Provide a safe space to learn the truth of God’s love

Dear Christian Friend,

This issue has most likely touched you personally. Someone to whom you are close is wrestling with same-sex attraction or their gender identity. The numbers are overwhelming. One in five members of Generation Z identifies as part of the LGBTQ community. With Millennials, it is one in nine. Overall that is more than seven percent of America’s total adult population. Again, odds are this includes someone you know. You’ve wondered, “What do I say to him?” “How do I help her?”

Some of these individuals belong to our congregations—at least for now. Most who are struggling with these issues eventually walk away from church. For the majority who leave, the reason is not that they know their lifestyle contradicts their church’s Scriptural teaching. Heartbreakingly, they leave because they don’t feel they can talk to anyone about it—not their pastor, not their Lutheran high school teacher, perhaps not even their parents or friends. They are anxious about disappointing these people. They are afraid of how any conversation would play out. So, they stay silent. Then, eventually, they slip away from church without having ever talked to anyone.

WELS Congregational Services assembled a task force—Christian counselors, high school teachers, college professors, pastors—who have experience interacting with individuals struggling with sexuality and gender identity. This task force has been discussing how we might better minister to these individuals. They identified one needed strategy: creating an online “safe space” where people with gender or sexuality struggles can go to learn what God’s Word has to say to them.

This new website will contain video-based devotions and Bible studies that apply law and gospel to these topics. It will help individuals see that their true identity can only be found in Christ Jesus. It will assure them of Christ’s love for them, the total forgiveness he won for them, and his promise to help them as they struggle with their sin. It will provide the opportunity for the individual to connect anonymously with someone who can provide compassionate, Scripture-rooted discussion. It will gently encourage them to realize they can talk to fellow Christians—a parent, a pastor, a teacher—who love them and want to help.

The website will also offer Scriptural encouragement and guidance to the loved ones of those struggling—parents, family, and friends. It will share how to engage their loved one in ways that demonstrate both love for the struggling individual and the truth of God’s Word.

Once this website is built, it will be a valuable resource. As pastors or parents or teachers share the existence of this site, individuals quietly struggling with same-sex attraction or gender identity will have a simple, non-threatening way to begin receiving spiritual encouragement. They’ll be able to have an initial conversation online, which is better than them walking away from church having had no conversation at all.

This ministry effort not only requires the construction of a new website, but the writing, filming, and editing of multiple video-based resources. Your gift will help us accomplish this to bring the power of the life-changing gospel to those fighting this painful internal battle.

Your servant in Christ,
Jonathan Hein
Coordinator, WELS Congregational Services

Prayer: Our Savior God, we praise you that when we turned away from you, you did not let us go to our own destruction. Instead, you lovingly pursued us with the promise of salvation and fulfilled that promise through Jesus, who lived a holy life, died to pay for our sins, and rose from death to assure us of his victory. We thank you that, through Jesus, we have been born again into a renewed life of thanksgiving empowered by your Holy Spirit. Lord, we pray that you would bless our efforts to reach and support individuals struggling under the heavy burden of temptation and deception. We know that your Word is powerful and effective and strengthens our faith in our redemption through Jesus. Amen.