Nehemiah Rebuilding Project

The Nehemiah Rebuilding Project is an eight day intensive for Christian ministers in the storm.

Day 1: Arrival, Check-in and Introductions

On the first day you will get situated in our lovely guest house and perhaps take a peaceful walk on the miles of groomed trails or sit down by the pond and look for wild life. You will also meet the director of Nehemiah Ministries, Jim Rose. Jim Rose has been an ordained minister since 1980. He grew up as a “PK” (preacher’s kid) so he has been around clergy all his life and knows the unique challenges of ministry life. He is also a licensed professional counselor with specialization in clergy care and stress issues. You will spend an hour or so together, Jim will listen to specifics of your situation and lay out the details of the Rebuilding Project. In his counseling Jim uses a six step process gleaned from his extensive biblical and psychological research. Using the biblical example of the storms on the Sea of Galilee, you will learn how to restore your grip, reveal your secrets and rename your failures in the ministry storms of your own life. You will take the Storm Tracker Assessment before Day 2.

Day 2: Losing Your Grip in the Storm of Danger

After a time of prayer and sharing, you will go over the Storm Tracker Assessment that you completed the day before. The purpose of this assessment is to chart the details of your particular storms of life and how they have affected you. You will learn the necessity of maintaining connections to secure attachments figures during times of stress and change and discuss what happens when you “lose your grip” in the storms. You will be introduced to the “Three Greatest Storms of Life”–Danger, Pain and Failure and discuss how they have affected you. Your counselor will have a personalized assignment for you to complete before the next session, depending on specifics of your situation.

Day 3: Hiding Your Secrets in the Storm

After a time of prayer and sharing and a discussion of the assignment from the previous session, you will learn how clergy are at risk for spiritual, psychological and even physical afflictions because of the unique demands of their job. Ministers are among the most isolated and lonely people in the community. And in the midst of helping others in the community handle storms of danger, pain and failure, ministers are not always good at handling their own. They feel as though they must hide their secret struggles because they are supposed to be the “experts.” However, hiding secrets puts them at great risk for developing a “secret life.” It can take many shapes—from secret anger and bitterness to various self-destructive behaviors.

Day 4: Naming Your Failures in the Storm

The more ministers lose their grip and hide their secret struggles, the more they feel as though they are failing. On Day 4 you will learn the significance of how we “name” our storms. Practically, you will discuss the way you talk about your inner struggles (self-talk) and how that affects your mental, emotional and spiritual health and that of your family. By this time you and your counselor will have done a lot of work in uncovering and charting the specific challenges in your life. This phase of the program is designed to heighten your awareness of your needs. The next phase will equip you with the skills necessary to face the challenges as you go forward.

Day 5: Restoring Your Grip in the Storm

Day 5 begins the second phase of your Rebuilding Project. After a time of sharing with your counselor, you will learn how to Restore Your Grip in the storm, instead of losing it. As important as human connections and secure attachment figures are, the most important “grip” is with God himself. You will discuss specifics of your own relationship to God with special attention to disappointments and doubts you’ve had. The biblical term for this is “Reconciliation.” You will learn that even more important than your grip on God is his grip on you.

Day 6: Revealing Your Secrets in the Storm

Despite their public profile, many ministers are lonely and isolated from significant relationships and maintain a level of secrecy about their personal pain. On Day 6 you will learn the importance of Revealing Your Secrets in appropriate ways. The biblical term for this is “Confession.” You will learn that biblical confession is a two-sided coin. There is the “negative” side—revealing the details of our failures and disappointments (sins). We must learn to confess our sins one to another so that we can experience healing. But there is also a “positive” side to confession in which we affirm truths and beliefs–”confess Jesus as Lord.” Practically, we will learn how gratitude is a powerful tool for ministers in accomplishing both sides of confession.

Day 7: Renaming Your Failures in the Storm

During the seventh day of your Rebuilding Project you will learn how the way you’ve discussed and “named” the storms and conflicts in your life have not only expressed your beliefs but those names have actually shaped and directed your future responses. This is where you will learn to talk about those failures differently. The psychological term for this is “cognitive reframing” and it’s a powerful tool for managing the storms of life. The Bible doesn’t use this term but it does teach us about “repentance” and in this session you will learn practical ways to live a life of repentance.

Day 8: Next Steps

The final day of your project will begin with another time of prayer and sharing with your counselor, followed by any remaining details from the week.

Details of Your Visit

  • Confidentiality: Nehemiah Ministries Director, Jim Rose, is both a clergy care specialist and professional licensed counselor in the State of Michigan. The confidentiality of your session is legally as well as professionally guaranteed. The only items not covered under confidentiality guarantees are certain illegal or self-destructive behaviors (such as suicidal thoughts) which must be reported to appropriate authorities. If you have any concerns about the confidentiality arrangement feel free to ask.
  • Schedule: Because we provide respite services to ministers year around at our Mid-Michigan facility, we are only able to offer the Nehemiah Rebuilding Project at certain times of the year depending on availability. You will need to contact us to determine when this is. The schedule is variable. Note that we have set aside a minimum of eight days for this experience. We recommend that guests plan on at least ten days total. The two additional days are a time for reflection and rest and travel.
  • Counseling Sessions: You will meet for approximately one hour each day with licensed counselor and ministry director, Jim Rose. These sessions will be conducted at a mutually agreed upon time, at the Nehemiah Ministries office located in the town of Owosso (directions will be given at orientation). Generally there will be assignments given at sessions and you will be expected to complete them before the next session.
  • Costs: Because of the generous support of our donors, Nehemiah Ministries is able to provide the Rebuilding Project at dramatically reduced cost from many comparable experiences in other facilities. We request a donation of $500 to cover your portion of these expenses. Special scholarships may be available in some cases.

Please note: We do not provide meals or food for this service so you will be responsible for that yourself. There is a full kitchen, refrigerator, stove, microwave and dishwasher in the guest house. Of course you can also eat at area restaurants if you desire.

For questions or to check into availability of a Nehemiah Rebuilding Project, please contact us!

Download a pdf version of this syllabus.