How should I reach out to LGBT people?
How do we share the gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ – with those who identify as LGBT?
Well, unsurprisingly, the simple answer is in the same way as any other individual! The gospel is powerful enough to work in the hearts of any person, and those who identify as LGBT are not a special subset of people who require a special approach to sharing the gospel.
Due to cultural pressure, however, you may find these three pointers helpful when sharing faith with gay friends.
Rise to the moral challenge
The culture around us is generally giving the message, ‘you are your sexual attractions: L, G, B, or T, is your identity, and the only way you can be happy and fulfilled is to live that out.’ Therefore, to follow Christian teaching on sex and relationships is painted as immoral.
This message is summed up by the song ‘same-love’ which was really the anthem for same-sex marriage, ‘Live on and be yourself, when I was in church they taught me something else.’ Do you see how the church’s message of not making your sexual attractions the thing that defines you above all else is seen as immoral? So, be careful not to be seen as attacking somebody’s deeply held identity when sharing the gospel.
We should remember, however, that in response to this message we need to be aware that we have a much better story to tell. No other worldview affords LGBT people the same level of dignity and respect as the Christian worldview. The Christian says that the LGBT person is a precious creation made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). We raise the bar. This is simply not something that other worldviews affirm.
Where do we find true joy?
Part of the moral challenge comes about because popular culture makes it seem as if Christians deny people true happiness, which comes through ‘being true to yourself.’ In contrast, the Scriptures would say that the answer does not ‘lie within ourselves.’ Although all people are created in the image of God, the Scriptures also teach that we’re all impacted by sin. This means that the answer to life’s mess lies outside of ourselves, in another person, Jesus, who paid the penalty for our sin. Jesus alone is the bread of life that can truly satisfy our deepest longings.
So, when sharing your faith with gay friends, it would be helpful to always point away from the inner person, to the person of Christ.
Be clear on the cost of discipleship
There is a cost to being a disciple of Jesus Christ. As Christians who reach out with the gospel, we shouldn’t be ashamed of that cost, and we shouldn’t seek to hide it from those who identify as LGBT. in Luke 13, for example, Jesus urged people to count the cost of being his disciple.
But whatever following Jesus may cost any person, even if it means leaving a same-sex relationship, the eternal joy on offer is so much greater than anything that is given up here and now. Indeed, what can ever compare to having a restored relationship with God (John 17:3)? So, when we share our faith with gay friends we should be clear on the cost, but also the eternal prize on offer.
Resources for further study
Please note that any external resources below are intended to complement the main answer given above and may not entirely match TFT's position.