By Mitch Kim
I am a curious person; most of my growth comes out of questions that I’m asking. As we began this ministry year, two questions bothered me: (1) how can the church care for people who may feel same sex attracted within a biblical framework? (2) how do we strengthen our disciple making processes as a church? While I originally considered these as two separate issues, I am slowly realizing that the first question is simply a subset of the second. Our brothers and sisters who may be same sex attracted need what every person needs — the people of God to walk with them on the messy process towards transformation in the image of Christ. As a church we need to be seriously concerned about conformity into the image of Christ in all areas for all people. Period. And we need to care enough about character to do everything we can that people might be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
Recently I have been reading and learning more about same sex attraction. I have met regularly with people: some of who identify, some with loved ones who identify, and some who care deeply about this issue. As the boundaries of my own ignorance have been exposed, I’ve learned greatly — that a person ought not to be reduced to their sexual behavior or orientation, that the issue of orientation does not necessarily translate to sexual behavior, that this issue is far more complex than I originally realized, that the depths of people’s hurts from the church because of this issue run deep, and that struggles around sexual orientation often lead to thoughts about suicide. I have learned so much, and I realize that I have much more to learn.
And with pastoral compassion and understanding we walk with people in their journey toward maturity in Christ. I am inspired as I listen to the stories of people who share vulnerably, yearning to live out God’s purposes for them. And it is critical that we are “speaking the truth in love…to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Eph 4:15). To pursue maturity, love and truth walk hand-in-hand. As an Alliance church we operate within the framework of our church family (https://www.cmalliance.org/about/beliefs); love without truth in the name of inclusion will only lead to hurt. Yet truth without love brings condemnation. Only as truth and love walk hand in hand will true transformation result. And I am inspired by the courage of those within our family at Wellspring seeking to live out their lives with honesty and conviction.
And so this brings me back to the two questions that I began with. At Wellspring I want us to strengthen the pathways to grow people and help them step into all of God’s purposes for them regardless of their age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or past. Indeed, may all of God’s people find the joy of walking honestly in their journey toward maturity in Christ.