Glenn & Michelle Robertson: Pastoring & All That Jazz

Glenn & Michelle Robertson: Pastoring & All That Jazz
Meet the Muso & his Muse

Glenn is 48 and has been married to Michelle for 24 years. They have 2 daughters and the family lives in Rondebosch, Cape Town.
They met at Michelle’s 13th birthday party where she says Glenn was chatting up her best friend!
Glenn states Jonathan Butler as his favourite Gospel artist, with Tommy Saaidon’s version of the song, ‘Ordinary People’, as his top tune
Michelle relaxes by reading and gardening and is inspired by Mother Theresa
Glenn is currently reading ‘More Jesus, Less Religion’ by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton

How did you come to Christ?   
Michelle: My sister and friends had been praying for Glenn and I for years – seemingly to no avail. But as we all know, the Lord has His own schedule. I had been terribly dissatisfied with the lifestyle that came with a husband singing in clubs and accepted the invitation to join a singing group at the Methodist church. I thought that it might alleviate the frustration I was experiencing. I was asked to sing a song called ‘King of my Life’. It was an unashamed proclamation of the Lordship of Christ in one’s life and heart. I felt the deepest conviction that I wasn’t qualified to sing the song. I knew that He was not King of my life. The Holy Spirit was so gentle with me and the next day I stood in the passage at home and said, “God, you really do seem to want all of my life. Take all of me, but if you do, you will have to dissuade Glenn from his present lifestyle if it’s Your Will. If you are happy with it, I’ll submit to it because you are God.” Two weeks later, Glenn had his own encounter with the Holy Spirit and our lives were never the same again!
Glenn: From a young age, the music bug bit and after matric, I started acting in a Drama Group. During our breaks from acting, Onyx Phillips (pianist) and I met backstage around a beautiful black grand piano and I would sing whilst he played. That was the birthing of my first band and many other bands to follow.
I had been playing music and singing jazz since I was 17 years old and my apprenticeship as a jazz musician was under the brilliant ears and eyes of my good friend, Trevor Ray Parker. Michelle would always ask me if Jesus had to come for me, would I be able to safely say that I was serving Him? I would always just shrug and laugh it off. I had this belief that if God was unhappy with what I was doing, He would simply take away my ability to sing! He didn’t, so I assumed He was ok with it! What arrogance!
One Saturday afternoon at the Galaxy Night Club, I was on my way to the bar when a drunken woman stumbled across my path, cursing at the barman. In that moment, I stopped in my tracks as Michelle’s words came to me and I imagined Jesus walking through the door to meet me.  I looked at everything around me and for the first time saw sin for what it was.  I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was not where He wanted me to be. I walked back to the stage and joined the band in song but as I got there, I felt someone looking at me…
I saw Michelle smiling at me. Puzzled, I asked why she’d come. She replied simply, “I’ve come to collect you.” Without hesitation, I started packing up my equipment…whilst the band was playing! The band members did not understand why I behaved so strangely – I have subsequently explained to them my reasons. I was compelled to leave the band as God had a plan and a purpose for me and I needed to be obedient to His voice.
Later, at Bible school, 1 Cor 7:14 came alive to me: “The believing wife sanctifies the unbelieving husband.” Her prayers and faith had set me apart for Christ to work in my life! My sister- in-law Tania’s prayers had been answered after almost nine years. Hallelujah!
What prompted a move from jazz to pastoring?
Glenn: I was approached by a local gospel band, Davahu, to join as singer and percussionist. That was the start of my Music Ministry. After coming to Christ, I attended His People Bible School and a couple of years later started leading praise and worship in the church band. In 1994, I accepted the position as Music and Creative Arts Pastor for His People Christian Church. At one point in the ministry we had 13 bands ministering at church services around Cape Town! I spent some of the best years of my life there, met some of the most amazing people and, to this day, I still have good relationships with many of the leaders.
Looking at your website, it is clear that you have a creative, laid-back approach to ministry.
Glenn: I believe that each person is programmed to express an aspect of the nature of God. He is a multi-faceted and colourful God. Just when we think we’ve got the handle on what He’s like, I’m sure He takes great delight in showing us something new! God expects us to steward what He has blessed us with and to be faithful with it. I happen to be a musician and a pastor, so I believe I’m simply tapping into the resources that He has given me.

