Do We Truly Care Enough?

One man’s redemption from an LGBTQ identity highlights the impact of relationships based on grace and truth for gospel ministry.

Have you ever wondered why you don’t see many LGBTQ-identifying people coming to Christ?  

Or do you know the answer to that question, but don’t know what to do about it? 

Do you know someone in the LGBTQ community who expresses that they have been hurt by the church?  

Are you surprised to hear that, in a 2022 Gallup poll, 7 percent of all Americans say they identify as L, G, B, T, or Q, or that 21 percent of Gen Z’ers identify within the acronym LGBTQ?  

Have you heard that 86 percent of LGBTQ individuals say that they were raised in a faith community? 

Have you been personally impacted by someone close to you who now identifies along the acronym?  

You’ve probably heard the twisting of Scripture by some who want to justify an LGBTQ identity as being within the plan and design of God. You’ve undoubtedly heard the declaration that goes something like this: “I was born gay (or lesbian, or bisexual, or transgender), so if God made me this way, how could he condemn me for it?”

And, quite possibly, you’ve tried to share your faith with an LGBTQ individual, only to be met with rejection or even hostility.  

Perhaps this quenches your willingness to share the gospel with unbelieving LGBTQ individuals. You are not alone! It is easy to get caught up in the cultural narrative that seems to fly in the face of biblical truth. And it is easy to build resentment toward people because of this cultural narrative, assigning beliefs to individuals before meeting them personally.   

My Story

I get it. I was the person who accepted Christ at 14, was called to ministry at 16, and served as a youth pastor and leader of a Baptist campus ministry in college—all while carrying a secret shame of same-sex attraction.   

I was the person who walked away from the church at 21 to pursue what I had come to believe was my identity: a gay identity.  

I was the person who tried to interpret Scripture to support my sin, and when that didn’t work, began to push Christians away, lashing out at them, blaming them for my guilty feelings, and eventually claiming not to believe Scripture.  

I developed a hard heart towards all things Christian and lived as I pleased. Any attempt to talk to me about spiritual things was met with harsh rejection. I couldn’t stand to hear anything that did not support my gay self-identity.  

To many Christians, I was unreachable. They gave up trying.  

Except for one family. A family who learned how to show me that they cared about me as a person, even if I didn’t share their Christian worldview. A family who included me in gatherings and demonstrated that they valued me as a person. This was my partner’s family.  

And, because of them, I returned my heart to the Lord, repenting, asking forgiveness, and surrendering the false identity I had lived. Because of these relationships built on grace and truth, I opened my heart to the work of the Holy Spirit.  

I am now an ordained minister, a husband to an amazing, godly woman, and a full-time missionary who no longer experiences same-sex attraction. It was quite the journey to freedom, but the same Christians who led me to the cross walked with me, discipled me, challenged me, and encouraged me.  

“This is one story,” you might say. “The LGBTQ person in my life is bitter.”  

I was too.  

“The LGBTQ person in my world refuses to hear me when I share my faith or try to share the gospel.”  

I refused to listen to gospel presentations—over and over again.  

What was the turning point? Relationship.  

I became willing to open my mind and heart to the truth through a relationship with a couple of Christians who didn’t insist that I listen to their faith message. A relationship that allowed me to talk, to share my beliefs and discuss my concerns about Christianity without fear of reprimand. A relationship that, over time, became strong enough to bear the weight of gospel truth.  

Developing Grace and Truth Relationships

I share my story because I realize that the church seems to be at a loss as to how to reach LGBTQ individuals. Thanks to the grace of God, I can help. My team can help.  

I mentioned that I am a missionary serving with EveryEthne. I began my journey with them when I was asked to help develop a seminar called Heart, Mind, and Soul: LGBTQ. This seminar is designed to equip the average church member to build grace and truth relationships with an unbelieving LGBTQ person. It is practical and, of course, biblical. It is not about equipping the church to reach a community, but about equipping individuals within the church to reach individuals within a community.

My story is not as unusual as you might think. As the church mobilizes its people, folks come to Christ. It’s that simple. We just have to care enough to be equipped!  

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”  (Romans 10:14-15)

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on the ABWE EveryEthne blog on May 20, 2024.