Christ-Centered Ministry

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Has God put a person in your life, who is struggling with same-sex attractions/feelings or who says they are homosexual?  Perhaps they desire “change”, but they do not think change is possible.  And in all honesty, you are not sure true change is possible.  But has God clearly given you an opportunity for ministry to this person?  In talking with concerned Christians at retreats and conferences, I have discovered many brothers and sisters are not sure they are qualified or equipped to minister to that homosexual God has put in their life.  Not true!  But, doesn’t it take a counselor or pastor or someone with an advanced degree to help the struggler?  No, that’s not a requirement.  The main requirement is to be a true Bible-believing Spirit-filled follower of Jesus Christ who desires to minister God’s Word to the struggler!

BOHM seeks to help equip believers to minister to those they know and love who are homosexual or struggling with homosexual thoughts & feelings.  There is a great need for 1 on 1 ministry to this group in the body of Christ.  It is person -to -person ministry… it is soul care ministry… it is 1 on 1 discipleship… it is fellowship between believers… it is biblical accountability.  And most importantly, the ministry that takes place in this personal 1 on 1 setting is Christ-centered, not problem-centered.  All Christians can minister in this manner by using the Bible as their textbook or handbook.  The teacher is God the Holy Spirit working in the one ministering and the one receiving the ministry.  The focus is on God and His will for the present, not the past.

Key Principles for Christ-centered Soul Care

The one who ministers and the one who is receiving ministry must continually work to:

  1. Abandon problem-centeredness… for Christ-centeredness.
  2. Embrace biblical truth about the role of “life’s problems” (personal trials/tribulations/temptations) in the person’s life.
  3. Apply God’s Word to their daily life and the besetting “life problem”And this always trumps feelings, conditions, and situations.
  4. Be Christ-centered daily!  Focus on who He is and His will for the person’s life!
  5. Pray without ceasingBoth of you!!!!  Pray together!

“Life’s problems” are an attack on our faith.  Satan will use our doubts to bring us down, spiritually-speaking.  God’s desire, however, is to use these very same “life’s problems” for our good and for His glory.  He seeks to grow us and make us more Christ-like!  But we must walk by faith and not by sight.  And we must understand, faith is not a feeling; it is choosing to trust in God and take Him at His word, regardless of our feelings or circumstances.  *

One of “life’s problems” all those coming out of homosexuality will experience is the unwanted same-sex attractions/feelings that do not go away the moment they are born again.  And there is no set time frame for this to take place.  Those who do NOT do #1 above, will keep all their focus on the problem (the unwanted attractions/feelings) instead of focusing on the promises of God, and therefore will not do 2-4.  Or another way to put it is this:  to abandon problem-centeredness, we live out 2-4.  In short, we trust God and His promises such as “He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it”, and focus on God, the depth of His love for us and His will for our life, not the unwanted feelings. Then they will not be a stumbling block to the person’s coming out of homosexuality.

*For more in depth:  Love Flowed Down… It Was For Me, Chapter 3:  “Faith Is Not a Feeling”.

Encouragement & Suggestions for the Minister

So, what is the role of the one who ministers soul care to another believer.  Guide your brother or sister in Christ into the truth of God’s Word.  Do discourage continual blaming the past and other people for their hurts (sins) against them.  Yes, it affected their life, their development, their tendencies, their attraction/feelings, but move on to God’s healing by helping them focus on the present.  Help them to move forward to be the person God intends them to be.  Forgiveness issues may surface and must be dealt with in a Biblical manner.  And last but not least, encourage them to develop very personal walk with Jesus.

One last thing for the one giving soul care to one coming out of homosexuality, you must help them understand the spiritual warfare that will take place. *  Satan will immediately attack their faith in God and His Word.  Do be cognizant of this fact, and guide them into God’s Word so they have an understanding of spiritual warfare, the battle for their mind and their need to put on the armor of God.

If God calls you to help another come out of homosexuality, be willing to give of your time to listen to them and share with them God’s Word as it applies to their situation or problems? And do be transparent about how God has worked in your life. So, dear Christian, you can minister in this area.  Allow God’s love flow through you and be willing to say, “Here am I, Lord. Use me! ”

*For more in depth:  Love Flowed Down… It Was For Me, Chapter 8:  “Our Enemy Is Prowling About”.

