Using Living Out resources in your local church
As a UK charity Living Out exists:
“For the public benefit, the advancement of the evangelical Christian religion and Christian principles of love, acceptance, compassion and understanding, in particular, but not exclusively by:
- Encouraging evangelical congregations to welcome and accept same sex attracted individuals and provide them with pastoral support.
- Repudiating all attitudes and actions which victimise or diminish people whose affections are directed towards people of the same sex.
- Providing pastoral support and advice in relation to biblical teachings on human sexuality assisting same sex attracted Christians reconcile their sexuality with the teachings of the Bible.”
This website is one the chief ways we seek to do this by providing accessible resources which we hope will be of use to evangelical Christians and the churches they’re part of.
Recently we asked the Vicar of one such church,
What made you want to speak into this issue at your church?
St Mary’s Stoke Bishop was planning a series on the Tough Questions people ask Christians about their faith. The hope was that this series would enable Christians to speak about their faith and the Bible with more confidence to their not yet Christian friends and family. The church’s attitude to sexuality and particularly homosexuality was a key question raised by the congregation when we asked what questions they would like us to explore. We tackled the issue as part of that series along with issues relating to war, other religions, and hasn’t science disproved God?
What were your concerns as you prepared?
Our main concern was how could we teach what the Bible says whilst being loving and truth-fully inclusive to all people regardless of their sexuality. We wanted to seek what God says about this issue in the Bible and then apply it in a way that reflected the welcome of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
How did the resources available at Living Out help you in your preparation?
There are some great resources on the Living Out website. The brief and accessible exploration of the biblical texts and the personal stories of Christians who have chosen to live a biblically orthodox lifestyle were especially helpful. There are also good recommendations for reading around the topic.
How did you use some of the videos as part of your teaching?
We downloaded a couple of the videos from the Living Out site and played them as part of the evening. The power of the video’s is in the witness of those who experience same sex attraction and speak honestly about their choice to live biblically orthodox lifestyles. The videos and other resources also offer ways that the church can be improve its welcome and support of all people including those who experience same sex attraction (see here and here for example).
What was the response from your church family?
- The church family very much appreciated the clarity of biblical teaching and the pastoral sensitivity with which orthodoxy was communicated. The evening increased confidence in the gospel, enabling people to hear what the Bible says in the context of the whole narrative of God and humanity rather than proof texting in an unhelpful negative way.
- There was a sense of sorrow at the way that the church as a whole has treated those who are same sex attracted and a determination to seek to be welcoming to all those who seek God.
- We were challenged in our own attitudes and challenged to reflect on our own lives, in particular the areas where we each fell short of God’s ideal. We cannot expect others to follow God’s ways if we ourselves are not prepared to. All this led to confession of our own failures to live as God would want and our failure to love others. It was a powerful evening.
- We hope and pray that we will remain loving, welcoming and biblically orthodox as we journey forward.
If you want to learn more about how you can teach your church in a way that is faithful to biblical teaching on sexual ethics and helps those who experience same sex attraction to flourish as part of your congregation then come to one of our LOCAL courses. For more information click here.