Thank You Friends
Over the last 24 hours we have been very humbled by the love shown us by our friends near and distant. So many of you have been so gracious to us as we welcomed our daughter Ainsley to the world.
I have seen over this time just how valuable every word of affirmation and encouragement can be. I must admit as I saw your words of kindness come to us via Twitter, Text Message, Facebook, this blog, etc... I was overwhelmed with just how great it was to have so many one or two word notes sent our way.
So before our family and friends visit the hospital today and before our family fills our house over the weekend I want to tell each of you "Thank You". Taking the little time to send "Congrats" combined with over 100 others to form a very large hug for Kristy and I. Kristy was able to read through this morning all of your encouragement and she felt very thankful for you. So once again on behalf of my wife, my son and my new daughter... "Thank You". You've been and continue to make this experience a great one for our family!
Ainsley Elise Wilgis
Ainsley arrived 1/28/09 at 5:17 p.m.
7lbs and 8oz. 20 inches
Mother and baby are doing great.
What's on My Brain
Once in a while I get wrapped up in the schedule of the day so much so that I don't think about the blog. This has happened more and more since I started to Twitter. Some things I would normally have blogged about I don't feel as compelled to blog because I have Twittered some of the thoughts of the day.
I thought for you, the committed reader, I'd take some time and let you know what's on my brain these days.
- Had an amazing 2 day seminar with Dr. James Merritt and his Executive Pastor Larry Herndon from Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, GA. Dr. Merritt and Mr. Herndon gave some amazing information to about a dozen of us. I'll post some recap stuff later but I can tell you that I became a genuine fan of these men while they were with us. I was privileged to spend much of Thursday with them touring Baltimore together and they are the 100% real deal. I'm looking forward to working with them here in Baltimore in the near future.
- Our daughter Ainsley is taking her sweet time. We're now pushing about a week overdue. Please pray for Kristy as she cannot get an epidural so a larger baby will not be fun. Also if they have to C-section she will have to go under completely. To be honest as a husband and father it's not the most appealing situation I could see. My prayer is that she comes soon naturally.
- Our team is great and I genuinely love them as people apart from what they will do for the new church start here. We've already started the bumpy process of building the church together and experienced some tension and conflict. We're pushing through it with grace. I recently listened to Reggie Joyner of North Point speak on CD from Catalyst Labs. He talked about systems and change. There is conflict as you implement new changes. I can assure you that it is magnified when you're starting everything from scratch and at times it seems like the lead planter has the resources in his head but needs to get them out. It can make for frustrating conversations. I'm trying to focus on getting stuff out of my head for my team.
- I'm reviewing a book this week on the blog. I was asked to review "Missional Renaissance" by Reggie McNeal. Reggie is with the Leadership Network and I had the honor of seeing him speak at Catalyst Labs this year. His talk was easily in the top 5 I heard the entire conference. I'm diving into is soon to be released "Missional Renaissance" this week and will have a review for you next Sunday. Keep on the lookout for that.
- I'm praying for an Executive Pastor-type. I have a friend in mind and I'm pretty sure my friend knows God has spoken to him too. I'm praying we get him soon so I can get back into my lane and allow him to take over some weak spots I have. Every established leader I've ever met who has accomplished anything worthwhile ALWAYS has a great #2. In those organizations the face on the place gets a lot of credit but behind the scenes there is a great appreciation for the #2 role. Pray that God has his will and gets us who we need there.
- I'm also praying for direction on a Lead Musician. There are possibilities that this position will become a combo position for our ministry on the campus of Towson University. Basically the right fit will be someone who is passionate about reaching out to college students and loves music. We want someone with a musical edge to them who will handle our musical needs and spend a few days a week gathering college students. I'm also pondering a head-hunting reward so if you know someone who fits this description, send me their name along with your demands :)
- Praying for our house in VA to sell. It's not fun to pay for a house you don't live in and since we're in a Condo Association (I shouldn't type what I think of them), we're not being allowed to rent it out. Pray for God to intervine for us on that issue.
- Overall things are going well right now. We have a ways to go with our fund raising but I'm not disappointed at all with where we are. We are blessed. I'm praying God allows us to continue meeting people and finding partners along the way. I'm praying not only for money but more importantly great relationships with solid leaders. I'm praying for people who will invest in us and who will take our success in Baltimore as a passion of their own. So far God is bringing us into contact with exactly those types of people.
- One of the reasons I'm stoked about Baltimore is that our church start will have the opportunity to be an immediate player in the spiritual climate of Baltimore. This are is desperate for the type of church we are bringing. I'm so pumped to see what God is going to break loose here. This is not hype. I assure you we have the opportunity to make an immediate and large difference on this city. So much of what needs to be done is not being done and I'm genuinely excited about the vision God has put in my heart for my home town. We will immediately make a difference well beyond Sunday mornings I assure you that.
