- What challenges might an LGBT individual face if he or she came out in the places, groups and environments that you belong?
- What messages does your church send to children and adolescents about being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?
- How would your church rate as a safe place for an LGBT child or adolescent to worship and to enter into a journey of figuring out their faith and sexuality?
- What steps can you take to make your church a safe place?
As you (we) consider these questions, we need to accept the challenge to be more intentional and to be more gracious. How can we be more effective advocates for EVERY young person in our communities? In our churches? In our families? In our neighborhoods? In our schools? How can we love them, value them and serve them well as the Lord wants us to?
As many of you already know, my primary area of service within the church has been in youth ministry. I’ve briefly discussed the needs of teens here and here. Today I want to share 2 more resources for your consideration . . .
(Click the link above to visit thetrevorproject.org in a new window)
From their website: “The mission of The Trevor Project is to end suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people. The organization works to fulfill this mission through four strategies:
- Provide crisis counseling to LGBTQ young people thinking of suicide.
- Offer resources, supportive counseling and a sense of community to LGBTQ young people to reduce the risk that they become suicidal.
- Educate young people and adults who interact with young people on LGTBQ-competent suicide prevention, risk detection and response.
- Advocate for laws and policies that will reduce suicide among LGBTQ young people.”
(Click the link above to visit fortytonone.org in a new window)
Mission (from their website): “The Forty to None Project, a program of the True Colors Fund, seeks to raise awareness about and bring an end to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth experiencing homelessness.
In America, it is estimated that between 500,000 and 1.6. million youth are homeless each year and that up to 40% of these young people identify as gay or transgender. Since its creation in 2008, the True Colors Fund and its co-founder Cyndi Lauper have been advocating and raising awareness about the fact that no young person deserves to be homeless, let alone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Practical Action Steps:
- Have a conversation with some LGBT adolescents and ask them about their experiences at school, in church, and with their family and friends. Ask them what resources or services they would like to see the church provide to the LGBT adolescents in your community.
- Explore what resources your surrounding community has for LGBT youth. Consider health care, counseling, support groups, homeless shelters and pastoral care. Develop a list for your church and other faith communities in your vicinity. Work to partner with them to make a tangible impact in such an important area of need.
- Bullying is a deeply concerning issue among LGBT youth. Develop a plan for your church to respond to this issue both internally and in the local community.
© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2015.
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