Same Sex Attraction in the Church

I’ve dealt with the issue of same sex attraction a number of times on this blog, but because I it isn’t an issue I’ve struggled with, I can often have trouble relating to those who do experience those attractions. This article, titled ‘Same-Sex Attraction in the Church‘ is incredibly helpful in thinking through what it means personally for those struggling with this issue. The article is written by Sam Allberry who is a pastor in the UK. Yet he is committed to the biblical definition of genders and is not acting upon his temptations.

The more I’ve read about this the more I’ve felt like a kindred spirit for those who struggle with same sex attraction. One line in this article stuck out to me when Sam wrote, “We need to respect that singleness is not necessarily a sign that someone is postponing growing up.” Yes and amen! Being a single pastor is difficult, and it seems like everyone has someone they think you should get together with. Yet right now, because I don’t have a significant other, I’m able to devote much more time to my ministry and the spending time with those in the church. Do I want to be married? Absolutely! But for right now in the season I’m in, God’s doing some amazing things in me and through me and it’s a joy to be able to see Him working all things out for my good and his glory.

Ministering in the Midst of Pain

I’ve been reflecting a lot this past month on the life of Job who, in the world’s, and even his friend’s eyes, seemed to get the raw end of the deal in life. For those of you who don’t know the story, Job was a man who was “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1). Job was an incredibly rich man and God had blessed him because he feared God. Through the course of the story, Job loses everything except his wife who eventually told Job to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9), she doesn’t sound like a pleasant woman to be around. As Job is aching from sores covering his entire body, his three friends come to console him. However, instead of consoling they continually wage war against his mind in an attempt to discover some hidden sin and reason as to why God was punishing Job this way. Job continues to maintain his innocence until God finally speaks to Job and his friends and asks a series of questions that none of them (or us today) would be able to answer. This past week someone on twitter posted a link to Job 42:2 which is Job’s response to God. Job, who suffered far greater than anyone I know, was able to say:

I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel with knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

One of the biggest things I’ve been learning through some trials the past month is to put everything in perspective. God is a good, perfect and loving Father who continues to care for me and guides me when I don’t understand what’s going on in my life. James 4:8 says, “draw near to God, and he will draw near to you,” and I’ve slowly been discovering that over the past month. God has wonderful ways of getting ones attention, and most often it is through painful situations. Romans 8 is a wonderful chapter that guides us through the process of suffering well. In verse 18 Paul writes, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” It’s not even worth taking the time to compare! What awaits us in glory will far exceed any trial we will need to face on this earth! Later on in verse 32 Paul says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give him all things.” God isn’t some far off being who doesn’t care about the intricacies of our lives as some people would suggest, rather he is continually involved in weaving together our lives for our good and his glory. And he understands suffering! Mankind would never be able to reach God on our own power, so God came down to us in Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins and now because of that, we can enter into God’s presence with confidence (Hebrews 4:16).

So how can we faithfully minister in the midst of suffering? By “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) Continue to keep your eyes on him, until we, with Job, can say, my eyes now see what my ears had once heard.

A Year in Ministry

I recently passed the 1 year mark of my time serving at Cheyenne Evangelical Free Church and what a year it has been! God has continued to challenge and stretch me in ways I never thought possible. I’m so grateful for my time here and am looking forward to the years God continues to give me here.

With a year under my belt I thought I’d share a few of the things I’d learned in the past year. This won’t be an all inclusive list, but rather a few key things that have seemed to continue to pop up.

  1. Schooling will never prepare you for all the challenges you will face in ministry. I’d always heard that ministry would be difficult and they were so right, but I had no idea how much of blessing being in ministry would be. There have been times of difficulty and times of immense joy. From mourning the loss of a church member to rejoicing with one of the half dozen families who welcomed a new baby into the church.
  2. Ministry would be so easy if it weren’t for the people. Like it or not, the people are the ones you are called to serve. Despite frustrating you and keeping you up late, they are you brothers and sisters in Christ, which ties into the next point:
  3. Remember who you serve. You need to keep a vertical perspective throughout your ministry. You’ll never be able to please everyone (as I have so quickly learned with music) so remember ultimately you are serving God.
  4. Give thanks. As the song “Blessed Be Your Name” so aptly puts, remember to give everything back to God, both the blessings and the challenges. Apart from God our ministries would fall apart.
  5. Get perspective. As a young man it’s very easy to criticize and complain about the ways things are being done because they’re not trendy or cool anymore. It’s incredibly important to remember that there is history to this thing called the church. It’s been around a lot longer than we have and will continue to be around long after we’re here. Don’t lose perspective of your time and place.
  6. Pray. Praying needs to be first and foremost in your mind. I felt like this was almost too emphasized but I’ve learned you can’t emphasize it enough.

I have the joy of serving with 2 other incredibly godly men, as well as a father who is only a phone call away for advice and council. This past year I’ve gotten to help lead the youth group, lead music on a weekly basis, start a Bible study for our music team, preach, teach an Adult Bible Fellowship, teach a Sunday School, help put on a VBS, play with 2 year olds and have a meal with 70 year olds and through it all I pray God was glorified in and through and despite me. I’m so grateful for a church that encourages me as a stumble toward maturity and pray for faithfulness in the many years ahead.