Special Note Before Moving On

The first step toward freedom from homosexuality and the homosexual lifestyle is to be born again.  If the person God has put in your life is NOT born again, that is where you start and you invest in their life so as to minister the gospel to them.  Remember, God saves, but He wants to use you!

Keys for investing in their life are the following: *

  1. Pray, pray, pray!
  2. Develop a relationship with this person.
  3. Listen!
  4. Ask questions.
  5. Share your faith and the gospel message as the Lord leads.
  6. Instill hope for change.  (1 Corinthians 6:11)
  7. Respond in love… the love of Jesus flowing in you and through you to them.
  8. Communicate to them acceptance for them as a person, not the lifestyle (love & truth).
  9. Affirm love for the person… remember, they need Jesus.
  10. Commit to praying for them often.

For more in depth:  Love Flowed Down… It Was For Me, Chapter 9:  “Someone I Love Is Gay”.

Ministry to a Christian With a Homosexual Past (and Perhaps Present Lifestyle) 

 When I listen to believers seeking direction for their relationship with the person in their life who is gay, they are not all unbelievers, but professing Christians.  If they really are Christians, they have the power to come out of homosexuality and be changed.  The question is, do they want to?  In my case, God had gotten me into that place where my life was miserable.  God did the wooing, drawing and eventually the saving when the gospel was presented to me at the right time.  Then, I immediately got plugged into a Bible-teaching church where I received understanding that if I surrendered my life into God’s hands, by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, I would begin a wonderful process of change (sanctification) to become more and more like Jesus.  Part of that process would be healing me of same-sex attractions, thinking, desires, orientation, etc.  But I understood it meant doing things God’s way… not my way.   I wanted Jesus and the new life more than my homosexuality.  (Good question to pose to the one you are ministering to!)

But those in bondage to homosexuality, who are walking by the flesh and not by the Spirit, remain deceived by the glorification of the lifestyle in the media, by the gay-theology, and by those churches that affirm homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle.   So as you minister to them, they will often have their answers down pat.  Sometimes it’s a twisting of the scriptures or denying that a certain verse means what it says.  Or they will say it is not relevant to now.  You, dear friend, must simply speak the truth in love.  (Ephesians 4:15)  Your ministry guide is the Bible.  Use it!  And pray without ceasing for the one you know and love who continues to live the lifestyle, trying to convince you and anyone else, they are born that way.

But, like me, some may be new believers desiring change.  Therefore, when they share with you specific “life problems” they are dealing with, guide them into the Word.  Be discerning of their spiritual needs and take them to the verse that will help.  Remember, the power for change is not in testimonies or man’s words and philosophies, but in God’s Word and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  So, you must feed them God’s Word for ministry to them.  Let’s just start with a few verses concerning God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

  • “Preach the word!  Be ready in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  For a time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”  (2 Timothy 4:19)
  • “the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  (2 Timothy 3:15b-17)
  • ‘”It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.  The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”’  (John 6:63)
  • “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.  (Romans 8:9)
  • “However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth… “  (John 16:13a; See also:  John 14:16-17)
  • “Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.”  (John 17:17)
  • “but be filled with the Spirit.  (Ephesians 5:18b)   

In the next section, are truths for specific “life problems” and truth’s God’s Word directs us to do… that I found especially helpful in coming out of homosexuality.  Obviously, these are just a few of the things I learned to help me… but it’s my hope it will help you see you can minister to the homosexual and gives you a bit of a starting point to prepare for 1 on 1 ministry.  Keep in mind, the person’s walk with the Lord and the work God is presently doing, will determine what truths in God’s Word you use to help them grow and change!

Quick Reference: Truths For Ministry 

1.  They may not feel like they are born again.  Therefore, they doubt there is really any power to change.  They only know the very real same-sex feelings and desires they struggle with.

  • “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

2.  Agree with the Lord we are not only sinners, but that homosexuality is sin, so living that lifestyle is not an option, whether you want to or not.

