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If Your Children or Grandchildren Struggled With Same-Sex Attraction, Who Would They Turn to for Advice?
Posted by Clare
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We, Preston Sprinkle and I, were in San Francisco in September at a Leaders Forum for pastors speaking on the subject of LGBT+ people in their churches. (I’m the chairman and CEO of The Center for Faith, Sexuality and Gender, and Dr. Preston Sprinkle is the president.)

After almost four hours of teaching to 364 pastors and leaders, the youth pastor of a large and growing church asked this question. “If a student ‘comes out’ to a leader in our youth group, should we inform his parents?”

Preston deferred the question to me. And this was my response, “If you do inform that student’s parents, without the student’s permission, that is probably the last LGBT+ student in your youth group who will ever let a leader know they struggle with their sexuality.” If my statement is true, what is a church, parent and grandparent to do?

Three Ideas to be a Safe Church, Parent or Grandparent

1. Every church ought to train a spiritually mature man and woman, who can relate to students, to be knowledgeable in the LGBT+ conversation.
I’ve found that very few youth pastors and volunteers are knowledgeable enough to have a thoughtful, biblical conversation with a student struggling with same-sex attraction. Every youth pastor ought to select a man and a woman who will study this topic and get a deeper understanding how to advise students. Then present these two people to all your students every year with this introduction.

“If you struggle with a same-sex attraction or have friends who do, John and Mary have been trained to help you and your friends to make wise choices. Their contact information is on our student ministries website. You can speak to them in complete confidence.”

 I’d strongly recommend contacting Lead Them Home Ministries website to get the training they offer.

2. Become an informed parent or grandparent.

I’d strongly suggest every parent or grandparent read Dr. Preston Sprinkle’s book “People To Be Loved.” Also, on our website, on our RESOURCE page you’ll find a number of Pastoral Papers. Download 15 Affirming Arguments and 15 Responses. Understanding the most common reasons why so many Christians believe God is fine with same-sex, monogamous, loving relationships, is super important to have a thoughtful, biblical conversation with family members or friends.

3. Let your children and grandchildren know you are safe.
With their parents permission, I’ve let each of our grandchildren over age 13 know that they can come to me with questions they have about sexuality, (their own or their friends) and I’d be honored if they would. I’ve also told them our conversations would be completely confidential. Have that talk as soon as you feel somewhat equipped to have those conversations. Don’t just assume your children or grandchildren will talk to you about this topic simply because you have a good relationship with them. Be proactive!

The danger of Plan “B”
If you and your church are not pro-active on these issues, your children have only two options – both are bad. They will talk to their friends, or they will go to the internet! There is no good “Plan B!” Do not simply hope and pray this will never be a challenge for your family. Even if no one in your family has a same-sex attraction, equipping yourself to discuss this topic intellectually, thoughtfully and biblically should be every spiritually mature Christian’s goal. Prepare yourself to pastor your family.

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