What does it mean to be fully LGBTQ inclusive?

Our church is LGBTQ inclusive. LGBTQ inclusion means we perform gay weddings and have no glass ceiling on how members of the LGBTQ community may serve. In fact, one of our co-pastors is a married gay woman. Our practice of LGBT inclusion is inspired by the gospel and informed by a faithful reading of Scripture. Through reading different authors, the Bible, and introspection, we have studied this question from a biblical, theological, and pastoral perspective. As a result, we believe the handful of prohibition texts address something other than loving relationships between same-gender couples. Instead, these texts speak to practices common in the period in which they were written. Examples include temple prostitution, exploitation of slaves and children, and orgy-sex. 

We Really Mean Gay-Friendly and Welcoming

Many churches use terms like gay-friendly and welcoming while harboring policies of exclusion. We are glad that churches now are less proud of these policies. But we feel it is important to be open and honest about such things. Another way to put it is this: there’s a difference between being “friendly” and being true friends. Similarly, there’s a difference between true welcome and polite welcome, between tolerance and acceptance. The fact is, if churches refuse to bless the weddings of LGBTQ people, or place limits on how they can serve, they are not truly gay-friendly or welcoming. Those of us who are not LGBT, would not accept the same policies toward us. And we would not call them friendly or welcoming. Or as Jesus taught us, “Let your ‘yes’ be yes and let your ‘no’ be no.”

Why Full Inclusion Matters to Everyone

Whenever one group is singled out, everyone is worse off for it. Fear and judgement increases. Others wonder, “Could this happen to me, if I’m honest about who I am?”  If a few texts of Scripture can be misapplied to LGBTQ people, what is to prevent the same thing happening to others who are perceived as different? Often, the approach to Scripture that supports exclusion, makes it more difficult for women, people of color, and others. If the gospel is not good news for all, how can it be truly good?   

That said, our church is not about being gay or straight. We focus on following Jesus and promoting his vision of God at work in the world. By removing the traditional barriers and tearing down the walls of discrimination, we can get on with the joy of loving God and our neighbors without fear. 

We feel honored to be part of a movement to end the harm done to LGBTQ people. This is a work of the Spirit in our day, part of a necessary reformation of the church, and a witness to the goodness of the gospel.