oct 19 2008.
Burglary . Saturday, Oct 18 2008.
Theft . Thursday, Oct 23 2008.
Theft . Monday, Oct 20 2008.
Theft . Tuesday, Oct 21 2008.
Robbery . Saturday, Oct 18 2008.
Theft . Sunday, Oct 19 2008.
Theft . Thursday, Oct 23 2008.
Assault . Friday, Oct 24 2008.
Burglary . Tuesday, Oct 21 2008.
Theft . Tuesday, Oct 21 2008.
Theft . Sunday, Oct 19 2008.
Assault . Saturday, Oct 18 2008.
Theft . Monday, Oct 20 2008.
Assault . Wednesday, Oct 22 2008.
Assault . Saturday, Oct 25 2008.
Robbery . Tuesday, Oct 21 2008.
Assault . Monday, Oct 20 2008.
Assault . Sunday, Oct 19 2008.
Theft . Tuesday, Oct 21 2008.
Assault . Saturday, Oct 25 2008.
Theft . Tuesday, Oct 21 2008.
Theft . Thursday, Oct 23 2008.
Theft . Saturday, Oct 18 2008.

For more info, go to http://spotcrime.com


So I have to ask myself:
1. How many people do I know by name who live in areas with this much crime?

2. If I lived in an area with this much crime how would that affect my views of a God?

3. If God is a God of Justice, should God's people be okay with neighborhoods having this much violence and darkness?

4. If I lived here, how would I see a group of suburban Christians who come into the 'hood for 1 day every 4 months to 'get me saved'?

5. What would I think about their God as I see them pull away in their 15 passenger vans?

Is there a better way to bring Jesus to these communities and form connections with the churches who have resources- human, financial, educational, etc.? I think there is.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, October 31, 2008

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Honoring our Senior Saints

Text not available
Historical Sketch of the Second Baptist Church of Baltimore, Maryland By Joshua Edwin Wills

There is a large portion of my generation of Pastors who are having to mature in the area of honoring the generations who have gone before.

We seem to have a reactionary approach to our predecessors which does not allow us to show the proper respect and honor for their lives in service to God. We find fault with the 'how' and often ignore the 'why'. The why is usually the same. When they were younger they wanted to change the world. They wanted to be a part of a move of God. They wanted to see Jesus' name made famous. Now they didn't say it in the same terms we use today but that's what their lives point toward.

Today it seems that many in my peer group are having difficulty handling pride. We are so confident that we know everything that we are having a hard time living in a humble confidence.

It is my belief that this schism is one major reason why in our nation we have so many congregations with church facilities under utilized and right down the road or around the corner sits a vinyl sign advertising a church run by a young leader. Each week these two groups largely ignore one another and write off the problem to a distaste of each others 'style'. In reality I think the problem rests more on respect and honor.

Recently I was given a written history of my former church- "2nd & 4th Baptist Church" of Baltimore, MD. The author was my first and only Pastor - from salvation at 13 to departure for college at 18- Pastor Calvin Hudson. Pastor Hudson wrote this history in 1996 to celebrate our churches 200 year anniversary ministering in the city of Baltimore.

In reading through the events of the years from my youth I noticed this section about myself:

Tally Wilgis Commissioning Service

On May 21, Youth Night was held at the church with our splendid young people conducting the entire service. Young people taking part included: Heather Zebeck, Danny Busch, Patrick Pugh, Laura Glenn, Stephanie Keesler, Helen Kopeck, Timmy Horky, Monica Wilgis and Tally Wilgis.

The message was given by Tally, who later served as a Sojourner Summer Missionary to Houston, Texas under the sponsorship of the Home Mission Board. Following the sermon, Pastor Hudson led in a Commissioning Service in which those present were invited to lay hands on Tally and whisper to him their prayer of support for his summer mission in Houston. The hymn of commitment for the commissioning was "Make Me a Blessing."

I had no idea that my former Pastor thought enough of that night to document it in this way.

As I read this account from the Pastor of my youth I couldn't help but to think how appreciative I am of he and the other leaders of this church who allowed me the opportunity to preach for the very first time. They suffered through it and lied to me by telling me I did a great job. I'm also beyond grateful that this congregation paid my airfare to get to my summer mission experience at 17 years old. I spent three months serving in the inner city of Houston and God broke me that summer. It was that summer that God got a hold of my heart and began to change me. The ripple effect of that summer continues to this moment. I've documented on numerous occasions on this blog and elsewhere how significant that summer was to me. It was made possible by the love and generosity of these Senior Saints.

I would have never known that the moment recorded in these pages would ultimately mean so much in my life but I have always valued those of a previous generation who gave me the opportunity to stand on their shoulders and serve Jesus using my unique voice.

The history of my home church in Baltimore was summarized by my former Pastor Calvin Hudson with these words:

"Our history began with the names of a handful of courageous Baptists from Leicester [England] who dared to do the difficult for Christ in a new world. Our history shall continue by the grace of God because of another handful of courageous Baptists and their friends in Christ who dare to do the difficult in a new age."

Did you catch that?
Our history shall continue by the grace of God because of another handful of courageous Baptists and their friends in Christ who dare to do the difficult in a new age."

It is difficult. It is a new age in our history.

The reality is that everyone knows that methods have to change. No one likes change but we know that methods change. The mission and message however do not. Between the mission, message and methods we agree with our predecessors on at least 2 of 3. I say lets start there. Let's show honor by focusing on where we have common convictions. I believe if young leaders would do that they would find plenty of wisdom and support from the previous generation.

People want to leave a legacy. I think part of the problem right now is that it's hard to pass a baton to a person who's making a fist with their hand.

Young generation- my generation- I urge you to relax and take the loving road. Show honor and respect. You don't have to serve Jesus the way 'its always been done before' but you do need to love Christians of a different generation.

My prayer is that some young leaders would take on the burden to humbly and lovingly honor the previous generation and beg God for the creativity necessary to move forward in a difficult new age. It can be done. It should be done. After all it won't be long before we are a part of that previous generation.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, October 31, 2008

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Urban Ministry: Breaking down walls


In order to push back the darkness in a rough urban environment you have to understand that you're going to have to deal with some walls. The reality is that if you work with people anywhere you will have to deal with some walls- but I'd like to make note of the walls that come from the "concrete jungle" of living in a city.