- Lastly, later this week I will begin announcing ways for your church to make a difference in Baltimore. We have two big efforts we will kick off this week and then periodically I'll begin sharing other opportunities. We're compiling a list and investigating partners whom we can assist locally. Part of how I see our church is to be a facilitator of connections. We have many worthy ministries in the city with no voice to speak of. They are not connected to the American Church at large and I believe we can be a voice for their great work. I'm hoping to see our network of bloggers and churches from around the country to pitch in and help us reach out to this city.
I'm so pumped to know you, friends in the blog-world. As I look back at so many doors God has opened I find this blog to be the reason for so many of them. I've gotten to know some amazing people and our relationships started right here. If you're a reader of the blog or you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I'd love to hear from you. Let me know what you're up to and how I can be praying for you. I know there is a ton of talent and passion out there that I need to connect to.
Don't be shy, say hello.
Our Children's Ministry...
... is in good hands.
The Staff I Want...
... will have to learn how to turn down other job offers.
I'm praying for a team of people who are so amazing at what they do each and every week that it becomes commonplace for them to turn down offers for more money around the country to be a part of what God is doing in Baltimore with our church.
Coaching is Key part 2
In my previous post on this topic I spoke about how much I enjoy coaching and how what I do is stolen because it's good.
Here's how I get started with someone whom I'm coaching:
1. Share my honest observations and belief in them.
The vast majority of which are good. In fact it's because so much is good that I care to invest in the person I'm coaching. I see the best in them. I see where they are spinning wheels. I see where they can find clarity. A good coach doesn't start with how pitiful you are. They start by talking about the rough talent and the capacity that the coaching can bring. I've always found the best coaching to be done in a spirit of complete transparency.
As an aside: I want my coach to believe in me so conversely I won't commit myself to coaching someone I don't already believe has great potential. I'm not a good liar when it comes to evaluation. I don't want to become good at giving false hope. We're all built by God with various talents and capacities. Not everyone is gifted in areas where I have expertise to help. As a result I am not a good coach for everyone. So I'll share a little time and give advice to just about anyone on the fly but I won't spend significant amounts of time on everyone. I can't. I'm limited. You're limited too. My advice: Spend time on a few. Share info through your blog or a book with the rest of the world.
Back to my recent coaching experience:
In this case I have observed this person in various settings for a good period of time. I have observed working conditions, personal life, etc. And at the end of the day I believe in them. That's vital for them to know. They need to know that I truly have every desire to see them reach their God given potential.
What I do is remind people that they have a God given capacity and the coaching is simply to remove crud and build-up that limits the flow through their lives. Like a water pipe I believe much of what holds us back isn't from external forces (pinched water hose) but rather internal (clogged lines). Having an open and honest discussion about what I'm attempting to achieve and learning what they want to achieve we now have goals and won't waste our time.
Toward the end of this phase I commit to the time I am prepared to give so long as they show progress. Something like "I'll dedicate 6 months with one meeting a month and one phone call per week." OR "I'll dedicate to 1 year with one meeting a month and an email a week." All of my commitment is dependent on both of us feeling that progress is happening. As long as they act on the suggestions then our time was valuable. If they flake out and come back with nothing for a few sessions I know that the person being coached is not serious about life-change.
Next time we'll talk about "The Big 5".
I love coaching. I love giving coaching and I honestly enjoy receiving coaching.
Today I was able to give coaching to someone ministering in Baltimore at a commitment level that would make the best of us blush in embarrassment. Much of what the blogging/twittering church world complains about pales in comparison to the homicides, drug dealers and violence that breaks out on this person's mission field. To know this person of God is an honor.
I figured it'd be cool to share how I went about this coaching session in case you want to help someone in your life but can't find the words. I also must tell you that this isn't brand new. I think Solomon said something about that. This is one method and I've learned this from several sources. Most recently Mark Batterson spoke on this a few weeks back on his blog. Before that I heard hints of this in a message by Ed Young. Before that I'm certain a mentor shared it with me. The point? It's old. It's proven. It's also solid which is why so many people pass it around.
Next Post: How I approach coaching situations.
Why We're Here
Today I was out and about in the community running some errands when I got into a conversation with a woman about why I moved back to the area. She seemed intrigued that I would return here to start a church. She said "I don't know if audacity is the right word but I guess I'm inspired by your willingness to do what you believe you should be doing... courage I guess."
