from My Recommended Reading List (Part 7 of 12)
One of my goals for this blog in 2013 is to spotlight my “Recommended Reading List”. “Turning Controversy Into Church Ministry: A Christlike Response to Homosexuality” by William P. Campbell is the selection for July. To view the complete list of my favorite books on the subject of same-sex attractions, click this link: My List of Recommended Books
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t agree with every single idea, concept or thesis discussed in every book on my list. But each selection contributes insight and understanding to the subject.
Dr. Campbell, a Presbyterian pastor, has been researching, writing and ministering in the area of homosexuality and the church for over twenty-five years. He also serves on the advisory board of OneByOne, a PC USA ministry “that exists to educate and equip churches to minister to those who desire freedom from unwanted same-sex attraction, sexual addiction, and the effects of sexual abuse.”
“Your church and mine can and should provide ministry to those who are conflicted sexually and who ask for help. . . There will always be a need for ministry that meets the needs of people with Christlike compassion, and the more secular our country becomes, the greater will be the need. We must never minimize the teachings of Scripture, however. For in so doing, our ministries will present a distorted images of the God we claim to serve.”
– Dr. William P. Campbell, “Turning Controversy Into Church Ministry”, page 102
Practical, real-life ministry necessitates the rejection of fear, apathy and ignorance. This resource is one of the best that introduces and guides prospective, local churches into a more holistic approach and understanding of ministry in this subject area. While the theme of the book is the optimal balance of grace and truth, the core of the text is built upon ten ministry essentials and six ministry spheres.
The 10 Ministry Essentials
- The best way to avoid extremes is to follow Christ’s example.
- Churches that blend uncompromised grace and truth are positioned for dynamic ministry.
- Ministry begins when we connect brokenness in our hearts with brokenness in others.
- Church leadership is about godly role models, not rights.
- We must embrace the whole of Scripture to keep our lives whole.
- Our genes bear the shadow of the fallen creation. They do not overshadow righteous living, however, for those who are new creations in Christ.
- The law leads us to Christ, who enables us to fulfill it.
- The goal is not to move from homosexuality to heterosexuality but from homosexuality to holiness.
- Where sin abounds, God’s grace is greater still.
- With God, nothing is impossible and no one is unreachable.
The 6 Ministry Spheres
- Inner Reality: Motivation; Outer Focus: Prayer
- Inner Reality: Vision; Outer Focus: Leadership
- Inner Reality: Healing; Outer Focus: Family Values
- Inner Reality: Growth; Outer Focus: Mentors and Counselors
- Inner Reality: Support; Outer Focus: Small Group Ministry
- Inner Reality: Celebration; Outer Focus: Outreach
Each ministry area is given its own comprehensive chapter in Part 3. . .
“The challenge we all face is to allow ministry to unfold in our churches in a manner that is unique to our own contexts. As you analyze the status and potential in your church in the course of the following pages, celebrate your congregation’s strengths. If you are a large church, your people may have the muscle, money, and management expertise to create unique programs that surpass what I describe in the following pages. If your church is small, capitalize on the familial warmth, the simplicity, and the built-in accountability you can create more easily in your church than can people in larger congregations. And regardless of your church’s size, don’t neglect any of the spheres. Remember also that any church can develop support and outreach to the sexually broken, but those that give special attention to the first three spheres are best able to sustain it.”
– pages 158, 159
Additionally, six ministry tips supplement the structure and insight for the final section of the book. . .
- Prayer is essential from beginning to end for ministry to people with sexual brokenness.
- Change occurs through church leaders who demonstrate and teach godly values in a congregation.
- Families can be healed in churches that are true families.
- Mentoring and counseling relationships cultivate personal growth.
- Small groups are the muscle for ministries of recovery.
- If we build ministry in each of the first five spheres, outreach will occur naturally.
Dr. Campbell concludes his book with this helpful reminder:
“Christian maturity is the nonnegotiable essential for Christian ministry. An immature church may launch into certain ministries and look good on the outside while being spiritually anemic within. No church should attempt ministry to people with sexual brokenness, sexual abuse, and unwanted same-sex attractions without putting the spiritual growth of its membership first on the list of priorities. Love for one another, transparency with each other, truth spoken with clarity, prayer for each ministry, and unity among leaders are essential foundations for this work.”
– page 216
Many Christians are concerned about government pressure, political activism and social changes in our society. God has used these factors (and persecutions against His people) to accomplish His purposes throughout world history before. Could He be using the current cultural turmoil in the Western world (and in churches) to reach people we have neglected (or refused) to reach out to with the love and gospel of Christ?
As Christians, are we becoming more bitter, strident and irrelevant? Or are we cooperating with the Lord? Are we speaking, living and behaving wisely across our relationships with others; making the very most of the time and every opportunity (2 Corinthians 6:1 – 3; Colossians 4:5, 6)?
Links and Resources
(1) On this blog:
“How Can the Church Reach Out?” is a five-part series I wrote in 2012. You can get access to these posts by clicking the “Christian Outreach” link in the site index (left column).
Video – Matt Chandler: A Biblical and Cultural Examination of Homosexuality. This sermon/seminar from 2010 is without a doubt one of the best presentations I’ve seen from a minister or a church. Definitely worth viewing as an example of how to reach out and engage. You can get access to this video series by clicking the “Resources, Links and Videos” page (at the top of this page or in the left column of this page).
(2) This is the Amazon.com link for this book:
(3) As I noted above, the author also serves on the advisory board of OneByOne. Their mission is “to equip and educate the church to minister the transforming grace and power of the Lord Jesus Christ to those who are in conflict with their sexuality.” To visit their website, you can click this link:
© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2013.
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