As a kid I remember having to learn how to watch my back at all times. Many times walking home from school I'd see guys get jumped or the police sirens scream past as I walked home. I got in my fair share of fights and was jumped a few times. Unfortunately for many people that is a part of life. You have to learn how to deal with it. You deal with it by building walls.

It's not only physical problems that make a person have to put up walls it is also emotional problems that take their toll. When you are working in an environment with high population density you are working in an area where space itself is a rare commodity. In terms of spacial relations, distance gives us a sense of comfort. We like wide hallways, wide streets, large yards with high wooden fences. We like our own space. How many amazing conversations have you had in an elevator? Most of the time a good conversation gets awkwardly silent in an elevator. Cramming people into a tight space tends to affect our psyche.

When placed in tight confines people often act in a way that seems strange to the educated suburbanite. Factor in the problems associated with poverty and you're asking for trouble. You have broken marriages, family disputes, neighborhood rivalries, racial tension, etc. When a person has what seems to be everything stripped away and they are living in an unstable environment they begin to take control of whatever they can. Psychologically (and Generationally) they feel that they can't make it out of the environment so "why should I even try?" becomes the question of the day. People succumb to it. When people succumb to the environment they begin to think in terms of "respect" and ownership.

When you have a mom or dad who is cracking under the pressures many urban working-class people face (such as extreme financial hardship, familial disputes, employment problems, family in prison, drug abuse, etc) there becomes an increase in likelihood that they take control wherever they can. So in the city you find people tend to have higher emotional walls as a protection mechanism against people who may want to 'invade' that last place over which they have control... their heart. When you're concerned with helping change a person's heart this realty presents a problem.

In the past we've handled this problem of 'walls' by quoting an ill-cited verse about hard ground. It makes us feel good and we can go back to the suburban latte drinkers where the ground is 'more fertile'. Fortunately for all of us there is a shift taking place. I believe a growing number of suburban Christians today genuinely want to help but they don't know how to overcome some of these barriers.

What We've Done Before:
What very kind and very untrained suburban Christians have done in the past was to sweep into town and try to "fix" people with the magic pill of Jesus. All the while trying to get out of the neighborhood before it gets dark so they can head back to the host church 20 miles west to have a pizza party and listen to a Jesus band.

When a person lives in a constant state of awareness as a means of self preservation their "walls" get built up (high and thick).

When a child doesn't have his mother or father around or sees their family members battle with the ugliness of drug use and abuse their are walls built up (high and thick).
My Point of View:
I realized this about myself when I was about 18 or 19 years old. I had HUGE issues with anger. I would either pull COMPLETELY away from people or I would lash out in rage. Both of these mechanisms were protection mechanisms. Both of these mechanisms were damaging to other people. Both of these extremes were unhealthy and wrong. Sometimes when our walls are built up and we want to fix it we tell ourselves that silence and ignoring our anger is the way to go. That couldn't be further from the truth. The only healthy step is to acknowledge and begin to process our anger. We can't blow up at people and we can't ignore people.

I grew up in an environment where to avoid being hurt you had to either stay completely away from a situation or you had to be the biggest and baddest dude on the block. There was no 'safe' in between.

Drop the tricks, pick up a broom: If we want to bring the message of Jesus to the people of a city we need to check our bag of tricks at the door. Urban people are some of the most discerning people I have ever met. They can spot a fake, a phony or a scared man a mile away. Remember, most of them are professionals at discernment. It's become part of survival.

So how do you help to bring down walls that separate people from Jesus? Take the posture of a servant. Show people that you aren't concerned for them to get a notch on your proverbial Christian belt. Show people that you genuinely care for them because Jesus cares for them. Slowly you will see that wall come down. You must be patient and you must be genuine. They won't believe you at first. Then -when they start to believe in you- they will look at their watch to see how long you stay. But if you earn their trust through loving them and you stick around through a few storms you become one of them. You can be adopted into the neighborhood.

One final thought about the city (at least Baltimore). Within a neighborhood we would fight each other from time to time but if one of our own got hurt outside of our neighborhood... everyone had his/her back. Urban people can become some of the most loyal and trustworthy friends you'll ever meet in your life IF you take the time to invest and show yourself sincere.

So if you're into urban ministry I encourage you. Take the position of Jesus... the position of servant. Come in and love. Tough it out. You will be rewarded by being allowed into the inner circle and you'll be surprised at how much love is found there... behind the walls.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, October 28, 2008

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Sunday Prayer Request



Traveling again. Check out the video for ways to pray this week. Thanks for joining me on the journey.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, October 26, 2008

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Two Cities and Three Diseases

In Baltimore -- like other major cities-- there are really two separate cities.
One city exists inside of the beltway, and a second city sits outside of the beltway. In Baltimore, this disparity can be articulated using any number of metrics (crime, homicide, drug abuse, government assistance, etc.).

Lets take education. Education is a pillar to any society.
If children are not properly equipped with basic tools needed to read, write and think critically, they are doomed for a life of dependence. Check out this quote from an April 2, 2008 article in the U.S. News and World Report:

"For example, only slightly more than a third of students in Baltimore schools earn a diploma, compared with 82 percent of students in the suburbs—the largest urban and suburban graduation disparity in the nation."

Did you catch that? The largest urban and suburban graduation disparity in the nation. Education is only one area where the reality of two cities exist in this metropolitan region but it highlights the harsh reality.

In Baltimore, there is a general divide between these two cities. The divide is the Beltway. Except for some pockets of refreshing charm, Baltimore's beltway is the dividing line that dictates if your child will have an 82% chance at graduation or a 33% chance at graduation.
So have no doubt, Baltimore is really two (or more) cities.

What are the challenges facing Baltimore?
Over the years as I've thought about home, I thought about the various types of people and the challenges they face. I considered, "What are the few things that really define the problem?" After all, if you don't have a clear idea of what the problems are, I don't believe you are the person to answer them.

In my estimation there are three "diseases" that plague these two cities and I want to spend my life finding cures. The three diseases are: Spiritual Darkness, Generational Apathy and Generational Poverty.

Spiritual Darkness: As a follower of Jesus, I have an enormous burden to push back spiritual darkness. Also as a follower of Jesus, I believe that the pushing back of spiritual darkness is done by bringing the light of Jesus into a community through the people of Jesus. It's by that light that many of the ills of society find their end. When the light comes, it brings with it justice, mercy, compassion, true identity, hope, future, promise, on and on...

