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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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Home NEWS Updates from Grant DIS- CONNECT?
DIS- CONNECT? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Sunday, 19 October 2014 14:00

I am sharing here what was shared with me by a friend who is most-concerned about this area of concern, he having been a ‘statistic’. If you are not prepared to ‘live the questions’ that are posed within the faith that's okay, I understand. Some of what is discussed herein we know is sensitive information, some of it could shock you, or, perhaps, even nauseate you, so, if you are unsure  I would ask you to please not read any further. Is that okay? For those of you who believe you would like to read on, here goes. I must also put forward that this may not necessarily be the views of those responsible for this site.

I was contacted recently by a man who has become a close friend over the past year, he too has left full-time ministry recently. He called to discuss what he sees as being the ‘disconnect’ within the church today. Now, like you perhaps, for me it doesn't take rocket-science to see that there is a disconnect between those outside the church and those within it today and has been the case throughout history, but within the church is an issue that we, as church-leaders and Christians tend to steer clear of saying, if it ever comes up, that “it is what it is”. Really? Can we just fob it off like that, dust it under the carpet, and play as though it isn’t there? My friend uses this saying often; “Is this what Jesus had in mind when he thought of the church”? He recalled reading a letter from someone who stated; “How can meeting with hundreds of people every Sunday morning and at a cell-group during the week make me feel alone, disconnected, and disjointed?”

In a later discussion my friend pointed me to a website called “The Disconnect Church” built to help promote the truth about The Connect Church (an actual church). Man, I suggest that you don’t go there – really. The site was set up by concerned ex-members of The Connect Church stating that; “We believe the congregation has a right and need to know a certain level of detail about events that have transpired so that, as a church, it can make the right decisions about leadership and affect the general course of the church towards a healthy, God-given model. If you are content with ignorance of facts that reveal significant character and ethical flaws, we would kindly ask that you leave the site now and be on your merry way. If you are of the mind that this information could be a reflection on the character of the leadership and therefore important to the future of the church and its members, you will want to read on”. It includes, and this is just on the home page; “The Double Life – a senior leader’s long-term adultery” – and the list goes on. In case you're wondering, this sort of thing is happening out there.

On the flip-side of this, Mike Crudge in his PhD Thesis, which can be read on http://mikecrudge.com/2013/11/26/the-disconnected-church/ , suggests “two new labels to define the church and its communication (mission) connection within society: firstly, the “disconnected church” which through its modus operandi fosters the historical connection to the past era and attitude I define as Christendom. A disconnected church (and disconnected Christians) struggle with the realities of how hard it actually is to be Christian, but they do not embrace the fact that many of the difficulties experienced through a negative response from society might actually be the result of how the church and Christians are being Christian. My second new label is the “connected church”, which describes a church through which its modus operandi shows evidence of understanding and appreciation of the current context it finds itself in. It therefore lives with the tension of both holding cultural change loosely enough to be able to evolve with changes such as leadership structures, community values, and philosophical influences such as post-modernity, as well as retaining theological and spiritual integrity in the essence of being Christian.”

Do you believe that there might just be some reason for discussion on this by leadership, church communities, and within the faith, or is my friend, and the others featured above who are only a small portion of what is out there, just “getting his knickers in a knot”? Could this be why there are, apparently, 1,700 pastors leaving the ministry each month? Herewith the summary of an article entitled; “Why Pastors Leave the Ministry” by Fuller Institute, George Barna and Pastoral Care Inc. They state that; “90% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week. 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor's children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents. 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family. 75% report significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry. 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands. 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job. 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started. 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend. 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month. 33% confess having involved in inappropriate sexual behaviour with someone in the church. 50% have considered leaving the ministry in the last months. 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years. 1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form. 94% of clergy families feel the pressures of the pastor's ministry. 66% of church members expect a minister and family to live at a higher moral standard than themselves. The moral values of a Christian are no different than those who consider themselves non-Christians. The profession of "Pastor" is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above "car salesman". Over 4,000 churches closed in America last year. Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year. Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month, many without cause. Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year. Many denominations report an "empty pulpit crisis" because they cannot find ministers willing to fill positions. Apparently the #1 reason pastors leave the ministry is this; “Church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor. Pastors believe God wants them to go in one direction but the people are not willing to follow or change.”

In summary; so “why are pastors struggling? There are many causes. The Fuller Institute of Church Growth found in 1991 that 80 percent of the clergy feel their families have been negatively impacted by the church, and 33 percent consider the ministry to be an outright hazard to their families. Financial burdens are common as well. The majority of pastors are heavily in debt, due to college and seminary expenses, and poor below market-related salaries. These and other problems often lead to serious marital conflict and family dysfunction. Unfortunately, the embarrassment or gossip within the church leads some couples to avoid needed counselling services”.

Where does this leave the church today? Is there a problem or is it just a few pastors and churches who have 'lost their way'? Looking at the numbers, I believe it is a pandemic. It is an interesting place to look in from, but for those in the throes of what is going down across the world, they need our support, our love, our care, our prayer, and, from my perspective, for us to consider making a stand to break this trend, and stop the "dis-connect" rot.