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Author Topic: Any horror stories from those LT summers?  (Read 43009 times)
margaret
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« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2015, 08:08:49 am »

Abuse.
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Outtathere
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« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2015, 10:45:05 am »

Differentstrokes, I am so sorry to hear of your experience. It is not uncommon. The LT, Epicenter etc. experience have several dynamics which should be looked at closely, many of which you just touched on. Some observations:

1. It keeps you in the organization and in the organizational mindset for a summer. Most of the people who are deemed "committed" and who move up in the organization are people who participate in these events.
2. Part of the motivation is to indoctrinate people into the GC mindset. The core values of evangelism (which is foundational in Christianity and is a wonderful thing as long as the Great Commission is properly understood) is worked into the schedule. However, other things such as committing to one local church for life or at the very least, one movement for life, is usually brought up as well. It is part of the testimony of almost every speaker whom they bring in. The speakers who gather the greatest fan base are usually the ones who are deemed radically committed not only to Christ, but to the movement.
3. There is an underlying fear amongst many in leadership (which I have heard first hand) that people will fall away if they leave for the summer. Their reasoning is that many of the people who make enthusiastic commitments to their churches during their freshman and/or sophomore years often walk away completely upon their return to campus after a summer of perspective and...watch out for this word...rest!
4. Since folks who find rest seem to be the ones who gain a different perspective on the organization, the summer programs are usually devoid of rest. People are kept very, very busy. To keep this going, messages are interwoven throughout the summer which take an unhealthy view of sacrifice and martyrdom. This is where evangelism is usually placed out of context and is elevated as the only thing that really matters and it becomes an activity and has the potential to become a works based activity. A generalization which I have observed is that those who really hit the pavement hard with passing out tracts and bringing others into the fellowship (genuinely converted or not) and get others to get baptized (again, genuinely converted or not) move up the ladders of leadership.

There  are other factors, of course, but I think these are important  factors to  consider to understand  the movement and people who are leading the movement. Think about it this way, the majority of people who are leading did not go to seminary. Seminaries are, not surprisingly, often cast into a negative light by leadership and minions. Just tell your pastor or a minion that you are thinking of going and they will argue against it. People who do in fact go to seminary often leave the movement (or try to fix it when they return to no avail). Something to consider is that many of the people who end up leading in GC are very talented individuals in one way or another that were on very successful trajectories for careers who ended up abandoning their career paths in college for ministry. I do not think that this in and of itself is a bad thing. I do wonder, however, if many of them were not called to pastoral leadership in contrast to those who have gone to seminary and have committed to studying proper doctrines so as to properly shepherd the flock without putting burdens upon them. This is one reason why I think they are so derogatory towards people who go to seminary as well as why they often push the idea that the most important thing a dedicated follower of Christ can do is to lay aside their selfish ambition and pursue ministry. After all, if they had to do it, why shouldn't you? For those who do not, there is often a corresponding guilt that often follows them because they are not doing something as worthy as a pastor or deacon or staff member etc., and can cause a wrongly placed elevation towards those who are in leadership.

I also believe, related to the last point, that some of those who gave up their dreams to pastor felt a motivation of martyrdom when taking the step into ministry and since they may not have been called into ministry often use martyrdom as motivation to get others more committed. I have heard the tones of martyrdom come out in so many messages over the years, as well as some recent messages I have listened to out of curiosity. Language of how they and their families have sacrificed for the gospel and the manipulation that often comes out when they say things such as, "do you think I enjoy dealing with this person's problems when I could have been at home with my wife and family," can cause people to give allegiance to leaders and place them higher on a pedestal and place suffering and sacrifice as the ultimate motivation of following Christ. This, to me, was part of my miserable experience. It was only after I left that I came to (and it was a process to come to this point) a proper motivation of serving and sharing the gospel and even living sacrificially out of joy rather than motivated out of guilt or unworthiness.