Generational Apathy: Apathy is to me one of American Christianity's greatest evils. Apathy is not unique to Christians, however. Apathy is a byproduct of the American dream. It's the "what's next?" question that people have once they have bought the toys, gotten into the right neighborhood and are a part of all the right clubs in the community. Then their routine life takes over and before they know it they look at a calendar or a child graduating, and people say, "Where has the time gone?" As people look back on their lives, they cannot point to a greater cause than self preservation and self improvement. People feel a void. As people of Jesus, I believe we can become friends with some amazing causes in and around the city which may or may not be Christian in nature but work to break up the hard ground of apathy. There is common ground where we are both trying to help the same people. We will be getting to know the organizations with causes worth championing in Baltimore. We want to partner with anyone who is working to engage people plagued with apathy.


Generational Poverty:
It's been interesting for me to see so many Christian books, experiments, lectures and conferences addressing the topic of poverty. Many genuine people are involved in the cause. Our approach, however, is not solely immediate needs (while those who meet those needs are necessary and welcome in urban settings). One of the things that suburban or rural Christians don't understand is the mindset and web of problems that plague those who are stuck in "Generational Poverty." These are some deep-seeded issues. We're talking family structure, self worth, view of authority, education, jobs, health care, violence, mental health, and so on. Generational Poverty has a cycle that seems to spin so fast the gravity of which will not let a person go. There are so many areas of a human being's life that are tied up into generational poverty that it takes more than a conversation and the handing of a sandwich to help a person even see that his/her life could be better. So, in the future when you hear me speak of our desire to cure generational poverty, I'm not talking about sending a mission team once a week to a bridge to feed the homeless...I'm talking about addressing major aspects of the environment that continue to plague the people of Baltimore City. We're going to start with one story, then one block, then one neighborhood...all along the way, my prayer is that you will hear person after person who has victory after victory until we make a dent that the public must notice. From there we will begin taking these models and moving them to other areas of our city.


This is just a glimpse at our vision.
We're targeting three main diseases: Spiritual Darkness, Generational Apathy and Generational Poverty. We're not coming to Baltimore to get a few dozen people in a room to sing songs. We're coming here to change the lives of this city for generations to come the way we believe the people of Jesus should.


------------------

For more info: TheBaltimoreProject.com

ALSO: Catch us on Facebook and Twitter.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, October 24, 2008

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Update and Prayer Request

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, October 23, 2008

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The Big Announcement

I've accepted an invitation to return home to Baltimore, MD and start a new church. But that's not the reason I'm going. I'm returning home to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire city and to have a front row seat as God flips that place upside down!

Early this year I was asked by some friends at our national convention to pray over an opportunity to return to Baltimore to plant a church in my hometown. Initially I wasn't sold on the idea. My family has a life here. We love our friends, the rich culture here and the amazing region in which we live. I did have a sense that God was up to something but I wasn't sure.

I thought I had good reasons. I mean c'mon... Virginia Beach is constantly named one of the best places to live! This year "BestLife" named Virginia Beach, VA as the second best place to raise a family -- second to Honolulu, HI which puts it in pretty good company for a young family like ours. (My hometown of Baltimore ranked a distant 72nd but was surprisingly above our first ministry home of Corpus Christi, TX.) Because of some of these :: cough:: selfish ::cough:: reasons I wanted to continue working towards what God called me to here in Virginia Beach. God had other plans and I began to see them.

The longer I prayed over this opportunity the more it became clear that this was God moving us into position to accomplish that vision he had birthed in my heart years ago. Let me rewind: For many years after leaving Baltimore I would return home only to have a sinking feeling in my stomach everywhere I went. About 3 years ago however I was driving south on I-83 into Baltimore City. It is a winding road that takes you into downtown. There is an area where the road seems to open up and you can see what appears to be the entire city in front of you. Something happened this time. Instead of feeling depressed about the city I had a sense of responsibility. A sense of confidence. I silently asked God why I felt different and He seemed to be saying "Tally, I've prepared you. You're ready. You're going to be part of the solution."

Kristy and I spent months in prayer and conversation. We sought advice, sought prayer and sought counsel. It was so tough to consider stepping away from the life we've built here in Virginia but it became painfully obvious that God was at work in our lives. It seems like once that realization set in God broke my heart even more for the city. It's been so obvious that God is in this. He's brought encouragement from everywhere! We've already started lining up some fantastic partner churches and we have some talented people already committed to move to Maryland with us to be apart of this effort. I'm so excited about what God is about to do in and through us.

Introducing: Captivate Christian Church


Captivate: to capture the attention with irresistible appeal.

God is a captivating God and His message is a captivating message. We're headed to Baltimore to share that message with the city.

Over the next days and weeks I'll cast more of our vision and share more about our focus area here. I have to tell you though... the vision includes YOU! Its our desire to see a network of friends from the "blog world" turn into actual hands and feet to bring the gospel to the people of the "real world". We want to partner with you as an individual, your small group and your church. We are building a network of people who will pray for us and work with us to see Baltimore turned upside down!

I'm so excited about what God is doing and I want you to be part of it. Please take a moment to connect with us in the following 4 ways.

1. Check out TheBaltimoreProject.com. You can download a PDF which tells you a little more of the plan. I'd love it if you also click "contact us" and give our team some encouraging words. Lastly on this site you can contribute financially to what we're doing.

2. Follow us on Twitter. We're going to Twitter prayer requests and updates along the way. We really would love to get hundreds of Christians around the country praying for us when we send out tweets. Our team will keep up with you too. Feel free to direct message us down the road when we can pray for you! Follow us here: http://twitter.com/captivatechurch

3. Become friends on Facebook. We've created a presence on Facebook. We'd love to have you add us as a friend to get the latest news and notes. Click the link above or search for "Captivate Church"

4. Spread the word! Leverage your voice ::cough:: and your blog ::cough:: and invite others to join you in getting behind our effort to go to one of America's toughest cities with the gospel. This is so much bigger than any of us. We're not interested in throwing up a vinyl sign and getting 100 people in a room. We're headed to Baltimore to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire city. I'll detail some of the ways we plan to do just that in the weeks and months ahead.

PRAYER REQUESTS

- Pray for my family. My wife and I are expecting our daughter to be born in mid-January. We have to find a home around Baltimore soon. We have to sell or lease our home here also. As you can imagine, the next few months will be CRAZY for us. The timing is nuts but we're excited.

- Please pray for the families moving to Baltimore. I'm overwhelmed with humility that these families would give up their current comforts and move to be a part of this vision. I'm so pumped to have these amazing people join us.

