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Spiritual Retreats and Worship Workshops.

Since returning to Cape Town it has been awesome being invited to teach and facilitate at various church retreats and Worship Workshops and Conferences. Whilst the retreats have only been predominantly for Men's Groups or Ministries within the ambit of Christian Spiritual Formation and male spirituality, I do also enjoy taking couples. Regarding the Worship Workshops, this can either be for the ministry itself, or a worship-leader specific in-depth practical and spiritual workshop. I look forward to hearing from you to discuss the possibilities of us getting this together for your church!

Spiritual Retreats: These range from single-day retreats to, what tends to happen mostly, those that are given over a weekend. I am able to travel should you wish me to do so.

Worship Workshops: Those that tend to work the best are given over the course of a day. Most churches tend toward that being a Saturday. What we deal with is basically discovering our highest calling and how we best serve God within that given our talents, gifting, and leadership abilities for those who have been called to lead. "The power to bless the world around you is a direct result of your ministry to the Lord" (Gerrit Gustafson). In these workshops we speak into what worship is, our calling within it, the anointing, worshipping in "Spirit and in Truth", and, among other areas, worship and the Presence of God. This normally takes until lunch-time. After lunch we get stuck into the practical side of church worship. This moves from instrumentation, vocal, harmonies, utilization of 'light and shade' in what we do, planning worship sets, best key options, and a host of other areas. I always summarise what we have learnt and mail that through in PDF format to each participant. Should you wish me to attend practices after that, I will gladly do so. I look forward to hearing from you in this regard!

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Grant NussGrant Nuss is a musician, singer, song-writer, worship-leader,pastor, and leadership development specialist with three CD releases being - Diversity; Beyond the Sky and Souled Out.

Put your feet up, listen to selected tracks from his albums and read the latest daily devotional and news! Grant invites you to 'live the questions' with him that not many want to ask, or are even prepared to discuss today. He has, in the last while, been asked to lead more spiritual retreats, particularly for men's groups, and says that he thoroughly enjoys the interaction and the experiencing of the absolute hunger folk have for wanting to draw closer to Jesus and mature spiritually and is glad to help lead in that regard.


 
Grant's Story

I was born in Durban, South Africa, and raised in a wonderful Christian family. My first experience with the Lord was in Empangeni, Zululand, where a wonderful man of God, Neville Pringle, sowed the seed in my formative years. Neville taught me about the need for spiritual growth and maturity and became my mentor and was so until he passed away shortly after retiring from full-time ministry. I started playing music semi–professionally in my teens and turned professional in the early 1980’s. In 1990 I got what my Dad called a 'real job' and moved into the FMCG industry which led me to Cape Town.

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Worship Workshop.

Click on the link below to find out more about the Christian Worship module and Worship Workshop. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMkIz93tziQ

 
Tell the World.

I was reminded by one of my fellow classmates in the Missiology module from my Bachelor of Theology studies of a song I wrote for a presentation. Here it is - inspired by a book by Rose Dowsett. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uR-QKHFdNk

 
Where is Worship Today?

For those who are in the worship ministry this might be worth reading. I am spending time with a few worship-leaders I have mentored over the years electronically as they are as far-afield as Tanzania and we have all chosen to read Robert Webber’s book “The Divine Embrace” again. You can read an excerpt of that book by clicking the link below here. As our discussion, has progressed it has become clear that in churches today we are sold on playing the latest ‘Top 40’ covers irrespective of whether our congregations know the songs or not and tend to be “situated in the culture and not in the story of God” (Webber). Of course, when that happens, it “becomes focused on the self” and “becomes narcissistic” (Webber). Much of our worship “has shifted from a focus on God and God's story to a focus on me and my story” (Webber).

Our discussion has of course included re-looking at the role of the worship-leader and team. What is their role? To facilitate and lead the congregation they serve into a place of intimacy with Jesus. This means being able to step-aside and allow Him to minister, taking the focus of 'self', and placing it fully on Christ, and not trying to ‘sing over everything’.

We have chatted too about song choice. If our ministry involves leading people into worship (which it does) why do we persist in choosing songs which at least three-quarters of the audience do not know? The result is that folk spend the 30 minutes or so trying to read and follow what is often like ‘sermon notes’ on a screen thereby not being able to focus on Jesus which is the reason they are there. For most, they end up being so ever thankful that they got through it relatively ‘unscathed’ and literally breathe a sigh of relief.

So, here’s the question; Have you ever stood out in a congregation ready to sing your heart out to God and worship Him, and, find that it is rather difficult to do that? So why is it so difficult? Well, besides being faced with songs you have never heard, you encounter renditions that have been so re-modeled that it takes you getting to the chorus (perhaps) to get into the song.

We have discussed too that, secondly, most often it is me-oriented where it seems to be a talent show with members of the team seemingly trying to prove to the audience that they have the X Factor. This is obviously a result of the culturally driven contemporary worship band-wagon that most aspiring worship-leaders are trying to get onto.

