Here is Part 2 of my conversation with Pastor Joshua Gagnon on his Leadership Podcast (click here for Part 1).
I think it is a great and meaty conversation about LGBT issues and the church — and especially as it relates to churches that hold more traditional views on LGBT issues and how they can become welcoming and safe places for LGBT seekers, believers, etc. And also for LGBT Christians who are attending non-affirming churches.
Taken from the “Episode Notes” on Josh’s website, here are some challenges for churches and some quotations from the show.
4 Things We As Church Leaders Should Be Doing:
- Create a place where homosexuals can feel safe and respected. NLC provided this for Ben. He admits that he did not agree on everything, but what he did agree on was NLC’s commitment to making Jesus a priority and making Him known to everyone.
- Be bold about what we believe. Ben stated that he doesn’t want church leaders to be fake; they should be upfront and lay everything out on the table so that no one is left guessing what their church believes. Ben also expressed that hearing where a church stands on [homosexuality]—in love—is more helpful and honorable to him than pretending that they don’t have a stance at all.
- Surrender our agendas. Create a space for people, no matter what their background or issues. Ben believes that, for the most part, the church is pretty good at this in every other area but with gay people. We should take what we learned about dealing with people who face addictions and other struggles and apply it to this issue.
- Engage in these kinds of conversations. We need to be able to sit down and talk honestly as brothers and sisters in Christ, for the sake of those who don’t know Christ yet. There will be situations when we encounter this issue on many different levels. Will our mission be to exalt the name of Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to do a work in each of us, or otherwise?
Quotes From This Episode:
- “Most gay Christians I know want to be seen as real and whole people with a whole set of issues, the least of which is their sexuality.” – @bendubow
- “I don’t need a place where we agree on everything. I need a place where it’s safe to be real and take my mask off.” – @bendubow
- “We’re not going to agree on everything, and we don’t have to agree on everything to respect one another and honor one another.” – @joshgagnon
- “We need to surrender our agendas and be okay with the messiness of peoples’ lives.” – @bendubow
- “You have to ask yourself, how many people that are gay would be following Jesus today if the church didn’t shut Jesus off simply because they were gay?” – @joshgagnon
- “The goal is to create a safe place to encounter Jesus and let the Holy Spirit do the work in each of us.” – @bendubow
- “The more we focus on the Jesus that loves us in spite of us, the more we can offer that Jesus to others.” – @joshgagnon
After you have listened to it, let me know your thoughts or questions.