It seems that the Church has such a hard time reaching out to the gay community. There are a lot of reasons. While the Church has got better over the past few years, there is still A LOT of room for growth. Especially as hostility arises towards anyone who does not agree that homosexuality is a godly lifestyle. Churches has even stopped their support of ministries that reach out to the gay community because the churches are afraid of persecution. Actually, I wouldn’t even call it persecution. They are afraid of the world hating them. Well isn’t that what Christ said would happen? Of course! He said that we would “be hated by all for [His] name’s sake.” We need to show love to the gay community and evangelize to them as Christ would. I understand that many do not even know how to talk to people of the gay community about Christ or anything. You do not need to have struggled with same-sex attractions to relate with them. In some way, you are probably a more powerful tool to the gay community because you never struggled with it. The reason is that many in the gay community hate those who have come out of the lifestyle. They think of us as “brainwashed,” “bigots,” and “enemies.” Those labels are not put as harshly on Christians who have never struggled with the attractions.
So I wanted to give some advice from personal experience onevangelizing to the gay community. There are certain things you need to remember, understand, and implement when talking with the people of the gay community. Many of these things apply to encounters with almost all nonChristians. First of all, you need to remember that…
- they have fallen short of God’s glory just like all of us. They are not worse sinners because they deal with homosexuality. We were in the same boat as them before we were saved by Christ. Do not think of them as being completely different from the rest of the world. Instead, think of them as a section of the world. Show them that you do not think of them as any different from any one else. This will make a greater impact on them.
- they probably already know the Christianity believes homosexuality is a sin. You do not need to always tell them that you think homosexuality is wrong. Many homosexuals come from a Christian background and therefore have heard many times before that homosexuality is a sin. They need love not condemnation.
- they are not attracted to every person of the same sex. I cannot tell you how many (guys especially) that get so worried about being friends with a homosexual of the same sex. I promise you that people with same-sex attractions do not have a desire to sleep with every person of the same gender that they know. Give them more credit than that. By hugging them, you won’t be making them lust. They are not animals completely focused on their sexual appetite. I promise you.
- you are most likely not going to win them over in a conversation. Unlike what many people such as Todd Friel would say, a majority of people do not come to Christ through open air preaching and one time conversations. If they do, it is usually because God has been working in their life, a long time before that moment. Usually, people come to Christ through their friends and family. Relationships are the key to reaching the unsaved. Sometimes on the spot conversations do work but usually they only work when God has been working on the person through relationships.
Along with all of this, here are a few things to implement and practice in your relationships with same-sex strugglers.
- Let your actions proceed words. Arguments and debates are a favorite of the gay community especially with Christians. While words and discussions help at times, you need to make sure your primary tool of evangelism is your actions. Be there for them when they need you. Then when clear opportunities arise for discussion, use it tell them about God’s amazing love.
- Show them God the gracious and merciful before anything else. I was wondering how accurate this point would actually be simply because the gay community are extremely bent on justice and equality. Yet, after thinking about it, I think it is extremely true. They have been taught to understand God as this judge who sits on the throne simply condemning people. They need to see him as gracious, loving, and merciful. Then they need to understand that God’s judgment is not unjust. Some of this they will learn on their own, but show them God love through your actions. If they desire to talk about God, reveal to them that everything He does is just both His mercy and punishment. He loves everyone and desires no one to be separated from Him.
Last but not least, I wanted to point out that even within the gay community there are people at many different stages of life. Here are some worth noting. Not everyone fits into one or any of these.
- The Relative Activist is usually the main one you see behind the activist campaigns and such. They usually call themselves relativists but their position as activists kind of counter it. By being activists for civil rights, their actions show that they believe in a universal truth and right. These people have usually grown a sore on their heart towards Christianity. Your actions need to show them that Christians are not always the hateful hypocrites they think.
- The Gay Christian usually has had problems in the past in making peace between their sexuality and faith. He could not discount either because he felt he was born gay and his faith was too foundational in his life. I would not automatically say that the Gay Christian is not actually a Christian. It depends on whether his acceptance of homosexuality is through ignorance or denial. I cannot speak on it myself. Only God knows for certain. They need to see that God does see homosexuality as a sin but that does not mean he hates the homosexual.
- The Struggler has almost always already accepted Christian and decided he does not want to live as a homosexual anymore. The main thing the Struggler usually needs is a brother or sister in Christ (preferably of the same gender) to come along side and support him. He needs accountability, love, and affirmation. We as the body of Christ are called to give that to each other.