Last week, the Lord provided a fantastic opportunity for The Center to address the LGBTQ conversation at the annual Q Conference in Nashville.
The Q Conference is sort of like a Christian version of the TED talks, where some of the most influential Christian leaders present their big ideas in 9 or 18 minutes in front of 2,000 other Christian leaders and influencers. The Center was invited to give one of the few 18 minute talks on the main stage (most are only 9 minutes) to address the topic of LGBTQ identity. When I was invited to give this talk, I recommended that I engage in a conversation on stage with several LGBTQ/SSA Christians instead. I thought it would be better to hear from actual LGBTQ/SSA people instead of listening to me talk about them. So, for 18 minutes in front of a large and prestigious audience, I talked with some of my dear friends about their faith, sexuality, and gender identity. Yes, it was incredibly nerve-wracking! But it was also a very encouraging and challenging time for everyone in attendance.
The response, from what I can tell, was very positive. Dozens and dozens of hallway conversations ensued over the following couple days, and, as you can imagine, The Center’s work just increased.
We were also invited to engage in a similar conversation in one of the breakout sessions. The attendance at our session was maxed out with about 30-50 people standing in the back. After we engaged in a 45 min conversation and audience Q & A, we had about 25 people surrounding the stage for another hour to share their stories and ask questions.
All in all, we were completely blessed to engage in what is obviously such a needed conversation. So many people were seeking advice and counsel on how to love their LGBTQ son, daughter, relative, or loved one. Many pastors had theological and ethical questions about faith, sexuality, and gender. Other Christian leaders had complex questions (and stories!) about this topic and how it has impacted their ministries, businesses, or places of work.
Yes, it was an exhausting week! But a very good week as well. And we were once again reminded of how much work there is to do in this crucial conversation.
Thanks for your love and your support! We can’t continue this work without you.