This week we had the opportunity to sit down with Nate Collins, author of the new book “All but Invisible” and founder of Revoice, a new conference July 26-28 in St. Louis where Bill Henson will be teaching on the principals of Posture Shift.
LTH: First of all, thanks so much for taking the time. Could you start by telling us what is Revoice and what led you to organize it.
NC: So Revoice is an evangelical Christian organization that exists to encourage, support, and empower Christian gender and sexual minorities so they can flourish in faith communities that adhere to historic, Christian teaching about marriage and sexuality. About eight months ago I began to realize that this group of people, to which I myself belong, was particularly in need of some kind of visible, public support from the evangelical Church.
As a spiritual home, evangelical Christianity represents the community where many of us who are gender or sexual minorities first encountered Jesus Christ and the gospel. Unfortunately, it is also the community where many of us first encountered perspectives and opinions about LGBT people that felt dehumanizing to us.
For this reason, those of us who are Christian gender and sexual minorities and who adhere to historic, Christian teaching about marriage and sexuality often feel caught between two worlds… the world of our faith community, and the world outside our faith community. Revoice exists to embody a kind of faith community where we can feel like we truly belong.
LTH: So the the primary audience is LGBT+ people?
NC: Yes primarily, LGBT+/same-sex-attracted Christians who adhere to historic, Christian teaching about marriage and sexuality.
We want Revoice to be a community where this group of people can feel safe to come as they are and to be known by other Christians who want to love and encourage gender and sexual minorities. At the same time, we’re aware that the conference itself will attract a wide variety of people who are outside that category who also want to encourage and support Christian gender and sexual minorities.
In order to address the questions that many of these people will likely bring to the conference we have partnered with other Christian ministries to offer workshops tailored towards the needs of pastors, church lay leaders, parents of LGBT children, and others who perhaps just want to learn more about how to love and encourage Christian gender and sexual minorities.
LTH: Our entire team at Lead Them Home is excited to be one of the those partnering ministries! What do you think will be the biggest contribution that Bill and Lead Them Home will be able to bring to Revoice?
NC: I’m thrilled that Bill and many of the Lead Them Home team will be attending the conference and teaching a workshop. Promoting a humble, repentant posture among Christians towards the mainstream LGBT community is a centerpiece component of our values at Revoice, and nobody has done more to model this at a national level than Bill. This is a mission-critical piece of the conversation that needs to take place, and I couldn’t be more excited that people at Revoice will have the opportunity to be sharpened and challenged by someone like Bill.
LTH: How is preparation for the conference going so far?
NC: Preparations for the conference are going great! At the moment, about 200 people have already registered from all across the country (and world!), which means that we’re on-track for a sell-out crowd of around 425 people.
Also, we’re already making tentative plans for next year’s conference, so stay tuned! In the meantime, we’re also deep into the process of applying for 501(c)3 status with the IRS so Revoice can become a federal tax-exempt organization.
LTH: That is so awesome! So what do you feel makes Revoice different from other conferences that have been put together on the topic of sexuality and faith?
NC: Revoice represents a new generation of Christian gender and sexual minorities who are resolutely following Christ while also trying to discover creative ways to integrate their faith, gender, and sexual identities.
Many of us are concerned with the ways that older paradigms for ministry tended to dehumanize and rob gender and sexual minorities of their dignity. But we’re also concerned with more recent contemporary voices in the evangelical conversation that fail to understand how LGBT experience shapes the way gender and sexual minorities understand and view the world around them.
We think that people who attend Revoice will experience a different kind of evangelical conversation about LGBT issues that is faithful to historic Christian teaching about marriage and sexuality, but that also relates this teaching in fresh ways to actual lived experiences of LGBT people.
LTH: That actually connects well to our last question. What do you think will be the biggest take away from Revoice?
NC: I think one of the biggest takeaways from Revoice will be the experience of unity that the event will promote between the Christian gender and sexual minorities who attend and everybody else who shows up to show their support for this specific group of people. My hope is that this experience will fuel a collective desire for LGBT Christians and evangelical Christianity to pursue reconciliation with each other as they live out the gospel in their own lives.
We want to thank Nate Collins and his entire team for their hard work in putting together the Revoice conference which will be taking place on July 26-28 in St. Louis. If you plan to attend be sure to register before space runs out! Click here to register today!
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