How is Kaleidoscope different from the average church? 
Glenn: We host a bi-monthly music, arts and culture evening at the Nassau Auditorium. My jazz band is the resident band, so we determine the environment and then we have various guests complementing the evening. We have also created a platform for artists to exhibit their work in the foyer while people mingle before the bands play. The majority of the people who come to these evenings are generally the kind of people who would never set foot in a religious church setting. I realise that this is not your conventional outreach programme but as I’ve said before, “Each individual is unique, therefore each calling is unique.” Can you imagine what the body of Christ could accomplish through Him if we just took the courage to hop out of the little comfort boxes we allow ourselves to be wrapped up in? There is a huge, lost world out there. Jesus was moved by compassion and He came to seek and save the lost.
What I’m discovering is that when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He says that He will give us the desires of our hearts. I have always loved music and I truly believe that He has graciously afforded me the opportunity to express His love for people through what He has gifted me to do!

A ‘pastors wife’ often comes under much scrutiny. What is your advice to other women in ministry who feel like they are under the microscope?
Michelle: Jesus said, “My yolk is easy and my burden is light.” I guess that’s the cue I take in order to enjoy who and what I believe I’m called to. It’s true that you can never please all of the people all of the time, but I believe that if I’ve found favour with my Father, then that alone should settle it. I have seen some people in ministry ‘perform’ in order to keep the people happy and it works for a while, but this cannot be sustained. To other women who may find that they are under a ‘ministry microscope’, I would say that you cannot be someone other than who you have been created to be. God has wired you uniquely and by trying to be like anyone else or trying to fulfil other people’s expectations of a ‘pastor’s wife’, you’re robbing the body of Christ of what God wants to do through you. We need to remember that it was for freedom that Christ came to set us free!
Sometimes Christian couples in ministry have thriving churches, but their home life is a shambles. Why do you think this is? 
Michelle: I don’t believe that anyone going into ministry intends to live a farcical life. I think that most people start out with the best intentions, doing as much as they can for God, but begin to lose sight of the fact that it’s only His grace that enables us to do whatever He’s called us to do, anyway. I also believe that too many families in ministry are expected to portray the picture of perfection. We’re not designed to bear that kind of burden. A lot of the time there are unrealistic expectations from congregants. Everyone has their opinions about how church should be done, how it should be run, how the pastor should relate to individuals, the preaching content, the worship and even the measure of anointing present. The list goes on forever and I suppose someone reading this might think that this is no big deal, but when healthy boundaries have not been established in the couple’s life, then this kind of constant pressure can be terribly destructive. It’s like a pressure cooker without release. The public picture seems close to perfect and the private one is in a shambles. Ministry couples either succumb to this or choose to protect the God-given space available to them. God requires us to worship Him in spirit and truth. Pretence is a killer!
How do you and Glenn guard against this?
Michelle: I could present you with a plan of how we’ve resolved never to fall into the trap others have fallen into, but our humanity renders us fragile most times. All of us have different weaknesses that plague us from time to time so a word that comes to mind is Grace. I don’t know where we’d be without it! In 2 Cor 12:9 the Lord reminds Paul that His grace would be sufficient for him and that His strength is made perfect in weakness.  As we continue on this incredible journey of faith, I want to say like Paul, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Here’s to Grace…and, may I add… the fierce protection of God-given spaces!