- Pray for one particular family that is praying about coming. It would be a serious faith-step for them as well. I'm honored that they are even considering it.

- Pray for more people to join us.
We're praying for some people who 'get it' and who want to be apart of something God-sized. These people will move to the Baltimore area, get jobs, make friends and help build a church that initially looks and smells a lot like our culture. If you're interested, get in touch with me. We'll talk and pray through it together.

- Pray for financial partners.
This is my least favorite part of planting but a reality to planting a church. We have a million dollar vision so we're seeking God for a strong fund raising effort. Please ask God to put it on the hearts and minds of individuals, small groups, churches and organizations to get behind our church start. We're counting our cost and seeking God. He's given us the vision and now is the time we seek out the provision.

- Pray for friends in the area. We are praying for like-minded friends God would send our way who live in Baltimore but aren't plugged into a church that's reaching the culture.

- Pray for favor among the locals. All of our team members will be expected to get engaged with the community. Pray that God would grant us favor with people on a regular basis. We have three diseases we're focusing on: Spiritual Darkness, Generational Apathy and Generational Poverty. These areas will have us interacting with people over some common causes and we want to be great neighbors and friends in our community.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, October 20, 2008

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Pick up YOUR cross

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels.”

-- Words of Jesus, Mark 8


It just Hit me:
If the cross I carry isn't big enough for me to be crucified on, I've probably picked up the wrong cross.

You could stop reading and reflect on that for a week. The implications of which will kick your rear. For more explanation carry on. I'll say it again.

If the cross I carry isn't big enough for me to be crucified on, I've probably picked up the wrong cross.

We live at a time when even obeying Jesus doesn't even have to feel risky let alone dangerous. We can get compensated for everything we do. We can tell the world of every good deed we have done. We can get a pat on the back for doing even the most basic of things that SHOULD come standard with the Christian walk. We can do all of this AND get rewarded!

I just finished reading several articles written by Benthany Hoang of the International Justice Mission Institute. In one of them entitled "Picture Justice" Bethany points out that we're called by Jesus in the passage referenced above to "Pick us OUR cross and follow Him."

Nothing new. That sounds so poetic. So pithy. So "bumper-sticker-ish". But the implications are so dangerous, so frightening and so nerve racking. Where exactly WAS Jesus headed when he said those words? Golgotha. "The Place of the Skull". Bethany says "Golgotha is where Jesus is headed, and it is therefore precisely this neighborhood – the neighborhood of Golgotha – that is our own destination when we make the decision to follow Jesus." Jesus was headed to the neighborhood of death and destruction. He wasn't headed to a Christian book store wearing a cross as a necklace. He was carrying the cross which was the means upon which he would die to self for the benefit of humanity.

I got to thinking about 'picking up my cross' and what that implies. It implies that "my cross" would be large enough for me to die on. I get the feeling that many of us hear that phrase and we shop for a cross like shopping for a pair of shoes at Footlocker or Nordstrom. We search for fashion over function. Is this what Jesus meant?

Jesus told us to pick up a cross so we know it's part of the deal that comes with Salvation that we must carry one but does it really have to be one large enough for us? Does it have to be something that is so bulky that it gets in the way? Does it have to be so heavy as to make me sweat? Can I get away with obeying Jesus and making a fashion statement at the same time? What would a dinner party look like if everywhere I go my cross has to come with me?

Couldn't "My" cross be something a little more manageable? Maybe "MY" cross could be something I could wear more like a back pack? Better yet, could the cross "I SELECT" be something about the size of a football or a purse(for ladies)? Ohh, I got it... "MY" cross could be more the size of a necklace. I can carry my cross for the world to see and barely even know it's there. Now that sounds like a compromise. "That's a win-win Jesus."

I wonder out loud. "How many of us aren't remotely close to experiencing the fullness of life promised us because we are carrying around a cross designed to fit a Barbie doll?"

We can know when our cross is made-to-order because it is large enough to be the very thing that could take our lives. What is it? It is that burden, that passion, that undeniable God-given drive within us that will not relent, will not be silent, will not back down until we've seen Jesus. What is that area that we will live and die for in the name of Jesus that only God Himself has given us? What is MY cross?

We're much too easily pleased. We truly are (as Piper often says) too easily satisfied. We are not consumed with anything but self. In the meantime we walk around with our heads down feeling unfulfilled as we whine about our circumstance and our present life. If only while our heads were down we would look around and find OUR cross. That thing that is so big it could be the tool to lead to our own downfall.

What is your cross? What is your burden? Is there a people who do not know the name of Jesus whom God has called you? Is there a purpose for which the Kingdom does not care because you are its voice box? Who are you supposed to tell about Jesus? Who is thirsty and needs a drink? Who is hungry and needs your lunch bag? Who is mourning who needs your shoulder to carry tears? What is YOUR cross? Is the thing you're doing right now big enough to kill you? Is it all encompassing? Or are you stuck in a rut because long ago your passion outlasted your supposed mission? Did you pick up an easy and unfulfilling use of your life?

Yank off that Christian cross from your neck and get down on your knees begging God for that vision, that passion and that drive for which he's uniquely wired you. That missionary who needs your help, that church plant that needs a man or woman like you, that child who needs you to adopt them, that homeless shelter that exists only in your mind, that foreign people group who needs to hear the name of Jesus, those teenage girls held captive by perverts, that family member who wants to know about Jesus but to whom you're too afraid to speak His name.

Pick up your cross. The one intended for you. The one that only you can carry and that weighs so much you will need the help of others much as Jesus in the flesh needed human hands to help. Take that cross and march toward Golgotha and away from the wasted life of retirement and a cruise. Find the cross you were meant to carry and carry it with boldness and strength for you were made to be more than a Christian bookstore manikin. You were made to bring God glory by doing what he prepared in advance for YOU to do.


posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, October 14, 2008

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Expectancy: forward, present and genuine

In my last post I said "The key to expectancy is not simply 'looking forward'. It's looking forward AND looking present at the same time. I'll speak more on that as well as how we pervert what I'm now considering a spiritual discipline."

Looking Forward AND Looking Present
Genuine biblical expectancy isn't as lame as "I'm looking forward to lunch." or "I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's game." While that qualifies as expecting an event to happen it it NOT the same as "I'm EXPECTING God to move in only the way or ways God Himself can move." or "I'm expecting for lives to be changed in the power of the Holy Spirit." This isn't simply waiting on some event, this is anticipating the hand of God.

