Outreach at TFT
At a recent staff away day, we considered the unique place of TFT’s ministry within the church in the UK and Ireland. TFT is long established, having been founded in 1977, and provides one of the largest support networks for Christians experiencing same-sex attraction and/or gender incongruence we are aware of anywhere in the world. Attached to this, we also have a speaking and teaching ministry that works closely with churches, networks and Bible colleges to deliver events that are closely tailored to their individual needs. No two events are the same. One thing I commonly hear when I go out and speak is how helpful churches find it to have a living example of someone showing the plausibility of experiencing the cost of discipleship in this area. No matter how prepared a church is to exposit the biblical teaching on sexual ethics, the element of personal testimony is usually something that can only be brought in via outside help.
In short, we believe that TFT is uniquely placed to show, through both our teaching and the lives of our members, the hope that the gospel offers for those who experience same-sex attraction or gender incongruence and wish to hold to the historic teaching of the church. However, one thing that TFT isn’t is a campaigning organisation. TFT is grateful for the voices of other Christian organisations that speak into the public arena. We feel this enables us to protect and spend our time focusing on supporting our membership. This policy, however, means we have to carefully consider how to raise the profile of our ministry. We want the people who need us to know we are here for them, but we don’t want to do it in a way that attracts unwanted attention that may distract from our objectives.
We’re grateful that several churches and networks already have committed to supporting us financially and/or praying for us. Many of these connections have come through our speaking and teaching ministry, as churches have kept in touch with us following a visit from one of our speakers. We continue to invite churches to partner with us in this way. However, we’re aware that the strongest partnerships often happen through personal connections. We’re thankful for those TFT members who have shared openly with their church leaders about their involvement in our ministry. We appreciate this can be an incredibly brave thing to do. This sometimes leads to those church leaders contacting us about others in their care. In the coming months, TFT plans to make it easier for those wanting to talk to their leadership about their involvement in TFT by producing some resources specifically designed for sharing with them to introduce what we do. Where these introductions turn into deeper relationships, we also plan to release periodic updates for all churches and networks who partner with us, to keep them informed about our work and offer them some ways they can pray for us.
In addition, we’re also exploring how the work of TFT can enjoy an increased presence at Christian conferences and festivals across the UK and Ireland. At our National Conference last year, several of our members approached us to tell us about the conferences and networks that matter to them. We’ve been in touch with several of the organisations behind these this year and hope to exhibit at some of them in the months and years ahead. Our staff team is also exploring opportunities to contribute to other Christian media. Given our pastoral experience, we again feel we’re uniquely placed to help with what so many individuals and churches are struggling with at the moment - how to show that the historic biblical teaching in these areas is also compassionate and loving.
All the above initiatives rely on the grace of God expressed through the generosity of our membership. We’re always keen to hear from members who may want some support sharing about their involvement in TFT with their church leadership. In addition, our plans to exhibit at other Christian events require not just funds, but members who are enthusiastic about the ministry of TFT and can communicate our beliefs and aims effectively to others. If either of these people are you, get in touch with us in the TFT office. We do not expect volunteers helping us with conference exhibits to pay their own expenses, and we’ll support you to respond sensitively to questions or requests for support. If neither of these people are you, but you’re an individual or church looking to get involved, we want to hear from you too! We love working with individuals and churches in partnership, as we encourage others in the joy of following the Lord Jesus Christ.
This article was originally published in the Summer 2023 edition of the TFT magazine, Ascend. Click the button below to download your copy.
Download the Summer 2023 edition of Ascend