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Captivate in Pictures 8-29-10

Today at Captivate we finished up our "Together" series with a challenge for all of us to come together and grow up into and under the headship of Jesus Christ.

I'm a product of a fatherless home. In my life I was on track to be a statistic when it comes to boys growing up without a father and passing that on to a third generation. Fortunately along the way God brought people who believed in me and I have been blessed to be mentored by a few men who love Jesus and His Church. Sadly, many young men don't have those examples. I believe the Church should provide examples of biblical manhood to the culture. We first have to teach boys how to grow up and be men. To say this message was well received today would be an understatement.

There are many reasons that boys don't grow up and that men don't learn biblical manhood. They range from the subtle to the obvious. We take our cues about manhood from so many places other than Christ. Its part of my passion to develop boys into men. Captivate will do that.

To give men a proper view of self we have to begin with a proper view of Jesus. I took some time to read a 'poem' (church song) to a big African American biker who I pulled from the crowd today. I asked the audience how many men felt comfortable singing "Cause nothing else could take your place, to feel the warmth of your embrace. Help me find a way, bring me back to you." The reality is that singing is awkward for many men and on top of that the average guy has no desire to sing songs about feeling warm embraces with a man.

In the picture above I also addressed our own view of Jesus. This picture I brought on stage used to hang in the fellowship hall of my childhood home church. I described all of the graven images it sends. A white man with long perfect hair and a manicured beard gazing off into the distance. God didn't give us a description of Jesus because none of us has a corner on the identity of God. I reminded our church today "We are made in the image of Christ but yet we spend time making Christ in our image." That is a sin we must repent of and stop. It's idolatry. We don't worship an image, we worship a Savior.

Finally we discussed headship of Christ by pointing out his attributes in Hebrews 1:1-4. He is creator, sustainer, forgiver of sins, savior, higher than any other... etc. I then closed by taking the men in our church to Revelation 19 where we see a returning and triumphant Jesus coming back. He makes the UFC men look like they prance around with tulips and daisies in their teeth. Our coming Savior returns to handle business. Men can afford to worship that Savior. Men need to learn to worship the fullness that is Christ. The compassionate, just, righteous, loving, powerful, mighty and masculine "radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being"(Ephesians 4:3)

We need our churches to be under the headship of Jesus Christ. We must be about nothing else that can distract us. We are indeed His body on this planet and He alone is our head. Men, lets become great men of God who demonstrate to the world who our Savior is. Lets lead our churches with grace, love, truth, boldness and strength.

Article about 20-somethings: http://tinyurl.com/233doxp
Article by Mark Driscoll: http://tinyurl.com/2exdoe3

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, August 29, 2010

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Coffee Talk (a cure for new-church isolation)

A few months ago we started to do "coffee talks" at a local independent coffee shop. We stole the idea from Tadd Grandstaff and Pine Ridge Church. As you can tell from the pics below we moved this month's gathering to "The Empire: Starbucks" because of some repairs being made to the independent up the road.

The concept is simple. If you've started to attend Captivate Church in the last 8 weeks, we'll buy your drink. If you're a part of Captivate we'd like you to come and welcome new families to the church. It's a simple but effective way of getting people connected who may never realize others share similar interests.

From our staff's perspective we know a lot more about families in our church than they usually know about one another. We typically spend time during the coffee talks getting to know recent additions to the church and then going across the room and introducing them to someone who share similar interests.

Last night we had a volunteer fireman who is also a police officer get introduced to a full time fireman and then later in the evening I introduced both of them to a college student who is taking the fireman exam in about a month. These guys had a connection based on fire fighting that they may not have realized just by attending services each Sunday.

When people come to the church they find out that we exist to send them on mission for Christ. Anyone attending Captivate for more than a week understands that. What we as a church understand is that in order to be fulfilled while on mission our people need the feeling of connectedness with one another.

