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Author Topic: Any horror stories from those LT summers?  (Read 46528 times)
An ex-GCM pastor
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« on: March 03, 2008, 12:10:18 am »

Does anyone wish to share the horrible stories of going to LT meetings, working at Burger King all day, living in a shared apartment with 5 others and then doing training all night long and then being told you are not trying hard enough?

I have a few of my own.

Please share with the group if you can.

-An ex-GCM pastor
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jehu
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2008, 05:10:09 am »

I think someone was going to tell one but it looks like they still aren't trying hard enough. Kidding! It's a shame you had to pay this price to be affiliated and accepted. I definitely count myself lucky not to have 'pushed' that far and that hard for what now seems to have been an empty 'hand.' It must be hard to look back on all this and think about how your "flock" has fared.
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Linda
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2008, 07:16:00 am »

Quote from: "An ex-GCM pastor"

I have a few of my own.


I'm glad you are still here, ex-GCM pastor.

Do you feel free to share your LT stories?

I'm so glad my children never did LT. I have a few HSLT stories, though.
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Immortal_Raven
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2008, 09:15:43 am »

Like Jehu, I'm glad I didn't do LT.  At the time, the only reasons I didn't go were because I'd signed an apartment lease and already paid for summer school.  Explaining a gargantuan waste of money to my parents when I was a financial planning major would not have gone well.  

I just remember the people who went coming back and being fawned over.  Everyone else in the congregation hailed them as heroes.  In my mind, they had just gone away for the summer to work.  And in the process did a lot of Bible Study.  I had done this the summer before on my own.  I went home to Minnesota and there was nothing else to do there, so I read my Bible a lot more than usual.  Unless I'm missing something, LT is just a summer work program with a focus on bible study.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

-Immortal_Raven
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theresearchpersona
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2008, 11:28:47 am »

It's not just a summer of Bible study...

But a summer of speakers...sometimes poor I'm afraid (twisting). : (

However it's also a good chance for people to work together, spend time speaking about the Word, and to witness/outreach/etc..

So it depends, I suppose. It's not really a giant deal: but it can be nice for people...depending, it can also be hard. I just wish GC would step-out from between Christ and His bride in the places it has ingrained itself, actually learn from the Bible (rather than Purpose Driven, G12, Dallas Willar, Henry Blackaby, Bill Hybels, C. Peter Wagner, and G. Barna...to name a few); and to do that correctly: rightly dividing the word of truth is hard work: and requires this interesting thing called scholarship!

It doesn't seem like our predecessors in the faith had a problem with proving themselves scholars and hitting the book hard: and being careful readers of even very literal bibles.

GC presents a danger in twisting words, and passages, etc.. Especially since the sources of much going on today (Purpose Driven Life/Church is a good example) are wholly based on wrenching scripture as hard as possible. So the teachers' teachers are scripture-wresters full of it themselves. : (

They think we're all here for no good purpose...divisive horrible evil slanderer: but it's horrible to watch them as teachers slander God and cause others to blaspheme by obedience to errors.

So "in case of isolation": do read Bible on own and greatly!
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G_Prince
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2008, 03:10:14 pm »

It always struck me that LT was a place where future leaders all rubbed shoulders and made connections. I remember many people "linked up" with other believers for ministry, evangelism etc. I guess since it is called "Leadership Training" this would be normal.

Do you think the focus of the event was geared differently than regular GCx retreats? It seems like at LT, discipling and authoritarian power structures are severely beaten into the new initiates. There seems to be heavy focus submission ( more so than normal GCx churches).
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exshep
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2008, 06:49:35 pm »

Interesting thread. Was the Saddleback/Willow Creek affiliation common?  Grace Community Church in Plano had strong affiliations with both.  The other Texas groups seemed closer to the traditional GC      s.

I know Stonebrook (Ames, IA) and New Song, (Reynoldsburg, OH) have CR groups.  

I remeber the horror stories of the summers from former Columbus church members.  Your post paint an accurate picture that I have not remembered in years.   I did enjoy the Columbus church during their brief outreach in Athens OH at Ohio University.
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Had friend in Columbus church 80's and 90s. Member left in 1993  Involved GC in Texas  2005-2007.  Empathy to both  with  positive and negative aspects.
theresearchpersona
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2008, 09:39:41 pm »

The irony is that these trips are "leaders" (present or future); why not permit all who wish to serve to choose themselves to move and do things with the body?