With the weeks leading up to Catalyst I prayed for God to move in my life at this event. With every reservation, every meeting I set up, with every discussion... I had an expectancy that God would do great things. And HE DID. And you know what? He would have done them anyway but I could have possibly missed them because I wasn't expectant or He would have done these things for the people near me but not for myself... because I wasn't acting faithfully. The power and practice of expectancy heightens my sense of God's presence and empties myself out to be filled by Him.

Perverse Practice:
I mentioned earlier that we can see perverse use of this every day. What I mean is that ministry leaders could be the worst when it comes to using and abusing this principle among their people. You can see this in how they talk about upcoming events or upcoming message series. All across America there are Pastors sitting down to write a paragraph for the newsletter that the secretary needs by Wednesday. The Pastor in this note is obligated to invite people to the church. He talks about the programs (the ones he knows do not work), he talks about the people of his church (the ones he doesn't get to know because he doesn't trust) and he talks about the wonderful music (that he knows is completely off key and irritating). This Pastor thinks he's being faithful by writing his obligatory paragraph for the newsletter. What he's really doing is teaching his people how to lie about being expectant. His words are hollow, without meaning and void of the excitement that comes from expecting God Himself to move powerfully.

There are a few people who have the power of expectancy and use it without apologies. Just last night Perry Noble put out his Sunday Night Reflections. This is a list filled with Expectancy. Here is a sample:

Perry gets it. Perry is also genuine. He's not spitting out a list of events handed to him by the secretary on a sticky note. I get the sense that Perry is sitting down with his laptop on his sofa and writing out his passion. He's expectant for God to do great things in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

So I encourage you today. Take hold of the power of expectancy. Don't use a perverted forced version. People can see through that and what's worse is that you're lying to yourself. Stop that. Start believing God because you believe in God, not because that's the language of your announcement routine.

What are you expecting God to do now? What event, activity, person are you praying for? Where is a place you are begging God to move on your behalf? Who are you telling about it? Utilize the power of expectancy.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, October 13, 2008

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The power of Expectancy...

... and the discipline to act.

As I sit in the Atlanta airport I want to get a message to you quickly. Its something I'm chewing on right now and it's overflowing in me so I have to get it out....

Based on my experience at Catalyst '08 this week I am now convinced of another tidbit. This tidbit isn't very new. In fact it's an ancient truth that we fail to practice in our daily lives where it matters but we practice perversely on most days.

The tidbit on which I'm meditating is this: there is spiritual power in expectancy.

How expectancy works:
Take an event like Catalyst. When People are in a mode of 'getting ready' to attend an event of this size they make numerous preparations which each in their own way point to the expectation. At Catalyst this year hundreds or thousands of people paid for NEXT YEARS Conference. Do you know that for 362 days these people will have somewhere in their lives a sense of expectancy. They have a hopeful desire to see God move. They will be on the edge and the ledge of spiritual growth and at next years event the great people of Catalyst will only have the job of nudging them into the power of God that they've been waiting for.

Our churches and our people are not experiencing God because many have given up on expecting great things to come of our gatherings and our leaders.

I observed Pastor Steven Furtick before he got up to speak. He has built a culture of expectancy among his people. As he prepared to walk up to the stage he was as focused as any prize fighter I have ever seen. I've seen pictures in news articles that show him preparing each service in a mobile trailer outside of the High School in which they meet. He doesn't have a sanctuary or a green room to prepare so he (even in a portable setting) has found a way to have this time with God and his trusted friends to get prepared to deliver a word from God EVERY WEEK. His people know that he is fighting spiritual battles and EXPECTING God to move every week.

Do our ministries reflect the same? I doubt it.

The key to expectancy is not simply 'looking forward'. It's looking forward AND looking present at the same time. I'll speak more on that as well as how we pervert what I'm now considering a spiritual discipline.

Today I ask. Are you expectant of God to do ANYTHING? When people see your urgency do they see a person who EXPECTS God to fulfill his promises and move among his people or have you given up and become expectant to get lost in the hum drum of life? Become an expectant individual and allow an amazing God to move on your behalf!

They are calling my group to board now... Have a great Saturday!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, October 11, 2008

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God and I at Catalyst

Yesterday God was more present in my life than any human being I have ever encountered.

The following story is extremely personal and I hesitated to share but I feel there may be many of you reading who will benefit from it and I'd be disobedient and dishonoring to hide what God did in my life and what he can do in your life. This story is about God's glory. This is a very real move of God in my life that I will always remember. I hope if you're like me you will be able to experience this in your own way.

The day began with Andy Stanley's talk on Moral Authority. Andy effectively spoke to the fact that "There must be Alignment between Our Deeds and Our Creeds" Moral Authority can overcome many things in leadership.

Andy spoke of three areas where Christians should OWN moral authority:
Forgiveness, Family and Finances

Certainly all three areas have implication for me to some degree but God decided to blindside me on the area of Forgiveness. At the end of the talk Andy asked us to picture 'who are the people you need to forgive?' I pictured the man who was my first 'boss' in the ministry world. He was a Pastor from my past who in a period of approximately 18 months broke my spirit and damaged my self image. God has since restored me but one thing I had yet to do was actually forgive this person. I haven't seen him since I resigned.

During the closing prayer I decided that I needed to pray about this... you know, be spiritual. I prayed something like "Okay God, you brought up _______ to me. Obviously you want me to deal with this so I pray you help me deal with this. (You know, good solid faith-less prayer)

During the next intermission a friend and I went to the concourse to check out vendors, stretch and use the restroom. Among the casual glances and stares into the distance can you imagine who came into my sight? Yes, my former Pastor.

For years I have joked with a friend that Christianity was small and that one day some how we would bump into him at some event. We often asked 'What would you do?' I didn't really 'do' anything. I looked away from shock. I wasn't sure how to respond to this.

Ultimately I thought "Wow God. What in the world are you doing?

During a new worship set a few hours later I recall seeking God on this topic and again approached him to be what I considered a pretty good over. I said "God, apparently you want me to deal with _________. I know that out of 12,000 people it's no coincidence that you had me see him here." I went on. I said "God, IF you want me to forgive him in person then I ask you to have me see one another again. Now there are 12,000 people here God (like he needs my reminder) and I understand if I don't see him. I get the picture, you want me to forgive him regardless of if I do it in person directly." So at this point I'm thinking God wanted to remind me that I still had some pain that I hadn't properly dealt with. As a Christian leader I thought that I had a pretty solid grip of the whole situation.