12 Marriage Killers

12 Marriage Killers
My advice to young couples is simply this: Don’t permit the possibility of divorce to enter your thinking. Even in moments of great conflict and discouragement, divorce is no solution. It merely substitutes a new set of miseries for the ones left behind.
Guard your relationship against erosion as though you were defending your very lives. Yes, you can make it together. Not only can you survive, but you can keep your love alive if you give it priority in your system of values. Any one of the following evils can rip your relationship to shreds if given a place in your lives:
Over-commitment and physical exhaustion
This condition is especially insidious for young couples who are trying to get started in a profession or are studying. Do not try to study, work full-time, have a baby, manage a toddler, fix up a house and start a business at the same time. It sounds ridiculous, but many young couples do just that and are then surprised when their marriages fall apart. The only time they see each other is when they are worn out!
There are two kinds of people in the world, the givers and the takers. A marriage between two givers can be a beautiful thing.  Friction is inevitable for a giver and a taker. But two takers can claw each other to pieces within a period of weeks
Unhealthy relationships with in-laws
If either the husband or wife have not been fully emancipated from the parents, it is best not to live near them. Autonomy is difficult for some mothers and fathers to grant.
Unrealistic expectations
Some couples come into marriage anticipating rose-covered cottages, walks down primrose lanes and unmitigated joy. There is no way a marriage between two imperfect human beings can deliver on that expectation. Wives must not expect more from their husbands than they are capable of providing.
Space invaders
My concern is for those who violate the ‘breathing room’ needed by their partners, quickly suffocating them and destroying the attraction between them. Jealousy is one way the phenomenon manifests itself. Another is a poor self-concept which leads the insecure spouse to build a cage around the other. It often suffocates the relationship. Love must be free and it must be confident.
Excessive credit and conflict over how money will be spent
Pay cash for consumable items, or don’t buy. Don’t spend more on a house or a car than you can afford, leaving too little resources for dating, short trips, baby-sitters, etc. Allocate your funds with wisdom.
Sexual frustration and its partner, the greener grass of infidelity
It is a deadly combination!
Business collapse
Failure in work does bad things to men especially. Their agitation over financial reverses sometimes sublimates to anger within the family.»
Business success
It is almost as risky to succeed wildly as it is to fail miserably in business. King Solomon wrote: “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” Prov 30:8. It’s true.
Getting married too young
Girls who marry between fourteen and seventeen years of age are more than twice as likely to divorce as those who marry at eighteen or nineteen years of age. Those who marry at eighteen or nineteen are 1.5 times as likely to divorce as those who marry in their twenties. The pressures of adolescence and the stresses of early married life do not mix well. Finish the first before taking on the second.
Alcohol &  substance abuse
These are notorious killers, not only of marriages but also of the people who indulge excessively. It has been said that upwards of a third of all Americans and Canadians are close family members of an alcoholic.
Pornography, gambling & other addictions
It should be obvious to everyone that the human personality is flawed. During an introductory stage, people think they can tamper with various enticements, such as pornography, gambling, hard drugs, etc., without being hurt. Indeed, many do walk away unaffected. For some, however, there is a weakness and vulnerability that is unknown until too late. Such people then become addicted to something that tears at the fabric of the family. This warning may seem foolish and even prudish to my readers, but I’ve made a twenty-year study of those who wreck their lives. Their problems often began in experimentation with a known vice and ultimately ended in death . . . or the death of a marriage.
Marriage needs determination
These are the marriage killers I’ve seen most often. But in truth, the list is virtually limitless. All that is needed to grow the most vigorous weeds is a small crack in your sidewalk. If you are going to beat the odds and maintain an intimate long-term marriage, you must take the task seriously. 
The natural order of things will carry you away from one another, not bring you together. How will you beat the odds? How will you build a solid relationship that will last until death takes you across the great divide? How will you include yourselves among that dwindling number of older couples who have garnered a lifetime of happy memories and experiences? Even after 50 or 60 years, they still look to one another for encouragement and understanding.
Their children have grown up in a stable and loving environment and have no ugly scars or bitter memories to erase. Their grandchildren need not be told, delicately, why “Nana and Papa don’t live together anymore.” Only love prevails.
That is the way God intended it to be, and it is still possible for you to achieve. But there is no time to lose. Reinforce the river banks. Brace up the bulwarks. Bring in the dredges and deepen the bed. Keep the powerful currents in their proper channels. Only that measure of determination will preserve the love with which you began, and there is very little in life that competes with that priority.

Is The Church Speaking The Language of Babylon?