Furthermore...is there ANY scripture that lets youth (a guy like Timothy was 35) in general EVER be put into position over other believers as if they're elders?
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exshep
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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2008, 03:12:53 pm »

Quote from: "theresearchpersona"
The irony is that these trips are "leaders" (present or future); why not permit all who wish to serve to choose themselves to move and do things with the body?

Furthermore...is there ANY scripture that lets youth (a guy like Timothy was 35) in general EVER be put into position over other believers as if they're elders?


Touche

You were right on the lack of maturity.  I remember a paper I wrote in school,  "some the faithful fallible followers fall flat over their own zeal". It did get me a B for the class.  I had the enthusiasm, but I also had some undesirable emotional baggage.  I remember the Columbus church was very interested in me.  Fortunately I and others smelled smoke  and bowed out  before I ever got in.    I can only imagine the effect my leadership role would have had.  To say it would have been the blind leading the blind would have been an understatement.
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Had friend in Columbus church 80's and 90s. Member left in 1993  Involved GC in Texas  2005-2007.  Empathy to both  with  positive and negative aspects.
mattplod
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2008, 11:42:49 am »

I've find it interesting that many of the people I know who went LT not only didn't become "leaders" of any kind but also soon left the church completely.
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Jack
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2009, 05:40:41 pm »

I was at North Myrtle Beach LT in 92 & 93.  Looking back, it seemed like programming, indoctrination even.  I remember working 60+ hours a week in 93.  There were lots of meetings, small groups, bible studies, and then the outreaches on the beach.  Its been a while, and I haven't really thought about it a lot since then.  I almost never talk about my GCM days, I've often felt embarrassed about it all.  It makes more sense now, I tried to defend GCM in my mind, but now I see that was futile.  Oh yeah, and I wish I would have only had 5 roommates.  I slept under the (dining room?) table in 92, and barely slept in 93.  I worked all night at Kroger, and tried to sleep in the day in a house across from the beach with no air conditioning.  Just wasn't happening.  And I left the church within a year of leaving for LT in 93.
Hey, but I got to spend two summers at the beach, so it can't be all bad, right?  I've had no desire to go back there either since then.
I think "leaders" aren't made, they're born.  Everyone has unique talents and abilities.  That's one of the problems with GC, they try to make everyone fit the same mold, but most of us don't fit.
Was anyone else there either of those summers?  Do you feel the same as I do, or different about your experience?  If so, please feel free to pm me or shoot me an e-mail.  I would like to hear from some old friends, and just catch up, if nothing else.
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EverAStudent
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2009, 06:55:05 pm »

Quote from: jack
I think "leaders" aren't made, they're born.  Everyone has unique talents and abilities.  That's one of the problems with GC, they try to make everyone fit the same mold, but most of us don't fit.

Spiritual leaders are not made or born, they are gifted by the Holy Spirit at His discretion.  And in His timing.

Good spiritual leaders study the Word and know how to read it and interpret it.  Good spiritual leaders may not be brimming with charisma, but they take an intense interest in how you respond to the pure Word. 

Bad spiritual leaders may not even be gifted as leaders, but they do not seem to know it.  They have a tough time understanding the genuine meaning of a text and often take the easy way out by quoting someone else's opinion.  Bad spiritual leaders care less whether you understand and respond properly to the Word so long as you honor them and obey them.

I was one of those "stiff necked fools" who refused to go to leadership training.  Guess we cannot all be apostles, prophets, and elders, now can we?  Shocked
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formerstaffer
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« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2011, 02:00:51 pm »

Linda - ah...someone who remembers HSLT. Good times & bad times. I was in it up to my eyeballs....and got burned out for 6 months because my church leadership admitted they didn't do a good job preparing me for it. But the oversight at the event was poor, too - pretty bad when my pastor from home had to call me to ask me when I was going to sleep - that he was hearing concerns about me!
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FeministRebel
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« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2012, 07:26:55 pm »

Yes. Actually.

I went to LT in Estes Park, Colorado. Summer of '99.

We really had a pretty gruesome schedule. I'd work from 5 am to 2+pm, sometimes. Then I would try to go home and nap for a couple of hours, and then go do dinner, and then it was many hours of teachings... from 7 pm to 10 pm, sometimes later, only to wake up really early the next day, to do it all over again. One day of the weekend we had to do service projects, and often we'd leave at like 4 am, and not be back home till midnight, or later. We had one day of rest, but in reality, they still expected us to socialize, and go do things together on those days, too.

