How do you reach out to and support those impacted by same-sex attraction?
As pastors, priests, and other ministers, you have numerous responsibilities in supporting your congregation. Coming alongside those who are impacted by same-sex attraction may not be a ministry opportunity you expected to have.
As a minister, three different groups of people you will likely encounter in your church are:
- those who have embraced a gay identity,
- those who seek to walk in obedience to God’s teachings on sexuality, and
- those who have been impacted by same-sex attraction in the life of a loved one.
The primary way you can support those dealing with same-sex attraction in your congregation is to point them to Jesus. Since we know it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4), and that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8), our primary concern for those impacted with same-sex attraction should be their spiritual health. Their place in the kingdom cannot be determined solely by looking at their behavior or their experience of same-sex attraction. Encourage those who are dealing with same-sex attraction to seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). For you, choose to trust God with their hearts. And trust that the Holy Spirit will guide you as you listen and ask questions.
For those who have a gay loved one, support them through prayer and through being available. Listen to their pain and confusion, and point them toward resources that will help answer some of the questions they have.
Alive in Christ offers support groups both for those dealing with same-sex attraction and those impacted by it in their families.
- Do I Still Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction? by Brenna Kate SimondsAn article written by our director concerning her personal experience and what healing and freedom look like
- Seven Things I Wish My Pastor Knew About My Homosexuality by Jean Lloyd
- How Can the Gospel Be Good News to Gays? by Sam Allberry
Books and Other Resources
- Helping People Step Out of Homosexuality by Frank Worthen
A workbook originally intended as a handbook for pastors, counselors and lay workers, this book gives 12 recovery steps (unrelated to AA’s 12 Steps) such as “the belief principle” (faith), submission to the divine will, and “displacement,” or replacing old, unhealthy, thoughts and behaviors with healthy new ones.
- Learning to Walk in Freedom by Brenna Kate Simonds
A discipleship guide addressing same-sex attraction and other life-controlling issues
- Lead Them Home is a ministry dedicated to reaching out to gay-identified individuals in the church. Bill Henson gives seminars entitled “Posture Shift: Enhancing Christian Care of LGBTQ Youth.”