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Most Churches Are Welcoming and Affirming

Imagine this scenario in your church.

Sunday morning, your greeters are in their positions ready to greet. A woman approaches one of your oldest, most faithful church members and says she drives by your church every day on her way to work and has long wondered what goes on in there. She asks if she’d be welcomed to visit and see for herself. Of course, she’s warmly welcomed and perhaps introduced to some folks she might feel comfortable sitting with. She has some news to share about herself however. She explains she’s a lesbian and lives with her partner, who she tried to talk into coming, but to no avail. Our visitor then asks if she’s still welcome.

What would be your greeter’s reaction, his answer? Would he even hesitate? Even though evangelical churches are largely assumed to be unwelcoming, even hostile, toward same-sex attracted people, I would bet a month’s pay that in 99 percent of our churches—even the most blue-haired, traditional ones—the answer would be strongly in the affirmative, and without hesitation. Your greeter might experience some nervousness, just as he would if a motorcycle gang person, a Buddhist monk or hippy dippy new-ager visited. It is human for those outside our particular circle to unsettle us a tad. However, he would not be inclined to show your visitor the door nor would he feel the need to check with anyone first: “Uh, I got a lesbian woman out here who wants to attend our service! What should I do?”

Our churches exist for those who are (or might simply be interested in) seeking Christ and we typically don’t do pre-interviews prior to entry. Just as I am…

Dealing with this issue as much as I do in my work at Focus on the Family—and with a wide array of denominations and flavors—I honestly have not met pastors or churches who would not welcome a gay or lesbian individual interested in visiting or attending their church. Those that reject such people are very few and typically and rightfully denounced by the mainstream of evangelicalism.

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Glenn T. Stanton is the director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family and the author of many books, most recently, Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor (Moody) and The Family Project (Tyndale).