Is The Church Speaking The Language of Babylon?
Somebody once commented that the Church has almost become indistinguishable from the world. In many cases this is true. The very essence of the Ecclesia, ‘The called out ones’, is that we should be distinct in our conduct, speech and philosophy of life. In many areas the Church simply mimics the world by developing ‘Christian’ versions of music, plays, or television shows. However, the Church of Jesus Christ is an original institution with its blueprint in Heaven and it was birthed in the earth to bring spiritual and physical transformation to mankind. Essentially the Church was birthed by Christ in the world to “make all things new” and not to borrow from the world system.
Sounding like the World
Why then do we hear Christians speaking like the world? The jury is still out on whether the Church is maintaining or increasing its influence in the world or whether the world has taken the upper hand by increasing its influence in the Church. Take Archbishop Desmond Tutu for example. Most people are unsure if Tutu speaks for the Church or for the world system that the Church was sent to transform. Tutu speaks the language of Babylon but dresses it up in religious garb. He has repeatedly rubbished Biblical concepts like spiritual rebirth, salvation in Christ alone, repentance from sin and the consequence of sin. In fact, Tutu used the term ‘homophobic’ – a word coined by radical homosexual activists to condemn those who disagree with their lifestyles – to threaten the God of Heaven. Tutu reportedly said in his condemnation of the Anglican Church that he would not serve a God that is ‘homophobic’. To be sure, the God of the Bible condemns the sin of homosexuality just like He condemns all sin. That then, according to homosexual activists and Tutu, makes the God of the Bible a ‘homophobe’. This means, that if our God does not repent of His condemnation of the sin of homosexuality, the great Archbishop, the darling of the world media, will not serve Him any longer.
Allowing deception
During my stay in the USA, I was amazed at the deception of the Church. Following Al Gore’s erroneous warnings about climate change and the humanistic frenzy that has gripped Hollywood to fight global warming and ‘save the planet’, a church in Orlando Florida has abandoned its mandate to evangelise the world, and has joined the latest liberal craze to save the planet. Directly after the Sunday service the congregation, led by their pastor, scours the surrounding community’s garbage bins, separating glass from plastic etc, for recycling purposes. Saving the planet or ‘Mother Earth’ is a key tenet of New Age philosophy and is the religion of Hollywood. The pastor of this church is a frequent guest on the American news media and is often commended for his ‘progressive’ stance. However, when a church redirects its focus to saving the planet rather than saving souls, then not only has the language of Babylon infiltrated the sanctuary, but its philosophy as well.
Tolerating sin
It is no different in South Africa. Secular humanists, New Age philosophers and homosexual activists have all developed a deceptive language that, on the face of it, sounds benign and innocuous. Tragically however, Christians have bought into this deceptive language wholesale. Babylonian terms like gay, homophobic, tolerance, celebrating our diversity, holistic, interfaith, common humanity, positive energy, peace gardens, hate crimes, human rights, etc all conspire to undermine and refute Biblical commands and principles. The term ‘gay’ was coined in the seventies by homosexual activist whose chief aim it was to gain social acceptance for their sexually deviant behaviour. More recently, tolerance was touted by the liberal secular media as the most important virtue one could exhibit. However, what the humanist and homosexual activists are trying to convey by their hysterical demands for tolerance, is quite different to the Christians understanding of the term. Herein lies the deception of the language of Babylon. When the humanists and their allies demand tolerance what they are actually demanding is that we tolerate sin, all manner of sin. We may not agree with the sin, but we have to tolerate it, because as they claim it is their human right. The only problem with this concept is that nowhere in the Bible does God command us to tolerate people. That is why I was alarmed to see the word appear in several Christian documents. Significantly, however, we are called to love people. Unfortunately for the humanist, love and truth are interchangeable. God commands us to love people and love commands us to tell them the truth about their sinful lifestyles, not to tolerate these lifestyles.
‘Alternate’ lifestyles
 Celebrating our diversity is another term popping up in Church circles. Again, there is nothing sinister about celebrating our diversity unless we know why the humanists and their cheerleaders in the liberal media have consistently promoted this idea. Celebrating diversity in Babylonian speech not only acknowledges ethnic and cultural diversity but sexual diversity as well. Homosexual activists argue that ‘alternative’ lifestyles like homosexuality, lesbianism, transgender and non-determined gender identity (whatever that means) are all worthy of equal acceptance within our common humanity along with the immutable characteristics of race, skin colour and ethnicity.  Celebrating our diversity then becomes a self-indulgent, sexually depraved acceptance of every kind of licentious and deviant behaviour under the banner of an all inclusive ‘common humanity’. Nowhere in the Bible does God command us to celebrate our diversity. He does, however, instruct us to “love your neighbour as yourself”. As a consequence, celebrating our neighbour’s sinful lifestyle in all its depraved diversity is not Scriptural for the simple reason that if their lifestyle is not acceptable to us, it should not be acceptable for them.       
Exclusive Christianity
Interfaith is another concept that sounds inclusive and unifying. Most government initiatives demand interfaith services or prayer events. The prevailing philosophy is that all faiths are of equal standing and therefore deserve equal exposure. As a result, Christian ministers are often seen officiating at events with sangomas and witchdoctors. Remarkably, the language of Babylon in its most subtle form has deceived many in the Church into believing that the Christian concept of religious freedoms and respect for others to observe their faith, is the same thing as religious equality. Christianity is essentially a faith in the Person of Jesus Christ for eternal salvation and is the only way to God the Father. This theological fact sets it apart from all other religions in that we do not have to work our way to heaven through good deeds. It is therefore very different from other religions. Consequently, no earthly representative of Jesus Christ has the authority or Biblical mandate to equate Him with other religious figures. Jesus Christ stands alone. He is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”. Any representative of the Church who misrepresents the Son of God at an interfaith event is therefore not inclusive or unifying, he is quite simply fraudulent. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus, or the prophecies that precede Him, describe Him as “one of the ways to heaven”.  As a result, there is no such thing as ‘interfaith’, there is only faith in Jesus Christ.      
Biblically  correct

