In this episode, I talk with Shelley Donaldson, Nick Elio, Mark Oestreicher, and Eric Woods – 4 of the 5 contributing authors of 4 Views on Pastoring LGBTQ Teenagers. They each share why they wanted to be a part of this project and why it’s important to have an open dialogue about this. Specifically, we lean into the question: What do you do when LGBTQ teenagers in your ministry come out to you? While these authors do not all agree on everything, they are united in desiring that LGBTQ teenagers feel that the church is a safe place for them and know that they are loved by God. It’s a great, open, honest conversation that allows leaders of all opinions and beliefs to learn from one another.
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What should I do when LGBTQ teenagers in my ministry come out to me?
- Remember you are ministering to people
- Know that you’re the first resource to offer
- Understand that your role is is to remind them they are loved by God, they are loved by you, you’re there for them, and you want them there
- Affirm their courage in telling you
- Be honest about where you’re at
- Ask: What can I do for you?
- Actively remind them (and all teenagers in your ministry) that their identity comes from the fact that they are a child of God
- Get 4 Views on Pastoring LGBTQ Teenagers and read it
- Have necessary conversations with leadership, parents, students, and volunteers
- Train your team to pastor LGBTQ teenagers
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