Posted by Wesley Hill – Spiritual Friendship
Recently I gave a talk to a group of folks who work for a campus ministry. They had asked me to come and speak on the theme of ministering to LGBT students at colleges and universities. I get a lot of requests like this, and, truth be told, in the days leading up to the event, I was thinking I would simply dust off a talk I’d given a dozen times before. But the more I thought about it, the more I kept combing back through my memories of being a—deeply closeted—college student and of the kind of ministry that meant the most to me. After a few days pondering these memories, I took out a pad of paper and started to write a list. I wrote down the characteristics of the people and the gestures and the conversations that helped me find grace and hope when I most needed it. I came up with a list of ten points, and I’d like to share them here.
Here are some characteristics of the kind of ministry that has most helped me navigate life as a gay, sexually abstinent Christian. The ministry that has proved most important for me has been:
- ministry that doesn’t underestimate the power of small gestures.
I recall listening to a sermon by John Piper on the word “everyone” in Romans 1:16 (“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”). And this is what he said:
O, what an exhilarating word to those of us in this room who feel that there is something about us that rules us out! Wrong family, wrong background, wrong education, wrong language, wrong race, wrong culture, wrong sexual preference, wrong moral track record. Then to hear the word, “Everyone who believes.” Everyone! One thing can rule you out: unbelief. Not trusting Jesus. But nothing else has to. The good news that Christ died for our sins, and that he rose from the dead to open eternal life, and that salvation is by grace through faith – all that is for everyone who believes. Not just Jews and not just Gentiles and no one race or social class or culture, but everyone who believes.
Read the Part 1: https://spiritualfriendship.org/2016/07/11/ministry-that-helps-part-1/ Read the Part 2: https://spiritualfriendship.org/2016/07/12/ministry-that-helps-part-2/