When you look across the room at a stranger and then you find out you share 15 years of an interest (hobby, job, unusual workout routine, etc.), you instantly have a 15 year bond with this stranger. He/She knows many of your frustrations, hurts, pains and victories. Then when they talk about the mission of the church together, they now have some common language already built in to unite together and get a task done.

No one likes to feel alone. The only thing worse than being alone is being alone in a crowded room.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, August 26, 2010

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Great People build Great Churches

(random photo: myself and Mr. Jim McBride, Executive Pastor of Sherwood Church)

Great Partner Churches:
We have been able to do what we're doing in part to some great partner churches. One of them is Sherwood Church in Albany, GA. Sherwood is a church that is changing the world from Albany, GA. Do you know where Albany, GA is? No? It's okay, most people don't. Many of you probably don't even know who Sherwood Church is. It's your loss. They are best known for being the makers of "Facing the Giants" and "Fireproof". They have a forthcoming movie about fatherhood coming in 2011 called "Courageous".

Their Pastor, Dr. Michael Catt is a great leader who is passionate about Jesus, the local church and revival in the hearts of God's people. The true test of a leader however is several levels down from the church office. Dr. Catt leads a church that is one of the most passionate group of Jesus-followers I've ever seen in my life. They have been beyond generous to us in Baltimore and I can't thank God enough for the impact their church is having in my hometown. God is using Sherwood in ways they may never know in order to advance the Gospel.

Some of the 'Great People' who make Captivate Church happen have never even been to a service and most will never travel to Maryland. The great people of Sherwood Church in Albany, GA are not unlike the great people of a dozen other churches who contribute to make Captivate happen. Individuals who give their tithes and offerings to their church to advance the gospel and then their Pastors send some of those resources to places like Baltimore where we need the supply line to keep going to battle every day over souls. These are some of the great people who make Captivate happen.

Thank you Dr. Michael Catt, Mr. Jim McBride and Mr. Jim Jewell for investing in Baltimore through the ministry of Captivate Church.

Great Captivate Attendees:
Last night my wife and I sat down with eight recent additions to Captivate. Seven of them (to my knowledge) are believers and one accepted Christ this past Sunday.

This group is a breath of fresh air. They all didn't know one another prior to last night but they all were connected through one of the couples who started coming to the church. As I talked to them about their stories and as they responded to the vision of Captivate Church I can tell that these are solid people who just want to see God move in their lives and through the life of their church.

A few quotes from last night that caught my ear:

"I appreciate when you give high standards because it lets me know you're serious and you value the church."

"I expect to serve, service in the church is a built in part of being a member."

"Our son is going through a hard time and he watched Captivate online. He wants to get things together and after seeing the sermons online he's moved down here to come to the church and get things right in his life."

As we got to talk to these families I got the sense that God was doing something I prayed for many months ago. I started to pray that God would send us missionaries. I asked God to send us people who were NOT connected to a local church but who would come in attracted to our mission of reaching Baltimore with the gospel, not come in to try to make us something different. As I heard story after story last night I couldn't help but to feel like God is bringing us some great people to build a great church. I'm so excited for where we are and where God is leading us.

We've been able to add some believers to our mix who love Jesus and love His Church without losing sight of our mission to reach people with the gospel. We baptized two on Sunday and saw one come forward to receive Christ. We have several more baptisms lined up for September 12th. God is doing a great work and we're honored to be part of this church.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, August 25, 2010

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Adorable Kids Post

This weekend my bride went down to Lynchburg, VA, home of Liberty University (Lets Go L.U.) where she set up a photo shoot with Jane Bradley Photography. Jane is a gifted young woman who has become a great photographer. She has a great family and is married to a young man who was in a youth group of mine in Virginia Beach. I highly recommend her work if you live within a drive to Central Virginia.

Here are some recent photos of my adorable children. Click to enlarge.

"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him." - Psalm 127:3

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, August 24, 2010

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The Real Captivate

So often you see pictures of the lights, the preacher with the microphone, the band rockin' it out and the the pictures say "This is our church." Usually they don't tell the real story.