I would be guilt tripped about taking naps, after work. (It was the only way I knew to keep up with the schedule)... The altitude was really wrecking havoc on my health (as I had thyroid problems), and I began getting dizzy at work, and sometimes, not able to attend project days. I got SO MUCH GRIEF over this. I went to the local clinic, and had to go in town with the help of someone... to get my meds adjusted -- but I was treated like I was really irresponsible for just not taking care of my health, somehow, before going to Estes Park -- as if I would be able to predict how altitude would affect me.

Ironically, this one girl... who was one of those "favorites" from the clique, she was mysteriously always sick, too; claiming Mono. Always sleeping in, never doing anything, never going on project days anymore... claiming the "enemy" was attacking her, and she'd have "visions" and other things. 

Basically ALL Summer like this, and everyone super concerned over her, "poor thing." Then the Mono tests came back fully negative; she had NOTHING wrong with her.

I was so mad... I practically killed myself up there, over supposedly trying to purify myself through fire... and this woman was just faking it so she could sleep through the whole thing, with everyone literally at her feet. 

Still, to this day... she is married to someone involved in GCx churches. I'm sure, still, with people flocking by her like she's the next Virgin Mary. 

The whole experience was very hurtful.
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Grounded
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2012, 06:30:04 pm »

Feministrebel,

I was there that summer. You did food service, didn't you? I was in house keeping for the two summers I was there, which provided a more normal schedule. I remember many lae nights with the teachings. We probably know each other. PM me if you want to.
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Rev. Russ Westbrook
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2012, 07:21:33 am »



Ironically, this one girl... who was one of those "favorites" from the clique, she was mysteriously always sick, too; claiming Mono. Always sleeping in, never doing anything, never going on project days anymore... claiming the "enemy" was attacking her, and she'd have "visions" and other things. 

Basically ALL Summer like this, and everyone super concerned over her, "poor thing." Then the Mono tests came back fully negative; she had NOTHING wrong with her.

I was so mad... I practically killed myself up there, over supposedly trying to purify myself through fire... and this woman was just faking it so she could sleep through the whole thing, with everyone literally at her feet. 

Still, to this day... she is married to someone involved in GCx churches. I'm sure, still, with people flocking by her like she's the next Virgin Mary. 

The whole experience was very hurtful.

Heh.  I got a small taste of this at an EKU choir performance in 87.  Our group had two performers in that chior- one a "group star", another who had the termidity to stay on the fringes and keep calling herself a "Baptist".  When the performence was over, you can imagine which girl the group surrounded and fawned over, and which was COMPLETELY ignored- by everyone but me, of course.  I spent my time complimenting her, and then walked her home- just us, while GCS took the other out to celebrate her talents.  Ironically, the girl I was pursuing was the "group star"; but I couldn't let such obvious favoritism stand.  It was pretty much at this time she started growing cold to me; imagine that.   Cheesy
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Rev. Russ Westbrook
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« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2012, 07:26:46 am »

I DEEPLY wanted to go to a LT in Washington in the Summer of 87.  I was all set to go, until a conflict with my mother resulted in me missing certain deadlines (I was 17).  It was an incredably hurtful experience with my mother; this was going to be for me my celebration of surviving High School and entering adulthood.  Nevertheless, I can see God's Providence in what happened now.  I AM a leader in God's Church today, gifted and called.  Had I been truely turned to twisted ideals by GCI, I could have been a weapon indeed for darkness........
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ScottChase
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« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2015, 10:43:43 am »