Fast forward to about 4 hours later. I've been invited out with some leaders for dinner. They selected a restaurant about 15 minutes away as to avoid the Catalyst crowd anywhere close to the arena. After about 15 minutes do you have any clue who walked into the building? Yes. This very same Pastor. My heart rate moved from turtle to jet-engine. I couldn't believe what God was doing. Now you must know that all day I spoke with God back and forth about this. In between some great events and great speakers I had this side conversation with God about this forgiveness and how it wasn't healthy for me. I hadn't realized it that I really had these feelings. I knew I was bothered and hurt but I always dismissed it. Now on this day at this moment... God was moving this from the back pages of my life's story and printing this issue in big, bold letters... FORGIVE!

I didn't have any doubt what my action would be. I knew I had to go do it. I waited until he and his group finished ordering and then I excused myself from our table. My host asked 'Is that a friend over there?' I said "Well, not exactly, I'll explain later."

I went over to this table and said hello. To say this man was shocked would be an understatement. I'd be shocked... wouldn't you?

We exchanged pleasantries before I asked for him to step to the side with me and talk for a second. He and I took a few steps away from the table out of earshot of his friends. I explained to him how Andy spoke on forgiveness and how I saw his face in my mind. I went on to tell him that I didn't expect anything of him. I expressed that he hurt me through his poor leadership and behavior but that I wanted to forgive him. I told him that I really wanted the ability to pray for his blessing with a pure heart.

I'm sure he was still in shock but he began to share his story. He said that he had some personal issues to deal with at that time and he eventually stepped out of ministry for 8 months and stepped into a place where he could grow as a person. He said "On Monday I will be 37. I wish I could go back to there today and become your 37 year old Pastor. I would handle things differently. I would like to but I can't. I used to have a my way or the highway approach and I was wrong. I want you to know that I have done what i know to repent and grow."

We spoke kindly about each other's families, got caught up in our ministry endeavors and promised to pray for one another. We ended the 3-4 minute conversation with a departing hug.

What a freeing moment. I cannot describe the peace that hit me. God is amazing and beautiful and sovereign.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, October 10, 2008

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Vision Incarnate

Pastor Steven Furtick just brought the house down at Catalyst.

God used Pastor Steven Furtick to confirm in my heart many things about my hometown which I will still need to unpack and process over the next days and weeks.

Directly following Pastor Furtick's message the song God of this City was played.

In my minds eye all I could see was memory after memory of Baltimore Maryland. People from my childhood came to mind and tears started to flow. I don't cry. I'm not boastful about that, I just don't. But God broke my heart and affirmed that it's okay to let it loose.

So much of what has been in my core being for many years is about to explode out of me.

I will make formal announcements about all of this very soon after Catalyst but trust that God --Through Pastor Furtick-- spoke to my soul. He is 'vision incarnate' for my life right now. I'm refreshed and so humbled by what lays ahead.

If you think about it. I covet your prayers. Thanks.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, October 09, 2008

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Catalyst In The Halls

I decided to skip notes on this last session. I'm not going to tell you where I am or why I'm not taking notes :)

Instead I bring you "Etiquette of the Halls"

The buzz of a conference like Catalyst happens as much or more in the halls as it does in the sessions. I can't tell you how many discussions I've already had in the hall here at "Catalyst Labs". I'm speaking of beneficial networking talks. Everyone wants them, few have them. In a conference like Catalyst you can walk away with wisdom or a bad reputation. Your etiquette (or lack thereof) determines that.

I'm blessed to have known and to have met some extremely humble top-tier Christian leaders. As I've spoken to people in the halls today I'm reminded that there really is a generation of leaders who 'get it' and aren't into themselves as much as they are into God.

If you're out there and you want to build relationships I encourage you to read and live Philippians 2.

With Philippians 2 in mind. Here are a few key thoughts on hall etiquette:

1. Treat others as better than yourself.
Don't miss an opportunity to learn about the people whom you want to learn from. Go back and read that. Don't miss an opportunity to learn ABOUT the people whom you want to learn FROM. It's a sign of respect.

2. Make the agenda their agenda.
When you meet them don't jump in their face with your agenda. Show them that you appreciate them as a leader. If they are someone you appreciate give them an opportunity to guide the discussion by simply asking something like "I read your book and this particular question came to mind... would you mind expounding on that."

3. Honor the Teacher
Honor national leaders by taking time to read whatever they've put out and if they share thoughts on the web, take the time to read them. These men and women usually love to invest but when a person comes and asks a question thats on page 3 of their book it can be frustrating. They spent nearly a year writing thoughts down and you want the answer for free. They may oblige but it 's not respectful to their effort. Take time to read the leader's work or just keep your discussion to an appreciation of their contribution to the Kingdom. Then go get their book :)

4. Don't Interrupt
I enjoy hip-hop. Emenim has a song where he speaks to his fans who rudely interrupt him in the strangest of places (restrooms) and at times when he's with his family. My observation has been that younger guys can come off as obnoxious by being disrespectful. The last thing a person wants to do is try to answer your question with food in their mouth. There are certain places and times when you can come off as a thorn of the flesh as opposed to an eager student. Just have some plain respect and you'll be fine. Take time to ask "Is now a good time for them."

Those of us who want to become wise and influential must first become a student of servitude. Value other people above yourself and you'll find more times than not that the leaders you want to know you will WANT to get to know you. Times like Catalyst are priceless to those willing to be humble and learn from the best. They walk the halls and share what they know. Do your best to show them that you appreciate it by demonstrating respect.

Happy Hall-Walking!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, October 08, 2008

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Catalyst Labs 3- Reggie McNeal

AN ABSOLUTELY AMAZING SESSION!
If you can get your hands on his stuff... GET IT!

"We're desperate for great leaders!"--Reggie McNeal

Great leaders bless people!
People who are around great leaders feel that their lives are in a better place because of being around the great leader.

"I can fast quicker than most people... I can get mine done in between meals!"

The Discipline of Self Awareness-
This is the single greatest piece of information you can have. Who you are.

People live in such a way as to say "If you pay me I will dance for you!"

If you do not know who you are at the core, people following you are getting whiplash!

MAIN TOPIC: LEARN THE LESSONS OF YOUR FAMILY OF ORIGIN

1. Your ability to have relationships was formed in your family.
What is the emotional velcro of your life?
Can people stick to you or not? Can they find themselves in you or not?

