There are many reasons why church leaders fail to reach out to folks who struggle with same-sex attraction. We may be afraid of being labeled hateful, we may feel out of our depth, or (and this is the most painful reason) we may have bought into the lie that same-sex attraction is something a person can’t overcome.
Rosaria Butterfield, Sam Allberry, and Jackie Hill Perry have all struggled with same-sex attraction—or still struggle with it today. But instead of being defined by their struggles, these leaders are now known for their commitment to Jesus Christ and the advancement of the gospel. Each of them has a powerful testimony of God’s deliverance.
Rosaria is a writer, a pastor’s wife, mother, and a former professor at Syracuse University. She is the author of “The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into the Christian Faith”. She engaged in a lesbian lifestyle from the age of 26 to 36 and worked to advance LGBT rights. God saved her in 1999, and she testifies that while her heart and her mind were changed immediately, her struggle with same-sex attraction did not. Butterfield explains that she wasn’t converted out of homosexuality, she was converted out of unbelief. Her story is a powerful display of the gospel of Jesus Christ and gives insight into how a church can reach out to those struggling with homosexuality.
Watch more here.
Sam is the author of “Is God anti-gay?”. He is a pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Maidenhead, UK. He lives a celibate single lifestyle, but also currently struggles with same-sex attraction. Allberry’s testimony can help church leaders who don’t know what it’s like to face this struggle on a daily basis. Sam’s powerful and open testimony gives Jesus all the glory in keeping him from succumbing to temptation.
Jackie Hill Perry
Jackie is an artist, writer, wife, and mother. Her writing is featured in the Washington Times, The Gospel Coalition, and Desiring God. Jackie was molested at a very young age, which led her into a lifestyle of homosexuality. Knowing it was a sin because of her cursory knowledge of Scripture, she explains that she still made a choice to live a life that pursued other women. While she was watching television one day, Jackie heard God tell her that “She [her partner] was going to be the death of you.” In her testimony, she says that “God wasn’t just convicting her of homosexuality but sin…period.” Her story is a powerful example of how God pursues His children. He is just waiting for us to answer Him.
Watch more here.
This is just an introduction to these three important Christian leaders. The hope is that it encourages you to dig deeper into their testimonies of how Christ has saved their souls. All three of them recently signed the Nashville Statement, which speaks directly against a lifestyle that is and was more real to them than it will be to most of us.
Brothers and sisters, I share these testimonies to encourage you, as you lead congregations and evangelize your community, to reach out to those who struggle with same-sex attraction. Don’t be afraid to love them and invite them into the Kingdom. You never know what a simple act of kindness may do or the offer of friendship may give.
After hearing so many negative stories, we can be tempted to think that same-sex attraction is an insurmountable thing that one just can’t overcome. As we see in Allberry’s testimony, it may be something a person struggles with for the rest of his or her life. But here is the point: It’s much better for someone to face that struggle with Jesus than without him. As Allberry says at the conclusion of his testimony, “It’s never bad deal to follow Jesus.”
Who can you reach out to today?
Megan Briggs contributed to this article.