Much of the real church happens before and after the service. Those people who sacrifice to arrive, set up and tear down equipment at the end of the day. These are my heroes in our church. They are the special forces. Along with the people changing diapers and the greeters giving a great "hello" they make up the backbone of Captivate Church.

Here are a few pictures from today. Check out the REAL Captivate Church!

We're collecting 100 backpacks filled with school supplies that we'll distribute as a church on September 11th at an East Baltimore block party.

These guys are loading up our baptistry which we used this weekend. We baptized two! Another baptism is scheduled for September 12th. We get excited whenever we dunk around here.

This new generator is a beast. We had to purchase it because someone broke into our box truck and stole two generators and a few other expensive things. Mikael bought this new generator as a replacement.

The guys bought a pretty strong chain to temporarily hold down the back door. It's what you gotta do when someone breaks in and steals from the church box truck. We kept rolling... didn't flinch... and God kept blessing. We had two baptisms and a man came forward to receive Christ.

What a powerful service today! Some of the people who makes this happen each and every week are found in the pictures above.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, August 22, 2010

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I Will Let You Down

As I type this post I sit on my recliner in the living room. It's Thursday. It's 10:44 p.m. It's quiet. My family are all sleeping and I just walked in from a fantastic visit with a family who has recently started to attend our church. As we continue to grow I will not be able to have these dinners, coffees and deserts with most who come to Captivate so I genuinely value these times during this season of our ministry.

As I talked with this great couple we discussed all the usual things a meeting like this would entail. We talked about our testimonies, the Bible, God, culture, vision for the church, our city, etc. We just had a great conversation. This couple is a 'diamond in the rough' kind of family. It was sincerely a pleasure for me to be with them this evening.

As we wrapped up our conversation and before I departed I shared a sentiment that your Pastor would likely share with you. I said something along these lines (insert your Pastor's voice for my own):

"Just so you know, I'm human. I'm likely to let you down. I'm likely to say something, do something or neglect to say or do something which may cause friction. Please know, even now, I will not willingly do so. If you would pray for me regularly I would appreciate that very much. If I do happen to cause you pain please feel the freedom to speak with me. If we come together in humility we can always end up at love even if we disagree on an issue at hand. I commit to come to you in humility longing for reconciliation and I ask that in that spirit you come to me as well. In doing so we can honor Christ and His Church."

If you're at Captivate Church I want you to know that this is my heart. If you're not a part of our church family I want you to know that most Pastors who love Jesus and the Church will carry a similar heart. We may use different words to say things but we share one common Holy Spirit. It is in that Spirit that we all long for reconciliation.

Reconciliation does not mean however that your Pastor will always agree with you. He is not made in your image. He is made in the image of God. As you pursue maturity in Christ and your identity is found in Jesus you will usually find that your Pastor is on the same road. He wakes up every day, washes his face and in that image on the mirror he sees many enemies, insecurities and uncertainties. It is not the absence of those things that cause Him to move forward, it's in spite of those that he steps forward to serve Jesus and His Church. He has no "S" on his chest and his calling didn't come with a red cape. What he has is a certainty that he is set aside by God to be a priest among priests. He is broken and sinful and saved by grace the same way you are.

Your pastor is called to be committed to the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:6-10). Your pastor is called to encourage and equip you to fulfill the work that God prepared in advance of your life for you to do (Eph 2:8-10, Ephesians 4:11-16). Your pastor is called to lead the church to be ministers of reconciliation "...as though God were making his appeal through us." (2 Cor 5:21).

So as your Pastor is attempting to live up to God's standards there will be times when he will fall short of your standards. He's sorry. He's sincerely sorry. Even better than that you can expect (whether public or private) there are times he will royally blow it in your eyes. He needs your grace. He needs your forgiveness. He needs to hear that you love Him. Most of all he needs your fervent prayer. If he's anything like me (or you)... he needs a Savior and therefore he will let you down.