As a worship-leader and mentor I toy with this reality so, again, we have chosen to read Robert Webber’s “The Divine Embrace” again an excerpt of which featured in Christianity Today in 2007 which, if you click on the link below here, you will find interesting reading.http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/aprilweb-only/118-13.0.html

 
The Character and Spiritual Formation of the Worship-Leader.

Psalm 34:8; “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

I was asked to speak to a group of budding worship-leaders once. As I looked around at this group of people mostly in their 20’s and, sadly, mostly male, my initial question was “are you ‘prepared and ready’? A young man holding an acoustic guitar in his lap caught my eye so I posed the question again, this time directly to him; “Are you prepared and ready”? Immediately the group responded; “He’s the best guitarist and vocalist among us, knows all the songs, so he is cut-out to be a worship-leader!”

Of course the response isn’t what makes a worship-leader although many, if not most leaders in churches continue to make this mistake time and time again. Psalm 34:8. Think of David’s life of worship. It “was rooted in his experience of God and because of those experiences he was able to lead the people of Israel into a greater understanding of who God is. In the same way, we as worship leaders must come to know God intimately if we are to lead other people into experiences of deep, meaningful worship where they too can come to a greater understanding of God’ s presence in their lives. Again, we can’ t lead people into this experience with God unless we go there ourselves” (Peter Engle).

So as we progress here it takes far more than just being able to play an instrument and sing well to be in worship-leadership. In fact, if we be honest, if that’s all you bring the result will be entertainment and a performance and very little else. For us to be in worship-leadership will require an intimate relationship with Jesus, and God working His character into our hearts. Character and character-development is an integral part of leading God’s people into a place of intimacy with Him. As with people like David and many others who God called to leadership, with this principle of character development and intimate relationship with Him, were able to minister out of the deep working of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. We will deal with the Spiritual Formation of the worship-leader on Monday!

 
Worship-Leading and Spiritual Transformation.

Dallas Willard in his book entitled “Renovation of the Heart” writes that; “We live from our heart. The part of us that drives and organizes our life is not just the physical. This remains true even if we deny it. You have a spirit within you and it has been formed. It takes on a specific character. The human spirit is an inescapable, fundamental aspect of every human being; and it takes on whichever character it has from the experiences and the choices that we have lived through or made in our past. That is what it means for it to be “formed.”

As we discussed yesterday, being in worship leadership necessitates God working His character into our hearts. In so much that we are “formed,” God continues to “transform” us to be more like His Son, Jesus, but, here’s the deal, we must surrender our lives to His transformation. Without that surrender God can do nothing with us. David valued God’ s presence above all and was known for integrity, obedience, passionate worship, his desire to play with skill, and humility before God, all of which is needed in the heart of a worship leader. God desires worship that is both passionate in spirit as well as founded on principles of truth. Skill and art alone do not impress God nor does passion with no boundaries, so we come before God not on our terms or with our methodologies, but in accordance with God’ s regulations and desires.

Remember the words of the Lord to Isaiah; “These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men” (Isaiah 29:13). Our worship is not to be given to God in accordance to the expectations of man, but out of the simplicity of the heart in the fear of the Lord. As worship leaders

We need insure that we are balanced in our approach of God, being both passionate and reverent, dedicated to honouring the presence of the Lord and not the pleasures of man. Extremely important. We sing songs like “Give us clean hands” and my prayer is that we take heed of what it is about – living a godly life. Listen, in case you know it not, worship-leading is an extremely high calling, this not leading songs, this is leading God’s people into a place of intimacy with Him. With this high calling means higher demands with regards to attitude, action, character, and lifestyle. Let’s press pause here in this context. I was called in to mediate a meeting involving a young worship-leader who had chosen to move in with fiancée and had stated that they were sleeping-together. What would your advice have been to the leadership of that church? “But he is such a good musician and singer” the pastor said to me. Let’s be real, all of us have been guilty of assuming that an ‘artist’ is qualified to lead worship because of their skill, but in the end, it is God who qualifies the artist. If you are a leader reading this today, refuse to fall into the trap of promoting people to, not only worship-leading, but any ministry role for the sake of their ability, it is a ‘heart’ issue. Psalm 24:3-4; “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.”

Israelson writes that; “Just as God called the Israelites to purity regarding ministry in His presence, we likewise are called to new levels of holiness in Christ Jesus. Artistry, skill, programs, and good works are not sufficient to endear the presence of God; we need to have an authenticity of heart, but at the same rate we cannot ignore the scriptural commandments and examples for how people are to express themselves to God. The worship leader is responsible before God and the people to worship God in both spirit and truth by serving with the gifts and wisdom given from the Lord as well as in sincerity, integrity and obedience. “In Christ there is such a thing as a transformed, well-adjusted, Spirit-filled artist. Imagine what God could do with an artistic temperament that's completely yielded to Him.” What is a worship leader to be? Ever more like Christ as we are increasingly changed to be more like Him..

 

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