I smiled and we began talking about her faith experience. She said "My husband's family has some older people in it who are Southern Baptist and I've tried taking my kids there but I guess its... umm... there's... no life. It just doesn't seem to be a place filled with life."
She continued "I'm going to be checking your church out. It sounds like something I'd be into."
For the record we are an SBC church. I've found that people associate entire denominations by snapshots of experience. It's not their fault. Her comment wasn't about theology... it was about atmosphere. In her terms, life.
So here is a woman who appeared to be in her early 30's who is married with children. She's tried church in the past but walked away feeling that the church wasn't a place filled with life. Now she's getting 'life' from her job, television and friends. This is one of the types of people whom God has called us to reach. Today I got just another reminder (of many) that we are indeed called to be here at this time to partner with God building His Church.
People like this are why we're here. To bring life.
Get Involved in Bmore!
As I sit here it's Sunday night, January 4, 2009.
I'm so stoked to get back at it tomorrow. This church will launch in just over 8 months (We're looking at September 13th).
The last several months have been a whirlwind but are NOTHING compared to how fast life is about to move. In about two weeks we'll have our daughter Ainsley (Due on the 19th). We're also shooting to have our budget worked out by the end of March so the next three months will be vital for our fund-raising efforts. We have a staff team moving at the end of February and Mission teams begin arriving in March. Throw in visits from other staff families and recruiting of a few more and you can see how the next few months are about to get nuts.
So many of you are great friends and supporters so I want to give you a few things to pray for as well as ways you may consider partnering with us.
Pray with us:
Staff and their families- We have a few amazing families already committed to moving here. One comes at the end of February and others in June. Please pray for them that God would bless them for their sacrifice and expand their capacity. Pray for the children who are involved and some having to change schools and move away from friends. I want our children to know that they are the church of today and we can start by seeing to it that our staff kids get transitioned well.
Financial Partnerships- We've got some great partners coming on board. We also need several more. Please pray for those partners who are still considering how their churches will be involved. Also pray that we'll see individuals and small groups join together to make this vision a reality.
Key Positions to be Filled- We still need a few key staff-level positions.
I'm begging God for an Administrative mind. This role would be to oversee the day-to-day operations (business) of the church. God has opened up some amazing opportunities and given us a clear and compelling vision but we need someone with the right type of mind and experience to lead us in the administration side of things.
I'm also praying for a Music person. We need to have great music if we're going to have people stare at the stage for 25-30 minutes with sound coming through the speakers. I'm praying for God to send us someone who is talented, humble and passionate about people. To be honest with you I know a lot of people think they are great but few fit the mold. If I could clone Lee McDerment I'd be set- but since there is an ethical problem there I'm praying God brings someone who is uniquely gifted to make it happen here in Baltimore.
We're also beginning to pray for God to begin forming His launch team. It's His church and He knows who would be the perfect fit for us. I'm praying that maybe some of you would be crazy enough to pack it all up and move to Baltimore and get a job here. I'm serious. We need people crazy enough to make their lives count to make a very real impact on a major American city. Baltimore is RIPE and I truly believe those who sacrifice to build a great church here will be a part of something monumental in the world of Christianity! Maybe you are that family. Get in touch with me if you want to begin seeking God together.
How You Can Partner:
Over the next few weeks we're going to be rolling out several ways you, your church or small group can make a significant impact.
As an individual I want to ask you to consider a few things.
1. Pray. No really. Pray. So many times people say "I'll pray for you" but they really mean "I want you to think I'm in your corner but when we part ways I won't think twice about you." It's sad but true. We're seeking 1,000 friends from around the country
2. Download our Stuff. We've got a great 12 page PDF you can download at TheBaltimoreProject.com. We'd love for you to download it so you can better do the #1 above. It may also lead you to become more engaged in transforming this city with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. Financially Partner. As I shared above we have some great partners and will be adding more in the weeks and months to come. You may be one of those people God will use to see this vision come to pass in Baltimore!
4. Come for a visit. Yes I'm serious. We'd LOVE to have you come to town and get a feel for what we're up to. Over the next few weeks I'll reveal some of the blessings God has brought our way and outline various parts of our vision. After being on the ground here I can assure you that God has positioned us in an amazing way and every local Pastor or Christian I've met has echoed that sentiment. I'd love for you to come to town alone, with your family or with friends. The more you know about what God's doing here... the more you're likely to be involved. I believe there are some amazing people out there who are begging God for "what's next?" I'm telling you... 2009 presets an amazing opportunity for some of God's people to join us. All of that starts with prayer, conversation and a visit.
That's enough for now. I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Baltimore is going to be changed by what we do here! In whatever way you can... be a part of it!