Pray for him early and often and pray that if he does let you down it will not be because of sin issue but rather because you simply saw a time where it was confirmed to you that he is indeed human and you were reminded that he doesn't wear a red cape. Pray then for reconciliation, grant forgiveness and ask God to grant him the strength and wisdom he will need to continue to point people to Jesus in a way that honors both the Father and the Father's people.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, August 19, 2010

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Captivate in Pictures

We're blessed to have many talented people as a part of Captivate Church. One of them is Ben Ritter. Ben is a student and staff member of Liberty University. He recently took a few pics of our environments and I'm placing them here for to to get a glimpse of Captivate through an artists eyes.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, August 15, 2010

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Recent Life in Pictures

Over the last few weeks I've had a lot going on and as I reflect on the latest happenings I figured I'd save some of these pictures for posterity sake. Here's a little of what's been going on in my world as seen through the camera on my EVO.

Sherwood Church visit and City Uprising:
Fellow church planter Ellis Prince holds an event each year in conjunction with a few other groups in order to test for H.I.V. This year we opened our East Baltimore site as a host for testing. In the evening we joined Ellis and his team for worship with other mission teams coming to the area for the week.
I loved the violin as a part of the band!

Sherwood is an amazing church led by Dr. Michael Catt. They are known for the movies Flywheel, Facing the Giants and Fireproof. They have the forthcoming Courageous scheduled for a 2011 release. What I'll say about Sherwood though is that the movies are the least of what they do to "Change the world from Albany, GA." As one of our strongest ministry partners they are a generous, loving and prayer-filled church. These are people of God who serve Jesus in such a way as to give everyone hope for what the Church can be.

The New Deck:
One of the things the Sherwood team did for us was to build a brand new deck to the back of our missionary home and office property in East Baltimore next to the church. These men built a very high quality deck which is not only safe and usable but provides desirable space in the city environment to get outside. Here are a few shots of their work.

East Baltimore Block Party:
The Sherwood team also worked with our team to hold a block party in East Baltimore where we were able to share the gospel and invite people to consider making East Baltimore Church their home. It was a fantastic event with about 20 families indicating they were interested in more information about the church. We estimate a crowd of nearly 500 over the 3 hour event.

Lunch at the Harbor:
At the end of the Sherwood trip I got the honor of having lunch with some of our team and some of the Sherwood team. Pictured in the back on the left is Jim Jewell. Jim is the Mission's Pastor of Sherwood and has coordinated a few trips with us already. He's a joy to work with and has a true heart for missions. I appreciate Jim and the entire Sherwood team for the love they've shown us here in Baltimore. People are being reached for Christ because of their love and support.

Caleb's Birthday:
My son had his 5th birthday and we hosted his party at a local laser tag venue. He had a great time with some of his family and friends.

Visit from Daniel:
My friend Daniel McCollum came up to Baltimore to see what God is doing with our church. We spent some time down in East Baltimore where we're doing some work on our row homes.
I've always respected Daniel since our freshman days at Liberty University. I've come to respect him more as an adult. Daniel spent two years in Russia as a missionary. He lives in Charlotte and has demonstrated concern for Christ in the city. Then last year he and his bride Jamie moved to Malawi, Africa for a year. I was honored that he came to visit so soon after returning home. Daniel and Jamie are also expecting. Congrats Daniel. Check out his site: McCollumsInMalawi.com

Happy For Hannah:
Hannah is a member of Captivate who recently graduated from Towson University with a degree in Education. Around the time this picture was taken we had recently learned that she was hired to our first teaching job. We're excited that God provided and kept her close enough to remain with us at Captivate.

