Regeneration’s Josh Glaser shares what he tells church leaders who want their church to develop a solid response to the issues of homosexuality and gay marriage.
- Organization providing help for individuals dealing with homosexuality and other issues for 35 years
- Churches directing individuals to the organization for support
- Concern about churches unintentionally sending the message of needing to be changed before being accepted
- Contradiction between this approach and the message of the gospel
- Church leaders seeking help in creating position statements on homosexuality
- Three categories churches should address: position, physiology, and practice
- Importance of a comprehensive position on what it means to be a human being
- Importance of passion, suffering, in dealing with difficult topics like homosexuality
- Inviting individuals into homes and families for support
- Motivation of caring being the love of Christ
- Hope for meaningful conversations and reflection among church leaders
- Offer of further support if needed
- Message being communicated as not Christlike
- Importance of pastoral communication and emphasizing acceptance
- Acknowledgment of personal differences but recognition of common struggles
- Importance of addressing insecurities and sin struggles
- Mention of passion category, but no elaboration.
Josh Glaser [00:00:04]:
From time to time I will get a call from a leader, pastor, elder at a church who’s looking for help coming up with a position statement or position paper on the topic of homosexuality or gay marriage. These are important topics to be sure, but I want to offer three categories that I think are really important for all churches to be working through and wrestling through if they want to give a good Christlike response to the topic of homosexuality in our day. The first is position. It’s very, very important that a church have a position, a very clear position on this topic. But I’d say the greatest pitfall that churches run into is they try to come up with a position just on homosexuality or just on gay marriage. What your church really needs is a position on what it means to be a human being. Coming up with a position paper on just one area is almost like trying to come up with for a doctor to come up with a position paper on sugar or on saturated fat, the doctor actually does a much greater service to the people in his or her care if they come up with a position. And they are clear about what healthy physiology is like, what a healthy diet entails, and in the same way for your congregation, a very clear position on what it means to be a human being, on issues of gender, marriage, singleness sex, desire, procreation, even.
Josh Glaser [00:01:15]:
This will serve you and the people in your congregation much more. The second is the area of pastoral care. For nearly 35 years it’s been really common for a lot of churches to send people who are dealing with homosexuality or their loved ones to regeneration for help. And we are here to do that. We’re here to help and we will continue to be there to help men and women who are dealing with these and many other issues. But one of the unintended, I think, consequences of that have been in some people’s churches that the message they’ve received from leaders in their church is you’re not like us, you’re actually kind of different from us and what you’re dealing with is very different from us. So if you just go over here to this specialized ministry and get the help you need, then you come back once you’re like us. Well, that’s not a gospel sounding message.
Josh Glaser [00:01:57]:
That’s not a Christlike message at all. We really want to communicate pastorally to those in our care is look, you belong here. You are with us. The temptations that you’re experiencing may not be temptations that I myself have experienced, but they’re common to man. And the roots of the temptations you’re dealing with are the same kinds of roots that I experience, the insecurities that you’re experiencing, the same types of insecurities that I experience. And your sin struggles have the same answers that my sin struggles have. So what’s your pastoral response and if you need help with that, regeneration would be happy to help you with that. The third category is the category of passion.
Josh Glaser [00:02:32]:
Here, I’m not speaking just of enthusiasm or excitement. I’m really speaking about passion, as in the passion of the Christ. Passion comes from the Latin word that is describing suffering. And the question for your congregation and for my congregation and for me and for you is how willing are we to suffer alongside, to walk alongside the heartaches, the difficulties, the challenges of men and women and their families who are dealing with this difficult, difficult topic? Are we willing to invite them to be a part of our homes, a part of our families, to not just send them off somewhere else for care, but to make them a part of our lives because we care for them with the love of Christ. And the love of Christ that was willing to suffer and die for all of those in your congregation, including those who are struggling with something like homosexuality. But I hope these three categories will launch you into some serious conversation and some good wrestling among your leadership and those in your care. Let us know if we can be more help. God bless you.