So why is the Church of Jesus Christ adopting the language and philosophy of Babylon? The simple answer is political correctness or PC. Many Church leaders go to great lengths to appear culturally relevant in our increasingly humanistic society. We want to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ but we don’t want to offend anybody. So in our striving to appear politically correct, we abandon our core responsibility to be Biblically Correct. The wonderful reality about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that it will always be offensive to those who reject God’s offer of redemption. There is no PC way of telling a person lost in his sins that he is destined for hell and needs to repent of his sins and be born again. So we adopt Babylonian speech in the hope that we sound PC. The problem is that PC is not BC. When we trade our faithfulness and loyalty to the Scriptures for Babylonian speech to appear culturally relevant or politically correct, we invariably dilute the Gospel and its message of salvation. The point of the Church in the world is that the world begins to sound like the Church and not the other way round.

Mobile Church Culture

Mobile Church Culture
Amobile church culture, which appears to be strongest in the major cities, is worrying some church leaders around New Zealand. Since the 1960s, and particularly with the advent of the charismatic renewal which broke down many denominational barriers, there have always been people variously described as ‘spiritual gypsies’ or ‘spiritual butterflies’, who float to whichever church is the flavour of the month.  
Growing consumerism in the wider world appears to be widespread in the church also, abetted by modern technology which emphasises the successful. Through such means as cellphone texting, people can make last-minute group decisions about where to attend on a given Sunday, much as they chose the previous night’s party.   The Baptist Union national leader, Rodney Macann, says this is an insidious situation.  “It’s a huge one. It’s one that we are going to attempt to confront at our coming Baptist assembly,” he said.  He believes part of the problem is that churches are putting a lot of effort into trying to outdo each other to produce the most attractive services.  
Floating population
“Unquestionably we have to be very culturally aware and know how to connect with the context we find ourselves in. But there’s a fine line sometimes between connecting with the culture and selling out your values without realising it. I think this has tended to happen.  
Particularly in the evangelical and charismatic churches these days, people are looking for the next best thing in worship, and it’s a complete misunderstanding of what true worship is.”  Church leaders spoken to by Challenge Weekly, generally agreed that most of the floating population was made up of young people, but not all.  
The youth pastor at Manukau New Life, Stephen Miller, says churches are sometimes the culprits. “A senior pastor sends his youth off to the latest youth conference on the other side of town, and this conference has a big speaker, lots of bands and lights. They build relationships there, and then they want to head off to that new vision they have of church, where it’s perceived to be really happening. All of a sudden a church empties out its entire youth ministry.”  
Mr Miller said he gets notice of dozens of different kinds of events through the mail.
 “I just don’t tell my youth about 95 per cent of them. I’ll only take them to ones that are fitting in with the DNA of what we are trying to build in our church,” he said.  
Pastor Tak Bhana, of West City Christian Centre, said the moving population could harm churches greatly. In a recent newsletter he wrote: “I heard about an overseas pastor who started a church. He had such a great ministry that churches all around that city emptied out. One church apparently went from 1700 down to 300 people within the space of a week.”
Not New Testament discipleship
Mr Bhana said although he had pastored a church in West Auckland for almost 19 years, and the church had grown, “if I was to be ruthlessly honest I would have to admit there are hardly any more Christians in West Auckland today than when I started. I believe this same scenario is being played out in many parts of our nation. We have learned to build churches but we’re not being effective at reaching our communities for Christ.  The end result is that the percentage of Christians in this nation has remained unchanged for the last 50 years, and if we continue ‘doing’ church as we do it today, a lot of us may go to our graves having built churches but having failed to impact our nation.”