The Sausage of a Sermon:
This is a recent sermon as it was scribbled out. Any Pastor worth his salt spends hours upon hours of time not only reading and studying the scripture for accuracy but also spends time in prayer to be certain that what will be spoken is coming from the Lord and not personal interests. I find that one of my toughest jobs each week is to know that God has the platform, not my opinions, not a message from memory and not a reaction to anything going on around me. I always want to teach our people from a pure place of prayer and communion with God. I could write 10 messages a week but it doesn't mean they are from God for these people at this time. That's the harder part of writing a sermon.

Outreach, Outreach, Outreach:
Last summer and fall we reached out to community organizations to partner with them on community events. This year we're finding these organizations reach back out to us INVITING US IN. As a church planting Pastor there are few things more exciting than to have developed such a relationship with our community partners that we are getting invited to participate in their events. Churches aren't often the first groups though of during planning meetings. We're honored to be on the list. This particular event was the recent "National Night Out".

Cman loved the fire trucks.

'Double Date' Date Night:
Kristy and I went to dinner with our worship Pastor Danny Hallis and his new bride Kara. They are an amazing young couple who we're honored to have part of Captivate Church. Here's a picture of Kristy and I outside the restaurant 'Bo Brooks' which is a good seafood place down by the water in Canton.

Cman's Doctor Visit:
I took Caleb to his Dr. appointment. He's entering school this fall and needed to get his annual check up. His eyes checked out and he's a healthy kid. We're very thankful.

Cman's book bag:
Caleb was getting ready for his preschool day on 'water day'. He packed his bag so tight that he leaned over and said "Daddy my bag is too heavy." He's a funny kid!

Date Night at the O's Game:
Kristy and I got away to see the Orioles play thanks to some tickets she received from her law firm. Lawyers get good seats so we were right near the 1st base side about 6 rows back. Apart from being concerned a ball would take off my head, it was a great night with my bride.

New Orioles Manager Buck Showalter got into the umpire over a bad call. I think he took about 6 minutes to argue this call. It was a little gamesmanship in my opinion as he tried to 'ice' the pitcher.

Kristy and 'Inception':
Kristy had been wanting to see Inception. Since our kiddos were safe and sound with John B. Smith and Amber, we decided to act like kids again and take in a late night movie. I saw Inception the day before and I don't like seeing movies twice but who could resist this face?

Daddy Daughter Time:
Ainsley's looking at me like I'm a goofball. I can't say I blame her.

Birthday Gift:
My mom brought Caleb his birthday gift. He wanted a new Spiderman Bike. Thanks mom-mom.

Family Time:
We like to hang out from time to time over some breakfast. Spot for this picture was Bob Evans. I'm a city boy with a country edge. I like to get away to the country to get time with God and to refresh. Bob Evans and Cracker Barrell are two spots I go to to get some good grub.

Touring East Baltimore:
I had the honor of spending some time with my friend John B. Smith who Pastors locally and Michael Harrison from Martinsville, Va. Michael is growing a great church and he's reaching people across his town. It was an honor to spend some time with him casting vision and celebrating victories God has won here in Baltimore.

We had to stop off at Chaps Pit Beef! It's a must.

Crash, Bang, Boom:
My sister got in an accident. This is a picture of the car that hit her from behind as she was stopped in traffic. Apparently the driver wasn't aware of the 40 cars in front of her at a stand still. Pay attention on the road people. Fortunately my sister is okay and her car will be repaired without much problem.

Caleb Wins!:
I was picking Cman up from preschool the other day when I snapped this shot. He was the winner in a game of "Doggie, Doggie, where's your bone?"

Candid Shots:
Just hanging at the house I grabbed a few shots of my lovely fam. I'm so appreciative to live life with them.

Karate Caleb:
We decided to enroll Cman in Karate classes. Cman did really well in his first week. He's a natural. It may help that he and I fight around the house every few days. He's a tough kid. I'm looking forward to seeing him develop through this new sport. We're treating it as a base for other sports and coaching he'll have in years ahead. The discipline of Karate will be great as he gets older.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, August 14, 2010

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