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What’s an Equip Blueprint? Why Should Every Church Get One?

We’re convinced every church should complete Equip’s signature Blueprint Process. Parents and teens are asking questions about God’s wisdom for sexual stewardship. Deconstruct-ers and not-yet-believers are judging the goodness of God based on how “Christians” treat gay people. You’ve got to get this right. As the premier consulting and training solution for churches aspiring to be places where gay Christians thrive for a lifetime according to a traditional sexual ethic, we’re here to help. Let us leverage decades of personal and professional experience to walk with you, step-by-step. 

 

Start with a HUDDLE

Pastors are overwhelmed and alone—afraid to say or do the wrong thing but pressured from all sides to take action. Meet with Pieter for free to share your stories and gain confidence—you’ve got an expert on your side.

 

Get your BLUEPRINT

Before jumping into risky public conversation, anticipate landmines and develop a careful strategy customized for your church to get real, long-lasting results. Equip’s Blueprint Process is a 5-session, 12.5-hour process for 8-10 leaders from your church that partners your understanding of the culture and needs of your church with our expertise to cast a vision for ministry and outline a strategy for action.

In the first three sessions, leaders will engage with Equip’s core content to deepen your understanding and skills for ministry. With better eyes to see, leaders will identify the needs in your church for better ministry to gay people. Then in the last two sessions, leaders will cast a vision for meeting those needs and identify steps necessary to realize that vision. Once your church has your Equip Blueprint, we’ll work with you as you implement it.

 

IMPLEMENT your Blueprint

With ongoing support from Equip, implement your Blueprint to become a church where gay people can belong and thrive according to a historic sexual ethic. For many churches, this looks like clarifying your church’s theology and policies, garnering buy-in from key demographics in your church, assembling and training an LGBT+ care team, and eventually teaching parents, teens, and everyday Christians how to think theologically about sexual stewardship for all people and specifically about God’s love and wisdom for gay people.

Our Blueprint Process has been proven to deepen theological confidence and expand pastoral skills. Keep scrolling to learn more about costs, review a Sample Blueprint, or investigate the effectiveness of Equip’s Blueprint Process. Or contact us today to set up your HUDDLE.

 

What’s it cost?

The cost of Equip’s Blueprint Process is $4000 plus travel. Thanks to financial contributions from Equip supporters, the Blueprint Process is priced at only 25% of its actual cost compared to peer ministries. If your church commits to implementing your Blueprint, Equip will commit to providing ongoing consulting, training, and support for free—a $40,000 value over 5 years and an estimated 100+ hours. We fundraise so that money is never a barrier to churches investing the time and energy necessary to become churches where gay people thrive with reasonable effort according to God’s wisdom.

 

What does an Equip Blueprint look like?

Since our first Blueprint Process with a local church in 2018, a total of nine churches have completed Equip’s full Blueprint Process. Because of the proximity of these Blueprint Processes to the barriers created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot yet offer long term results from Blueprint churches. We have, however, conducted quantitative research of the effectiveness of Equip’s Blueprint Process and have gathered testimonies from partner churches.

For most churches, the immediate product of Equip’s Blueprint Process is a clear vision for LGBT+ ministry at the church and strategy for realizing that vision over the next five years.

 

First steps often include the following:

  • Exhaustive description of the church’s theological convictions about sexual stewardship for all people and application to LGBT+ topics

  • Detailing church policies related to sexual/gender identity terminology and eligibility for sacraments/service/membership/leadership

  • More consistent accountability around romance/dating regardless of sexual orientation, discernment between vocational singleness and marriage regardless of sexual orientation, openness to the kingdom work of raising children in Christian marriage, and unbiblical divorce and remarriage

  • Answering frequently asked questions to provide staff with carefully curated responses

 

The second phase of implementation often involves:

  • Gathering wider circles of staff and leadership, presenting the church’s Blueprint, and garnering buy-in

  • Assembling and training an LGBT+ Care Team of staff/lay leaders who have or will seek greater expertise to provide pastoral care to LGBT+ individuals

  • Exploring the formation of affinity spaces where LGBT+ Christians committed to a historic sexual ethic can gather with others of similar story and convictions for empathy and encouragement

 

Before public conversation (often during the second phase), staff will present the church’s Blueprint to lay leaders to continue building consensus.

 

The third phase of implementation often includes the following public discipleship steps, in no particular order:

  • General education for how the average Christian can love sexual minorities well, addressing common theological questions
  • Teaching parents of young children how to lead kids ages 2-12 in age-appropriate conversation about sexual stewardship for all people before puberty, including God’s love and wisdom for gay people, so that children will share earlier about same-sex attractions, avoid the wounds of the closet, and embrace God’s wisdom
  • Foster ongoing conversation with middle school and high school students about God’s wisdom for everyone’s sexual stewardship and God’s particular wisdom for gay teens
  • Programming for all ages about sexual stewardship for all people, including God’s intentions for everyone to enjoy human intimacy in the context of lifelong lived-in family, our default calling to temporary singleness and discernment, how and why every Christian young adult should open-handedly discern between vocational singleness and Christian marriage, and God’s unique designs for vocational singleness and Christian marriage
  • Exploration of how parents and leaders can better minister to LGB women according to a historic sexual ethic
  • Teaching about God’s love and wisdom for individuals navigating gender incongruence
  • Responding to the most convincing arguments for a revisionist sexual ethic
  • Preparing for Pride Month and National Coming Out Day by exploring how Christians can respond wisely and compassionately, including how to respond when someone comes out and why gay people are afraid to share their stories
  • Practical guidance for young adults from church leaders in their discernment process followed by celebration/ceremony to mark their commitments to vocational singleness, if so called
  • A process for cultivating/incubating intentional Christian community where kingdom singles can find family or knitting kingdom singles into unrelated nuclear families
  • Honoring vocational singleness by hiring kingdom singles on staff, celebrating the kingdom work of vocational singles, and asking kingdom singles what they need and how they want to serve
  • Offering support to mixed-orientation marriages and teaching accurately about the possibility of mixed-orientation marriage

The Stats

Between fall 2018 and spring 2021, Equip led 9 churches through our Blueprint Process. To measure the effectiveness of the Blueprint Process, we assessed leaders’ theological beliefs and pastoral posture across 34 questions before and after to identify the impact of Equip’s Blueprint Process. Research over three years and more than 100 responses revealed that every church cohort reported positive growth in their theology of marriage, theology of celibacy, posture/philosophy of LGBT+ care, and theology about LGBT+ topics. The most improvement was observed in theology of celibacy, with still strong improvement in theology about LGBT+ topics and theology of marriage. The results showed greatest confidence that Equip’s Blueprint Process is what produced the improvement in theology of celibacy. Our full analysis discusses why change in belief is a meaningful predictor of church transformation into a place where gay Christians can thrive according to a traditional sexual ethic.

Click here to read the full analysis.

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