  • “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  (Romans 3:23)
  • “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.  For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”  (Romans 1: 26-27)
  • “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites… will inherit the kingdom of God.  (1 Cor. 6: 9-10)
  • “Come out from among them and be separate.”  (2 Cor. 6:17)
  • “That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.”  (Eph. 4:22)

3.  Trust God and walk by faith, taking Him at His Word… not allowing the same-sex attractions, feelings, thoughts or dreams trip you up in your new walk with the Lord.  In His time they will go away and be replaced with opposite-sex attractions, feelings and thoughts.  Allow Jesus to be Lord, yielding to Him.  Encourage them to move forward in their walk with the Lord, understanding all you have by God’s grace!  We are not only saved by grace but we walk by grace.  And His grace is sufficient!

  • “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God… For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  (Eph. 2:8, 10)
  • “Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it.”  (Phil. 1:6)
  • “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  (Phil. 4:13)
  • “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  (Romans 12:1&2)
  • “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”  (Phil. 2:12-13)
  • “Walk by the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”  (Gal. 5:16-17)
  • “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  (Gal. 5:24-25)
  • “…Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”  (1 Cor. 10:13b)
  • “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  (2 Peter 1:3-4)
  • “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  (2 Peter 3:18a) 

4.  Live out God’s principle of “flee and pursue”.

  • “Flee sexual immorality!”  (1 Cor. 6:18)
  • “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry!”  (Putting self and your homosexual lifestyle before Jesus!)  (1 Cor. 10:14)
  • “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts… “  (1 Cor. 14:1)
  • “… flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith… “  (1 Tim. 6:11-12a)
  • “Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.”  (1 Peter 3:11)

Final Exhortation 

In closing out this 1 on 1 ministry page, I’d like to give you this list of more things I learned that was very important in my successfully coming out of homosexuality.  As I grew in Christ, I:

  • Developed a personal love relationship with your loving God.  And the realization of His personal love toward me became THE motivation for me to want to please Him!  This must be encouraged.
  • Gained an understanding of spiritual warfare.  (Chapter 8 Love Flowed Down.)  Satan will seek to train wreck our faith through doubt and deception.  This deserves study!
  • Gained understanding that my basic needs for love and security should be found in Christ.
  • Must fellowship with Bible-believing Christians.
  • Gained understanding that same-sex feelings developed due to a combination of my experiences in my childhood and my personal make-up.  I was not born homosexual.  I should not hang on to the past or keep my focus on the past.

Also, for others (as most these didn’t apply to me) I learned the following are important for healing:

  • Do not continue to dwell on people who may have abused you or who you perceived did not affirm love toward you and/or protect you as a child.
  • Do not CONTINUALLY talk about people who have hurt you (spouses, parents, etc.)  This is not necessary for healing of your hurts.   Trust God to deal with that person or persons.  The Bible calls this tale-baring or gossip and it is sin.  Proverbs has much to say on this; check it out.  Instead, pray for the person who hurt you and focus on God’s will for your life.  Your heart will change toward that person and that will help you heal.  And, you will be able to:
  • Forgive others.  You say you cannot forgive those who have hurt you but you must.  Jesus commanded it… and you can do it!!

So, let me exhort you!  Do your homework and find scriptures that apply to these things.  98% of it can be found in your Bible.  If you’d like a great ministry tool with a powerful testimony, reflections of God’s marvelous working in a life through a living out of the Scriptures by the power of the Holy Spirit, that resulted in healing and restoration, I suggest you get a copy of my book. * It also includes many other important things like developing healthy relationships, more help for ministry, emotional dependency issues and more!  If God puts someone in your life who is homosexual, be encouraged.  You can minister the truth in love.  Whatever their life’s problems, pray for wisdom so you may guide them into the truth of God’s Word for that issue.  Remember the key principles for Christ-centered soul care discussed in the beginning and keep them as your guide.  Pray for God to use you in a mighty way.  He will equip you through His Word.  And to God be the glory! 

*  Love Flowed Down… It Was For Me, Ruth Christian, 2008.  (ISBN 978-1-60477-519-8)

Other helpful books for both involved in the 1 on 1 ministry, as well as family and friends, go to resource page.

 

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