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Love and Truth: Helping Teens Navigate LGBTQ Issues

The Power of Friendship

Four years ago, I was privileged to speak at the Anchored conference, the goal of which was to help youth leaders and church leaders know how to reach LGBTQ-identifying teenagers, and my talk was about practical ways to share the Gospel with them.

To prepare for the conference, I went to Starbucks with my then-17-year-old son, Jeremy, and a friend of his, whom I’ll call Anna. Jeremy and Anna had been classmates at his Christian middle school and high school. Anna identified as a lesbian, but she and Jeremy had remained good friends, even after she’d transferred to a different school.

I thought it would be good for me to hear her story and to run some of the things I was going to say by her to get her perspective. Anna told me that she had put her faith in Jesus during her middle school years but had since turned into an agnostic, after struggling through some of her challenges.

She graciously shared about a lot of those challenges—many of which had to do with how various people responded to learning that she was identifying as a lesbian—and at the end of our meeting, I had a chance to ask her: “Is there anything that would attract you back to Christ and the Church?”

Her answer was a pleasant surprise. She said: “I don’t know, but your son is doing a good job. He listens to me and talks to me. We definitely differ on a lot of issues, but he’s making me rethink some things, especially about God.”

The Path Forward

Let’s follow—and teach our teens to follow—Jeremy’s example.

Imagine if the Church began to intentionally reach out—with a Jesus-style blend of love and conviction—to people who identify as LGBTQ and started seeing more and more lives transformed by the power of the Gospel. How much different would the future look, both for the Church and for the lives that were changed?

Let’s find out by teaching our teens to love like Jesus and to follow His Word. It will get messy. It could be painful. But it’s worth it!

This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.