Margaret summed it up perfectly in one word...ABUSE!
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Differentstrokes
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« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2015, 11:38:06 am »

I think what really sealed the deal for me was the leadership issue... I am a born leader, on every spiritual gifts exam or other test my top scores are mercy, appostleship, and leadership. I'm not trying to be vain or anything, but when given responsibility or a position of leadership, I am really good at it. I love organizing things and planning.... Yet I was passed over lots of times when the chance came for appointing new leaders, it made me sad but at the time i just figured it wasn't my time. One time I expressed my interest in leading a small group(and later in organizing some charity events), and I was told I would never be chosen, I wasn't leadership material, I wasn't committed because I some times missed events, or I didn't openly share the gospel with strangers(I'm a big believer in letting your life bring people to Christ, not cold turkey evanglism) they even took time to point at other women and say the reason she was a leader was because she shows commitment, or she's brought this many people to small group... That broke my heart. I wasn't even allowed to plan a children's christmas program because I hadn't been serving the church enough(ie stacking up chairs after church, or getting there at 6 am for set up every Sunday)... A big problem I see with GCM is squashing people's gifts, everyone is gifted differently, and the church should be the one place where we can really use those gifts, but not at candlewood or any GCM church I've been to...
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2015, 07:00:36 pm »

Wow, everyone!  These are awful stories.  Some downright disgusting.  Rewashing moldy paper plates?  Yikes!

The more I distance myself, the more I can't even believe I was a part of such a strange group.  Further, I can't believe people still attend knowing all of these issues.  I'd like to see it shut down permanently, and everyone join up with other churches (that have some sort of healthy hierarchy and potential check to rein in abuses).
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blonde
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« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2015, 12:57:24 am »

Abuse sums it ALL up!
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-Mahatma Gandhi
h2oOrlandoWarning
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« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2015, 10:04:27 am »

Big Time.

LT Orlando.

Year: 2001 (I think it was 2001, can't remember exact year now - it might have been 2000 or 2002).
Place: some apartment complex for college students a mile or two from UCF campus.
What:

1. ) One of the LTers masturbated in public outside a girl's apartment room window. Actually, I think there was a few girls in the apartment at the time and he came over to their window and just started masturbating. Don't know the exact details on who the girls reported it to but I think it was the apartment complex. A guy who I guess was helping organize LT Orlando that summer sent the kid home. There was nothing really publicly discussed about the situation with other LTers - I found out indirectly.

2.) A lot of students who came for the summer couldn't find jobs or get good jobs. They would meet everyday in someone's apartment and pray about finding work for the summer. Most of the students got crappy summer jobs that didn't pay much at all, were not helpful to their long-term careers goals, etc, some even worked at fast food restaurants. It was awful. Looking back now I don't know why it didn't register with me how dumb and awful the LT system was, but I was young and immature. Like "Camp Kikakee" from Earnest Goes to Camp.

But to the GCM Philosophy the point really isn't about your financial or career related future, it is more about your "spiritual" future. So, even if you get a crappy meaningless job, to the vision of the program it is not that big a deal because what you are *really* there for is spiritual growth "opportunities."

If you are a parent and want your kids to do something great with their summer, I don't know how you can send them to a GCM LT in light of other options out there. But, LTs keep on going. Check out the blurb here: http://collegiatechurchnetwork.com/events/leadership-training.

3.) Philosophy/teachings (like I touched on a bit above). A lot of your classic GCMer teachings: don't worry about your studies or future financial/career goals, instead focus on what really matters, that is, reaching people for the gospel, etc. etc. I remember being in this weird little apologetics class where we would watch videos by a GCM apologist on how to do apologetics on campus.

4.) Weird dating relationships. LT guys and LT girls would be checking each other out, flirting, looking for the next Mr and Mrs GCMer and some would start dating on some level. Definitely not the best time or place to start a relationship..."So, I here you just got a job at Wendys for the summer? Wow, none of the other guys even *have* jobs..are you dating anyone back in Alabama by any chance?" But LTers were not protected from that from the leadership.


« Last Edit: August 06, 2015, 06:17:57 am by h2oOrlandoWarning » Logged
ScottChase
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« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2015, 12:51:59 pm »

And I thought that was the year that everyone worked at Universal Studios or Disneyworld, guess we were all so tired and busy that we never knew about the problems of the jobless that summer
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Hope
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« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2015, 10:25:17 pm »

I remember witnessing the manipulation of the pastors. We were going to be sharing what we learned during the blitz or what is known now as LT and dancing after. I had been on the deck above the building, trying to get a quiet time. I remember we were kept so busy it was difficult to make sure I was spending time in God's word and it seemed that they only cared if you made it to everything. I witnessed the pastor getting the attention of the male leaders of the Rock and having them meet outside under the deck. I heard the pastor tell them instead of sharing and dancing; they decided it was best for sharing and praying. When everyone was gathered and the announcement was made, it was announced differently compared to how I heard the changes made. It's hard to forget the manipulation. 
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ScottChase
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« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2015, 01:08:34 pm »

The following is a quote from one of this summers LTCs, I thought you all might get a kick out of it:

What does the summer look like? How will the group spend their time? Where will they be living?
 
