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Why are Churches Struggling to Minister to Gay People? How Can Equip Help?

Gay teens spend an average of five years in the closet making sense of their sexuality, often without the love and wisdom of parents—left alone with the lies of the Enemy and culture. This leads to loneliness, anxiety, shame, depression, sexual sin, addiction, abandoning God’s wisdom, suicide, and loss of faith. Gay teens are 5 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, and 54% of gay people have left the church. The wounds of the closet become the greatest barrier to gay Christians thriving according to a historic sexual ethic, haunting them for a lifetime.

One of the best ways we can care for gay people in our churches is to make sure kids share with parents as soon as they notice same-sex attractions. In doing so, we can prevent these wounds from ever happening, leading to a lifetime of thriving according to God’s teachings. But for kids to share early about their sexuality, parents need coaching and encouragement to teach about God’s love and wisdom for gay people before their kids enter puberty.

Unfortunately most parents feel ill-equipped to start wound-preventing conversations. Why? Because pastors feel ill-equipped to train parents. Pastors know that parents are asking for help and that straight people are judging the goodness of God based on how churches care for gay people. Many leaders feel overwhelmed and alone—afraid to say or do the wrong thing but pressured from all sides to take action. Pastors have tried to speak carefully about LGBT+ topics according to a historic sexual ethic, but they know that broaching the topic in a couple of sermons isn’t enough. Leaders are already spread thin across many important priorities and need more expertise to confidently lead these conversations.

With Equip, you have an expert on your side.

Equip is the premier consulting and training solution for churches aspiring to be places where gay Christians thrive for a lifetime according to a historic sexual ethic. We equip Christian leaders to better care for gay people according to a historic sexual ethic and teach everyone about God’s love and wisdom for gay people. And then Equip takes it a step further.

Your church can eliminate the closet for future generations by helping parents lead kids ages 2-12 in age-appropriate conversations about God-honoring sexuality. Equip coaches pastors to help vocational singles find lifelong, lived-in family instead of being stuck in the lonely, revolving door of roommates—regardless of sexual orientation. Equip trains pastors and parents in your church to teach about sexual stewardship for all people, helping gay and straight Christians alike thrive according to God’s good and weighty wisdom.

Beginning with Equip’s signature Blueprint Process, our team will leverage decades of personal and professional experience to walk alongside church leaders step-by-step. Together, we will anticipate landmines, develop a careful strategy customized for your church, and get real, long-lasting results through an ongoing partnership.

What are our results? 

Equip has trained 21,000+ Christian leaders in 225 trainings at 75 different churches, Christian universities, and campus ministries. Our Blueprint Process has been proven to deepen theological confidence and expand pastoral skills. Our trainees reported the following:

  • 90% feel better prepared to minister to sexual minorities

  • 85% feel ready to have respectful conversation about sexual ethics

  • 94% found Equip trainings to be effective or very effective


How is Equip’s focus different?

Many churches strive to share about God’s love and wisdom for gay people in honest and empathetic ways. Many churches are preparing pastors and lay leaders to offer compassionate and theologically accurate one-on-one care to gay people. But gay Christians committed to a historic sexual ethic are still struggling in those churches. Why? Their churches are missing three key levers: preventing the wounds of the closet, raising the bar for everyone’s sexual stewardship, and ensuring that vocational singles find lifelong family, not loneliness.


Preventing the wounds of the closet

The wounds of the closet are immense: loneliness, anxiety, shame, depression, sexual sin, addiction, suicide, and loss of faith. And kids often endure these wounds alone, with the wisdom and guidance of their pastors and parents.

Equip trains parents to lead kids ages 2-12 in age-appropriate conversation about God’s wisdom for everyone’s sexual stewardship, demonstrating safety and inviting children to share early about their sexuality, helping prevent the wounds of the closet from ever being inflicted.


Raising the bar for sexual stewardship

Many churches lead straight Christians to assume that they will get married, teach that we need romantic companionship to be happy, and ignore the Bible’s teachings about vocational singleness and divorce. But then these same churches call gay Christians to a higher standard of sexual stewardship by teaching that gay Christians don’t need romance or sex and challenging them to consider vocational singleness. This inconsistent, hypocritical application of Scripture tempts sexual minorities to adopt a victim mentality and reject sexual morality standards because of the apparent double standard. Churches lose credibility to ask gay Christians to live according to biblical wisdom when they refuse to hold straight Christians accountable to that same wisdom.

Yet this inconsistent standard hurts straight Christians as well. Straight Christian marriages end in divorce at the same rate as non-Christian marriages, and unmarried straight Christians suffer from a lack of support in the church.

Instead, churches can invite everyone to steward their sexualities according to God’s good and weighty wisdom. This might include examining whether straight Christians are engaging in casual romance, having sex outside of marriage, making little or no progress on refraining from the use of pornography, failing to consider a call to vocational singleness, unthinkingly refusing an openness to raising children for the kingdom in marriage, or engaging in unbiblical divorce/remarriage. 


Ensuring vocational singles find family

Few churches are places where anyone can thrive in lifetime singleness for the sake of the kingdom, regardless of sexual orientation. Christian leaders don’t teach vocational singleness, teens don’t see vocational singleness modeled or celebrated, and vocational singles find alone as roommate after roommate moves out—starved of a consistent experience of family in the body of Christ.

Instead, our churches can teach what the Bible has to say about vocational singleness, guide teens and young adults to discern whether they are called to vocational singleness or Christian marriage, hire vocationally single leaders and pastors, and celebrate the callings of those called to vocational singleness. Moreover, churches can ensure that vocational singles enjoy lifelong, lived-in family in the body of Christ by helping vocational singles start intentional Christian communities by suggesting the idea, helping them cast vision for it, providing pastoral support while they explore the possibility, coaching them through the process, and even providing financial support in the early years.

Partner with Equip to ensure your church is a place where everyone thrives according to God’s wisdom and everyone finds family.

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