Disclaimer: Before we can begin talking about this I have to put my cards on the table with where I stand and what I believe the scriptures tell us on this topic. If you fundamentally disagree with what the next paragraph says then this post will be meaningless to you and maybe even offensive. However, I am just being faithful to my convictions and my understanding of the scriptures.
I believe homosexuality is a sin based on Romans 1:26-27 & Matthew 15:18-19. Though I believe it is a sin, I don’t pedestal it above any other sexual sin. Matthew 15 says that out of the heart comes sexual immorality and in the original language, sexual immorality is porneia, which represents a bunch of sexual sins under one word. It is also where we get the word porn. So I don’t look at the person who is homosexual as anymore sinful as an adulterer or a person addicted to porn. Because a Christian who lives in the south (or the south of the south because I live in Florida) we wrongfully see porn and even adultery as more acceptable sins than homosexuality. This is because more people can agree that homosexuality is a sin however calling out porn addiction or adultery may lower how much gets put in the offering plate or even lower church attendance. Regardless of why, it is wrong for pastors and the church to exalt homosexuality as a more grievous sin than others. All sins lead to death and according to Romans 1, the same heart that commits homosexuality is the same heart that slanders, gossips, and invents new ways of sinning. A sinner is a sinner and it levels the playing field for everyone.
With that being said, what do you do when a student in your youth group comes out as being homosexual? Homosexuality is a lifestyle being more and more accepted if not promoted by media and entertainment. Shows like Modern Family and the New Normal are only a glimpse at how major TV networks are trying to promote this lifestyle. Let’s be real, too, Modern Family does a good job at it, they were nominated for 14 Emmys. Glee is another hugely successful show that has a homosexual agenda. Please, youth pastors, don’t be naïve to think that your youth group isn’t watching it. My homeschooled girls are watching it with their mom. Those kids can sing and if you deny it you are lying to yourself.
“The main thing we have to do when we find out or a youth comes out that they are homosexual is to not attack their sexual orientation but go towards their hearts orientation.”
The main thing we have to do when we find out or a youth comes out that they are homosexual is to not attack their sexual orientation but go towards their hearts orientation. Sexual orientation is a secondary issue. It is also a result of what is going on with their heart. Youth pastors and parents freak out too quickly and try to resolve the exterior issue when what first needs to be correctly aligned is their heart. What if we were able to “make” them straight? We just made a heterosexual who is going to hell. So I suggest we should do the following.
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Talk to the parents
Tell them you are aware and you are there for them. This is a crazy time for the student and for the parents and our job as youth pastors is to minister to the youth and to their mom and dad. Parents sometimes feel like they have failed as parents. This is one of those hard moments where parents need to understand that all the great parenting in the world won’t stop a hardened heart and sin. They need Christ to break through that heart of stone and give him a heart of flesh.
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Don’t bring up orientation, bring up the Gospel
Matt Chandler said once that “Transformed hearts lead to transformed lives.” I want to love the kid so much and saturated them in the Gospel where when they see me they just see the love of Christ on them. Now understand this carefully, what that does in the life of someone who is living in sin is they say to themselves, “Well Christ says this and to live like that. I live like this but to be a Christian is to do that. So what should I do?” That opens the room for the talk about sexual orientation. Again, let’s not be naïve, we live in a country where Evangelicals still say homosexuality is a sin. If they are still coming to your church and you are preaching the whole council of God’s word they are going to have in the back of their mind, “I know this is counter to what God wants but I am going to just keep coming to church.” The gospel changes people not your well played arguments against homosexuality.
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When I first became a Christian I was very indifferent on many things that I now have strong convictions on. One of which was homosexuality. I was never gay but had friends that were openly homosexual or bisexual and could come up with a few arguments that would questions the traditional Christian worldview on this. “Your sexual orientation is personal and doesn’t hurt anyone so what is wrong with it?” “Only Paul, who we know hates women and is a homophobe, said anything about homosexuality. The Old Testament is, well old and Jesus never said homosexuality is a sin so why does it matter?” “Homosexuality in the Bible is different than homosexuality today.” “If someone is born and wired this way, how can God punish them for it?” Even after I made my convictions on homosexuality, if you asked me these questions I wouldn’t know what to say. So I studied. Matt Chandler did an amazing job preaching and taking questions at a forum he held on the topic. Below are the videos of the forum. I would encourage every youth pastor and their volunteers to watch these. Perhaps even as a group. It is long but these three videos will change the way you interact and communicate with homosexuals.