This summer’s theme is about finding identity in Christ.
 
Rock students have jobs during the weekdays, then the following LT activities:
 
• Monday — Worship and teaching
 • Tuesday — Worship and teaching
 • Wednesday — Small Group
 • Thursday — Prayer
 • Friday — Relational outreach (with coworkers)
 • Saturday — Service project and cold-turkey evangelism
 • Sunday — Prayer and church service
 
The guys’ house is a duplex with about 25 men living there. They sleep on the floor, on camping pads, in sleeping bags. The ladies live within a stone's throw of Candlewood. The house has a Victorian feel, and most of the ladies get either a bed or couch to sleep on.
 
As for meals, each visiting church takes a turn doing the weekly shopping trip to Sam's for 60-plus students. They then assist a professional chef (a member at Candlewood Church) in cooking dinners every night. We have not cooked yet, but it has been fun to eat mac and cheese with weenies, as well as tater-tot casserole during the first week.
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Differentstrokes
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« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2015, 06:15:54 pm »

Oh god that gives me Vietnam style flashbacks
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MidnightRider
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« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2015, 08:10:38 pm »

The following is a quote from one of this summers LTCs,
[...]
The house has a Victorian feel, and most of the ladies get either a bed or couch to sleep on.

most?
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ScottChase
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« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2015, 02:04:07 pm »

No kidding at least at all three of my LTs I had a bed to sleep on.
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Differentstrokes
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« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2015, 04:34:05 pm »

My last lt we had one bed, which we rotated nights in, and the rest of us slept shoulder to shoulder on the floor.
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Differentstrokes
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« Reply #33 on: August 14, 2015, 09:39:24 am »

You know, I think the saddest part about all this is that there were a lot of good times, if you were in GCM, you had a built in group of friends, never alone, always someone to have fun with.... But it was so twisted, underneath all that was so much deception and manipulation..
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h2oOrlandoWarning
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« Reply #34 on: August 18, 2015, 06:47:44 am »

And I thought that was the year that everyone worked at Universal Studios or Disneyworld, guess we were all so tired and busy that we never knew about the problems of the jobless that summer

Yeah, most people did I think work at Universal Studios or Disney. That is what I mean by crappy jobs that were not particularly relevant to students future career goals. Unless someone thinks working low-pay, low-skill jobs at Universal Studios for an hourly rate is great experience for your future career?

They were working low-pay, low-skill jobs (i.e. food service type positions) at Universal and Disney. No one, for example, was working in some kind of top management position at Disney (i.e. scoring some killer high level competitive internship), etc -- if that makes sense. The majority were working the low-paying, low-skill jobs. It's possible that every LTer got a job at some point -- I can't remember. What I meant was this: you have a program that is, what?, three months long and I remember sitting and praying with people to get jobs at least a month into the program. Did they even end up getting full-time positions? I only know of one guy who got a decent job related to his future career (an internship at Lockheed Martin) but that wasn't because of LT, he had contacted them before he even came to Orlando and I think it might have been more about coming to Orlando for that then LT, he just happened to say, hey, I'll do LT too then since its here anyway -- if that makes sense.



 
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ScottChase
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« Reply #35 on: August 18, 2015, 10:32:47 am »

You know, I think the saddest part about all this is that there were a lot of good times, if you were in GCM, you had a built in group of friends, never alone, always someone to have fun with.... But it was so twisted, underneath all that was so much deception and manipulation..
I know what you mean, there are a lot of things that I miss and recently it has been the group of friends. I can go back and look at old photos that I have or on peoples facebooks page's and have good memories. The latter part thoguh is part of what seems to have damaged me, I can honestly say that I do not know how to make friends know and outside my wife there isn't really anyone that I see on even a monthly basis now, a lot of that stems from the experiences I had.