Rodney Macann agrees that the church overall is not growing:  “The churches that can provide the most attractive programmes are doing very well and those that are not as well resourced don’t do so well. It’s producing something that, as I understand it, is not New Testament discipleship.”  
A transient generation
There are multiple reasons for the mobile church population. Some point to the culture of choice and the post-modern mindset. Stephen Miller calls 14-30 year-olds the “transient generation” who are used to big crowds.  
“You definitely get, too, the people who don’t like what they’re hearing when someone starts bringing a bit of discipline or correction, so they bail out,” he said.  
Rasik Ranchord, pastor of Abundant Life Centre, Wellington, lamented that people liked to keep all their options open, to have a backdoor.  
“Often there is a lack of commitment. That word is not liked in the world, and it’s filtering into the church, too. How can you have a strong relationship without some degree of commitment? They need to stick around to be useful.”
Not everyone agrees that there is a significant problem. The Elim Church’s national leader, Luke Brough, said while the floating group used to be a joke among ministers 20 years ago, he doesn’t hear it so much today.  
Church commitment
“We certainly don’t experience that to any level. We would have more leave because they are migrating to Australia, or back to Asia,” he said.  Leanne Mortlock, a pastor at City Impact Church, Browns Bay, said it was not a problem because their church has a strong culture of “get planted – get involved in what we are doing”. It has a lot of momentum.
“We preach a lot about getting committed to the church. If we have guest speakers, we say, ‘If you are visiting from another church we would rather you were at your own church’.
We do get a percentage of people visiting and not staying, but we have a high rate of retention. For people who go through our newcomers’ courses, our rate of retention is about 94 per cent.
There can also be many valid reasons for people to move churches. The pastor of Grace Vineyard in Christchurch, David McGregor, said a lot of people check out their church for a period of time and then move on. The night service in particular attracts a lot of young people whose churches don’t have youth groups or night services.
“Adults come looking for a set of criteria – they want their children’s needs met, they want a good youth group and they want the worship to be good. People move for a variety of reasons. Some are on transfer, some have not been part of church for a long time, some are new to church, some are changing from one type of church to another, for example from Catholic to Protestant.   But it’s a ‘sad fad’ when people believe they shouldn’t belong to any church,” he said.
“Some say, ‘I’m just part of the whole body’. By doing that, they don’t have accountability or commitment, or use their gifts in any particular place. It’s sad for them and it’s sad for the church.”
Building relationships
There are many obvious downsides to a rootless population. As one pastor pointed out, “At the time when these guys could be of most use in the church they are saying, ‘What can I get for me?’ Often they fall off the wagon when the first issue comes up. God is gracious and certainly provides a level of teaching in the places they go, but the relationships are not there when the chips are down, and they end up trucking out.”
Rodney Macann said there might be a key, though. “Everything we are hearing from churches that seem to be doing well with young adults, is that deep down they want to be challenged. Churches that are willing to embrace a very holistic view of the faith – which encompasses social justice and reaching true servanthood – are getting a response from young adults today.”
Mr Ranchord believes part of the solution is to stop preaching a watered-down Gospel. “We have made it so easy – ‘Come to Jesus and He’ll give you this or that’.  It’s a form of consumerism. The upfront cost of being a disciple is missing. We have made the threshold so low to get the maximum number of people. Then you have to give them lots of Christian lollypops to keep them going. When we preach ‘what can God do to fulfil my dreams?’ we just buy into the culture of the world.”