Click here to read from the beginning of this series.
We lose evangelical young adults who experience SSA to the secular world for many reasons. One such reason is that the secular world stands ready to embrace them just as they are. This unconditional acceptance often reduces religious kids to tears when they encounter it; precisely because they have never experienced it before. Unconditional acceptance and the desire for same-gender romance are powerful and appealing forces. Formulating a care plan that will encourage young adults to stay in the church is not simple; it is complex.
Another reason we lose them is because we tell them that faith will relieve their pain and change their attractions. Our simplistic idealism, dispassionate theology, and easy promises propel them out the door. When things do not go as planned, they figure God has forsaken them – or else their caregivers are gravely misinformed. An honest assessment of their future is that it likely will not be easy; there will be difficulty.
We also lose them because we fail to protect them from the collateral effects of repression detailed earlier in this series. We applaud outer behavioral compliance instead of taking note when repression goes beyond its intended mark (sexuality) and damages their psyche. Sadly, some SSA strugglers are pushed toward self-propelled holiness. This is not the Gospel, and it does not work. We treat gay kids differently because…well, because our whole view of them is that they are different. Our bias is not safe; it fuels danger.
My objective – via blogging, speaking, training and counseling – is to help caregivers sufficiently consider the complexities, difficulties and dangers facing young evangelicals who experience SSA. The world is ready to receive them as is. Their desire for romance is strong. Our expectations can be unrealistic. Our approaches tend to minimize their hurts. Our spiritual focus often overlooks the care of their psyche. Despite this, I see radical transformation in the way these young people are being cared for in the church. There is much work to do in overcoming blind spots that remain in the church today, but I am hopeful. With this new posture, we can guide those we are shepherding away from repression and toward a healthy spiritual surrender. Amen.
Invite me to share our Shift 20.20 training with your ministry team. Learn more today. Tomorrow, my friend Clint will share how he has experienced a life of satisfaction in the midst of his SSA struggle. You will not want to miss his insights for living out healthy spiritual surrender.
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