 "Yeah, most people did I think work at Universal Studios or Disney. That is what I mean by crappy jobs that were not particularly relevant to students future career goals. Unless someone thinks working low-pay, low-skill jobs at Universal Studios for an hourly rate is great experience for your future career?

They were working low-pay, low-skill jobs (i.e. food service type positions) at Universal and Disney. No one, for example, was working in some kind of top management position at Disney (i.e. scoring some killer high level competitive internship), etc -- if that makes sense. The majority were working the low-paying, low-skill jobs. It's possible that every LTer got a job at some point -- I can't remember. What I meant was this: you have a program that is, what?, three months long and I remember sitting and praying with people to get jobs at least a month into the program. Did they even end up getting full-time positions? I only know of one guy who got a decent job related to his future career (an internship at Lockheed Martin) but that wasn't because of LT, he had contacted them before he even came to Orlando and I think it might have been more about coming to Orlando for that then LT, he just happened to say, hey, I'll do LT too then since its here anyway -- if that makes sense."

As to that you are completly right, I remember speaking to my manager at Universal Studios and finding out that first I was making more at the job I left then they were making there and also that they were amazed that I left my job to come work down there. Fortunatly for me it turned out all right and I was able to get my old job back and still work in that field today. While I was down there I only vaguely remember hearing about the people praying fro jobs all summer long (I think some were even my friends) but between being busy and everything else that happened that summer it never really came to the forefront in my mind. Of course I also left only a month and a half into the program.....
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Primrose
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« Reply #36 on: November 10, 2015, 08:53:07 am »

I was so indoctrinated by the GCx mindset that I saw no problem with the LT program when I was a student. It wasn't until I had children of my own and witnessed my ex-church's "Blitz" summers that I gained a healthy perspective. I remember one family had a dozen guys living in their basement for a summer. Their unfinished basement with no
fire escape. Seriously I think they were sleeping on concrete floors. I was honestly concerned for their safety. Again I feel crazy that NO ONE thought this was a bad idea! I  just remember thinking that I would never, ever want this for my children. Yes I want them to love Jesus, but I also want them to be healthy and well-rounded! I did not want to raise them in the GCx bubble.
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jcrash27
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« Reply #37 on: November 11, 2015, 10:14:29 pm »

I was tempted to do Epicenter with Walnut Creek Downtown Church in Des Moines, but I didn't because I couldn't afford it, and I'm glad I couldn't. I think the worst thing is that they make you pay for that.
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Differentstrokes
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« Reply #38 on: April 11, 2016, 07:09:05 am »

I just remembered a trip we took to Denver a few years ago... We were doing renovations on the church there as well as passing out flyers for the church. Thinking back I cannot believe the dangerous situations they had people in! They had unskilled college students up on scaffolding up on the ceiling painting, and climbing on pipes to get hard to reach places, they had all the guys using power tools they had never touched before (as a tech theater student I had more experience then all of those guys, but I'm a girl so of course I wasn't allowed to do that). We were tearing out piles of fiberglass without goggles... I got fiberglass in my eyes, as well as paint and paint thinner, causing some mild but permanent damage to my eyes. We worked 12 hours a day, for no pay, actually we had to pay to
Go on this trip. When passing out flyers they dropped me and another girl off in an area of town that we didn't know, we didn't know Denver at all, and it was fairly sketchy. We had to walked around and pass out church flyers for four hours, in 90 degree heat, with no water(we each got one bottle but of course it ran out fast) I'm honestly surprised no one got hurt, when we needed to go to the bathroom we asked some guy if he knew where we could go, and he just invited us into his apartment, it was a cool apartment but.... Probably not the smartest choice. Idk, ultimately the trip was fun but looking back I can't believe some of the things we did on those trips
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Darkblue
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« Reply #39 on: April 20, 2016, 12:46:33 pm »

I remember the first time I ever heard of the summer "Blitz", I had a part time internship through the school year that I would be working Full time at over the summer. But the girls from church were all talking about how we were all going to live together and move around all summer and etc etc. All I could think about was how in the world am I going to dress professionally, make it to work every day showered if we would all be sharing a bathroom, and function on how much sleep I'd probably be getting. That was honestly the beginning of the end for me, because if you aren't going to be 100% involved at Candlewood you are a second class citizen. I'm actually glad it happened though, because it was straw that finally broke the camels back for me.
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