Is there a long string of broken relationships because of the screw ups of a lot of other people or AM I THE ELEMENT THAT IS COMMON?

This can be an awakening moment when we finally start taking responsibility for what we do.
Figure out where you are to take responsibility.
2. The family is where you first learned to FIGHT.
More people watch you when you're dealing with conflict than anything else.

What is your ability to handle criticism.

We've been told to practice Matthew 18. You can sprinkle the pixie dust of Matthew 18

A. Don't count your critics, weigh 'em.
* If you want to wrestle a knat, you'll win every time but lose capital doing it.
* Conversely you need to be open to a representative of a group to see if there is really something there. Are people telling me truth or do I need to blow this off.

* I've found that people who disagree with me are insane.

* HIS WIFE about a bad letter- So what if there are a lot of people upset with you? Would you have done anything different? Do you not think God would take care of us if you lost your job? His wife pointed out the problem... fear! The enemy loves to whisper 'fear' into your heart. ONCE OUT IN THE OPEN... "That puppy had no teeth"

You have to learn how to deal with the subterranian stuff that is the cause of fear. Because if you don't deal with fear you will deal from only toxic emotions. The love of your soul (God) understands this. The enemy does too. That's why one of the most repeated verses is "Do not be afraid!"

B. Explore your emotional intelligence.
Most people who lack emotional intelligence don't know it. That's because it's called emotional intelligence. Reference for work: Daniel Goleman

C. Take a look at Talent you brought into this world.
People have all kinds of dreams but often they don't match our talent. Your best shot at making your best contribution is to be best at what you're good at.

We need to take what we're good at is to take what they are good at so they can practice to get better at.

Not everyone can do everything. We don't give people the freedom to find what they can do!


D. Understand your cognitive style
How you process information in your brain is very different than people around you.

The way you see things and process things is normal to you. The problem is that others process things completely different.

Some of us fly at 40,000ft view and find ways to express it. Others start with "Susan" or "Bill" and we work up from that one person and one need.

Some are "just the facts maam" and others are "give me the details".

Google Cognitive Style: [I saved you the work. You're welcome]

E. Your Personality
Your personality for some people seems like it's something you're trying to get over.

"I'm too much ____. I'm not enough ______." Example: Introvert vs. Extrovert.
Some people think because they are introverted that they are malformed.

Example: An introvert doesn't realize that when she speaks people lean in to hear where as others are practicing audio self realization.

You are not accidental in your personality. God made you the way you are!

Gifts are not something to be shopped for. Gifts are wrapped in flesh. YOU ARE THE GIFT! God wants to bless the world through YOU!

F. Hidden Addictions and Compulsions.

My grandma was living with us growing up because my grandfather was an alcoholic. I didn't know my mother was an adult child of an alcoholic until I was an adult.

"The Healing Journey"

An adult child of an alcoholic learns that "You just don't feel." You are taught that you cannot "feel". Your emotions build up until they come out and play in unhealthy ways.

Don't feel. Don't trust. Don't tell.

I grew up in a shame based "We don't talk about our stuff." As if it were interesting.

Don't feel? Don't trust? Don't tell?

I realized... I can forgive my dad now because I am the adult child of an alcoholic.

Some of us have compulsions and addictions.

Pay attention to your 'dark sides' because we all have 'em.

Studies have been done about why CEOs fail. There are about 11 things that set you up to self sabotage your journey to greatness.

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I wanted to list these other areas for investigation:

1. The Discipline of Self Management (money, time, bodies, sleep, food)

2. The Discipline of Self Development
(lifelong learning- requires lifelong unlearning. The unlearning curve is often steeper than the learning curve.)

3. The Discipline of Mission
(Great leaders know what they are doing and why they are doing it. An example is when Jesus stepped away to pray. In the middle of everyone trying to get Jesus... Jesus says "Lets go somewhere else." It wouldn't have been bad to heal more people. He says lets go to the nearby towns and villages. He goes on to say "Thats why I have come."

When you know your mission, you know what you can say NO to so that you can say YES to your mission!

The enemy would love to get you out of your strength set... love to get you distracted... love to get you discouraged. The enemy doesn't want you to fulfill your mission.

Nobody here is thinking "Do I leave Friday and stay in the ministry or go open that porn shop I've been thinking about.

4. The discipline of decisioning (Ruthlessly debrief your decisions so you get better)

5. The discipline of belonging.
Some of your family of origin will never get you. But you can get friends. "Get a phone book." Get friends.

6. The discipline of aloneness.
Great leaders are at home in their skin with God and they are great with that company.

In wilderness great leaders are asking "What is God trying to show me in this wilderness and leave the time of release to God!"

I beg you to be a great leader. They are waiting to be blessed. They need to be blessed. When you can be who you are... the kingdom can expand through you!


posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, October 08, 2008

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Catalyst Labs 2- John Burke

I'm sitting in John Burke's "lab".

On this one I'm not going to hit a point by point but rather give you a thought about this dude. John is a man who bleeds grace. If you read his book "No Perfect People Allowed" you will see story after story of John and his church exhibiting GRACE to those searching for God.

At lunch we got to talking about how you see a church with a similar DNA as what John talks about. A friend of mine once gave the illustration that the church is full of "Christian Musty". You know that smell when you go into an attic and find a bin full of clothes that's been sitting for a long time? Then you pull that bin open and smell the clothes only to smell a distinct odor of NO MOVEMENT. You get the same thing when you open up a closet of clothes that haven't been touched. Musty.

Churches that aren't embracing the culture have a proverbial "smell". A church reaching and loving the lost will not have a distinct smell. Except maybe the smells of its people. If your church doesn't have any smell of cigarette smoke, alcohol or a lack of hygiene... I'm not convinced you're reaching the people Jesus called us to love.


I encourage you to go get the No Perfect People Allowed book above and also check out his new work called "Soul Revolution".

Ohh yeah, on top of being a fantastic leader John also has great taste in facial hair!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, October 08, 2008

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Catalyst Labs Session 1


Just wrapped up a great lunch with John Burke and Craig Whitney from ELI. These guys are asking the right questions and developing the right systems to put out healthy, reproducing churches for today's generation. Ohh yeah, some dude named Vince came through the joint.