In total I went to three different away LTs and 2 summers staying in Fort Collins for the leadership program there, in retrospect all three of the summers were various incarnations of hell. First summer right after my freshman year of college I barely remember, I was up in Estes Park working in custodial and managed to blow out the cartilage in my knee only a few weeks into the summer. About that time that healed up I caught mono and spent most of the rest of the summer thinking I was dying because I was so miserable. Didn't have any health insurance so going to the doctor was out of the question and from what I can remember of that summer most of it was spent on various cold and pain medications. Lots of late nights and day long outreach trips didn't leave much time to get better and having to hobble the quarter mile to anything didn't help either.
        For some crazy reason I went back the next to Estes Park again the next summer in 1999. The first year I spent working in custodial and the laundry operation but the second year I lucked out and got on as part of the maintenance crew. From a work perspective that was awesome, I learned a lot about what has become my career and the only regret I have is that at the end of the summer I was offered a full time position at the YMCA which I turned down to return to the Rock in Fort Collins (and college). My schedule was different than everyone else’s that summer as well and as a result it made it harder to participate in all the group activates which as I recall made me feel a bit alienated from the group. Got real good at mini golf though since I got off work several hours after everyone else and they had generally left to do whatever by the time I was done.
        My final LT was in the summer of 2002 in Orlando, left a well paying job to go down there are work my rear off. Ended up being the most miserable summer I can ever recall. Hot, humid, and my life went in the crapper as a result of that summer. Asked out a Whitney, ended up spending the next year of my life hating the world and everything in it. Humorous in retrospect but I did most of the grocery shopping for the first few weeks for the guys in our apartment, if I remember we got somewhere around $100 a week in a Wal-Mart gift card to feed 8 guys, needless to say but that didn't go too far but we made due. After two or three weeks the guys in my apartment revolted and took control of the food budget for a week, I think we ran out of food for the week after about three days and the women were kind enough to feed us for the remainder of the week, after which the budget was promptly handed back over to me till I left midsummer after my disastrous interaction with a girl.
       Been a long time since I posted here but was feeling nostalgic today for some reason.
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FeministRebel
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« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2015, 09:06:45 pm »

Yeah... I was in Estes Park in 1999. Food Service. It was just awful.
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Differentstrokes
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« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2015, 06:16:24 am »

Ah yes, lt. We stayed in town to do
Ours, but that didn't make them any less grueling! My first year was okay, because I wasn't really in the rock yet, and I was still working on my high schools summer showcase.... But the next year is when the fun really begain...

I did four summer lts in omaha. The first official one I wasn't working full time, so it wasn't so bad, except I was expected to be out of the house from 8-5 no matter what. Monday we'd have prayer meetings often til 11-12 at night, Tuesday were dinner wih our host family, my favorite nights, Wednesday's we'd have "evanglism training" where we'd gather as a church and learn the most effective ways to refute arguments against Christianity and convince people they are sinners, Thursdays we had a teaching from one of the deacons or a guest speaker, and Fridays we'd go down town and cold turkey evangelise. Saturday's we almost always had a service project, and of course sunday we had church. Oh, and we ALWAYS had dinner together, unless it was host family night, at my pastors compound out in the country. This was the same set up for all four summers.

I paid 200 to sleep on the floor with 11 other girls one summer, it's probably no surprise one girl got sick and spread it around to everyone, especially considering we only had one bathroom. That summer I contracted mono, as well as a burst ovarian cyst, I was physically unable to stand or move on my own really, yet I was expected to be at every single church event, or I wasn't committed enough. We were often told what an honor it is to "lay down yourself and serve" in that way, suffering for the lord.

One summer we were so busy, I was sleeping maybe 2-3 hours a night, while working full time at a childcare center, i begain having nightmares and hallucinations(probably from lack of sleep? Psychological stress?), which caused me to sleep even less: I was eating, and we often would have to be out walking for miles in 100+ degree heat, by the end of that summer I had lost 70 pounds, I once went a full two weeks without sleeping at all, and my long beaten habit of cutting myself had returned. The only advice I was given was to pray and read my bible, because God is what makes us stronger. "Everyone else is doing fine so it must be something wrong with you"

During one summer, between the 12 of us in our small group we had 8 trips to the emergency room, all for exhaustion related issues.

We were fed on "disciple burgers"(ie squashy peanut butter or Bologna sandwhiches) and ate of rewashed paper plates and plastic silverware, they were gross and moldy by the end of the summer. One summer the church bought us reusable plastic plates and cups, so that was exciting...

I remember telling my leader how exhausted I was once (she was 21 at the time, maybe) and she just said "that's your problem; the church comes first!

We had our church trainings and meetings during the week in buildings with no AC, half of us covered in sunburn. It was awful


Looking back now, I see how destructive these summers were, sure there were parts that were fun.... But mostly it felt like torture and forced servitude for the church... Keeping young people busy is an easy way to
Control them, and like no one wants to go against the group, so we kept going... I remember the year I decided not to do lt, you'd think I'd become a satanist the way people reacted.
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