Right now I'm sitting in the first of four 'Labs'. The labs are focused on specific aspects of leadership and life. Right now Tim Elmore is talking about "E.P.I.C. Leadership". He's offering insight into today's culture and how to lead them. He's advocating a "Poet Gardner" leadership which relies more on asking questions and pulling together the best strengths to work together.

On stage he's flanked by cutouts of the Wizard of Oz characters.

Here are a few characteristics of the Poet Gardner leader:
A. They are more highly relational.
B. They interpret culture and reflect well.
C. They are emotionally secure.
D. They share ownership freely.
E. They empower others well.
F. They are comfortable with uncertainty. (people need clarity, they can live with uncertainty)
G. They listen and foster self-discovery. (helping people own the answer on their own)
* Jesus was the ultimate Poet Gardener. He asked questions in answer to questions.
H. Embrace the role of mentor.
I. They are less formal in structure.
J. They are driven by service, not ego.

Insights about our own leadership style:

1. Our style often comes from the era when we learned to lead.
2. Our willingness to adapt will impact our relevance.
3. Our situation determines what style we must employ.
4. Our style determines who we attract.
5. In organizations, your style must reflect the maturity of your followers.
6. The new kind of leader communicates through images and stories.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, October 08, 2008

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Catalyst Countdown

I'm sitting in a hotel in Baltimore getting ready to hit the pillow. I have an early flight to Atlanta where we'll arrive right around 8 a.m. In order to pull that off I have a wake-up call for 3:30a.m. The lady at the counter downstairs repeated my wakeup call several times before I assured her I was sober and aware of my surroundings. Once I walked a straight line and counted her fingers she agreed to put me into the computer.

One of the things that makes this week at Catalyst so exciting is being able to connect with so many high caliber leaders. I'm looking forward to seeing many of you there.

As the conference goes on tomorrow I'll be blogging live so if you can't make it be sure to keep checking in. You'll get insight from my perspective on the atmosphere, surprises and certainly the high quality content.

It is such a privilege to live in a day and age where we get to do what we'll be doing this week. Our predecessors never dreamed of being able to gather together and stand shoulder to shoulder with nearly 12,000 other Christian leaders. What I'm looking forward to this week is a sense of unity that will come from Catalyst. Many of us are coming in representing ourselves but I'm looking forward to walking away feeling that we're on the same team 'together'.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, October 07, 2008

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Dr. Dever and 9Marks

I'm having a great time learning from Dr. Dever and friends Mike McKinley and Michael Lawrence. Dr. Dever also has about 12 interns here observing. It's a cool mix of church planters and church historians.

I'll update more later but the guys were asked to give a recommendation of "must reads" for young Pastors. I figured you'd like a peak at their list.

TOP BOOKS WE MUST READ

Mark Dever

Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

Spurgeon, Autobiography

D. A. Carson, Call to Spiritual Reformation

Lloyd- Jones, Preaching and Preachers

Packer, In My Place Condemned He Stood

Packer, Fundamentalism and The Word of God


Mike McKinley

Piper, Future Grace

Stott, Cross of Christ

Welch, When People Are Big and God is Small (how to overcome fear of man)


Michael Lawrence

Packer, Knowing God

Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom

Wells, No Place for Truth

Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied

Ferguson, The Christian Life: A doctrinal introduction

Calvin, Institutes- esp. Book 3

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, October 07, 2008

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Catalyst Here I Come!

In my last post I told you that I have another amazing opportunity this week after my Tuesday with Dr. Mark Dever. The other opportunity is the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta !



If you're in the church world then you know the 4-1-1 on Catalyst but if you're not familiar, lets just say it's the most powerful, creative and innovative leadership conference gatherings ever designed. I'm pumped to be in the room with 12,000 leaders from around the country to hear talks by the likes of:
Andy Stanley, Jim Collins, Dave Ramsey, Franklin Graham, Steve Furtick, Seth Godin, Craig Groeschel

To promote this year's event and theme: Together... Catalyst sent out a dude named LV to tour the nation in a Vanagon. From conferences to churches to random rest stops... LV and the Catalyst team made their mark on America. " href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/catalyst2007/2882651762/" id="gaax">Check out some pics here>

As if attending this amazing conference wasn't enough
I was recently invited to Live-Blog the Catalyst Conference. I cannot tell you how honored I am to have the opportunity. My son has picture books that teach him how to tell what belongs and what doesn't belong. For example there are three bright green triangles and then one orange square. In the group of live-bloggers asked to participate... I'm the orange square. I don't fit. The other bloggers are amazing. It's a huge honor and I'm looking forward to the week.

Thanks to the opportunity afforded me, you will have a chance to see the conference from my perspective all this week.
My understanding is that there are a handfull of people providing RSS feeds so that the world can get a glimpse into the conference from all angles AS IT HAPPENS! I invite you to come along for the ride this week. Also, if you're on Twitter you can check out my perspective by following me @TallyWilgis

So there it is... Catalyst Atlanta, here I come! It's on!

Ohh, in addition to my own fun, I will be bringing my brother in-law with me this week. He's a hilarious dude who's recently gotten into a cool chuch in Baltimore and started serving like a mad-man. He's never done the 'church thing' before but he's in love with Jesus, serving like crazy and his mind is a sponge right now. Because of all of that... I figured I'd show him a glimpse of how big the American Church is by bringing him with me to Catalyst. So if you see us this week, give us a shout. His name is Kevin so freak him out by just walking up to us and saying "Hey Kevin" as you act like you've known him for years.

Later guys and gals. See you in the ATL!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, October 06, 2008

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Dr. Mark Dever

This week I have the honor of rubbing elbows with some amazing people, though not in the same room at the same time. This week is shaping up to be pretty amazing.

Dr. Dever:
Tomorrow I'm headed up to Baltimore to sit in on a worship being led by Dr. Mark Dever who is the Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church and founder of 9 Marks. I was fortunate enough to hear Dr. Dever at Whiteboard several months back. Dr. Dever has a unique view of the church that isn't promoted by the bulk of blogs I read or ministry leaders I observe. While some found his talk to be above their head I found it to be thought provoking.

One of the things I hope to hear more about this Tuesday is Dr. Dever's passion about the local church being a representative of Jesus Christ down to every office and every activity. While I often hear much about the church being the Body (which I obviously agree)... Dr. Dever has a take on it that should give all of us pause as we make decisions every day about how that body looks in our community. I am assured that my Tuesday will be intellectually stimulating and spiritually refreshing. I'm looking forward to it.

My next post will be about the other amazing opportunity I have this week...

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, October 06, 2008

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