LGBTSelf WorthStory

Why Coming Out was the Best Thing for My Ministry

coming out was the best thing I did for my ministry

Coming out took a long time for me. I barely shared my struggle with people, not even the sense that I told people that I was “struggling with same-sex attraction” kind of way. This was before I had arrived at an affirming stance of LGBT or embraced a progressive theology.

Truly, coming out was both the best and worst thing.

On the one hand, I felt free. Finally, after all these years of lurking around in shadows, of living a double life, of telling half-truths and sometimes telling flat-out lies, I could simply be just one person. I wasn’t always thinking about my sexuality, or if I was acting “straight” enough, or weighing the options of sacrificing heaven for the sake of being gay or if I should just stay miserable for the rest of my life.

Granted, I’ve had it pretty mild compared to a lot, and maybe even the majority of LGBT Christians who have had the courage to come out. I had a network of people who have supported me in the process and my family has been nothing but wonderful and understanding, even if not all of them completely agree with me.

And on the other hand, I’ve shot myself in the foot as far getting a job in a church somewhere. For a long time, all I wanted to do is lead worship. I wanted to have a music ministry, train a band up, train up new youth leaders to take over for me when I was an old fart, have a choir, you know. I was dreaming big.

But typically, churches are not looking to hire a gay worship leader, no matter how talented or anointed or passionate he is. It’s heartbreaking for me. It feels like a dream was taken from me.

Despite that, I must confess,

Coming out was the best thing I could have done for my ministry.

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I matched with a guy on Tinder while waiting in the Richmond airport a few months ago. I know, typical millennial, right? What I wasn’t expecting was this guy to tell me straight up that he was a Christian AND he was from a charismatic tradition. Can you say #UNICORN?! I was honestly very sad that I didn’t live in Richmond at the moment because I would have at least like to meet this guy.

But I gave him my number and we kept in touch. The other day he texted me:

How do you do this whole gay christian thing? Cause xtians reject you and so does the gay community... Click To Tweet

A heavy question, and I responded and followed up the following day with a phone call.

He shared with me how hard it has been since coming out. He stepped down from the worship team at his church out of respect for this leaders and their traditional view. Many of his friends began to unfriend him on Facebook.

Christ, have mercy… There is a tinge of guilt I feel in my chest when people tell me their coming out horror stories. I mean, this is also pretty mild compared to some, but still. Rejection bites.

We talked about finding our safe people, we talked about how there is still progress that’s being made, we talked about Jesus and we talked about hope.

And for (what I believe was) the first time,  this man who had been feeling like he was by himself now was hearing someone who had walked through the valley he presently was in. He wasn’t an other or an issue or some kind of congregational pariah.

He was a Christian. He was gay. And it wasn’t that a big deal anymore. Sure, there was work to be done, but I see him. And I hope that in sharing my story with him he felt seen and known.

///

I was brushing my teeth when my phone buzzed with a Facebook message from a person I knew from college. It was one of those novel length that you know will take a lot of thought to respond to.

She wasn’t totally out yet. She worked for a church and was afraid of losing that relationship with the kids she had helped raise in the ministry. Her parents told her they loved her, but she remaked that they hadn’t said much to her since she had come out. She remarked that it was hard for her to get out of bed.

I know the feeling. Trust me.

“I just need someone who’s been there to tell me it’s going to be okay.”

And so I did.

I spent the next half hour writing a response to tell her that it wasn’t going to be easy, but it would be worth it. I shared that it probably felt like part of her had died, but the part of her that died was the false self, the part she held onto in fear that the rest of the world wouldn’t love her for who she was created to be.

We talked about heart ache, and ministry, and God’s love.

She is a Christian. She is gay. And her world that was shattered is slowly being reconstructed. And I’m hoping that by telling my story, she feels like she can begin to shed more layers of false self.

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As LGBT Christians, we've got to tell our stories and tell them often. Click To Tweet

When I have these brief encounters with random people, whether it is in person or online, I recognize that just by being myself, I show people they are valid and they are not alone.

By being who God created me to be, I effectively minister to the needs of people who are in desperate need of hope.

I honestly pray for my future and ask God for a larger platform because I know my story will be effective in reaching people far from Love, far from community, far from God.

The thing about this is my story isn’t unique. The only difference between me and everyone else is that I’m actually willing to talk about it. 

You have the ability to reach people far from God.
You have the propensity to show others they are loved.
You have the mandate to inspire hope.
You have the calling to be a minister to a people group.

You just have to tell the story of what God is doing in your life. Whatever your story is, proclaim it with boldness and those who need to hear it will hear it.

Screw the haters. Be brave and God will honor that. Click To Tweet

I would never have been able to be an effective storyteller or minister without coming out of the closet.

So, my sweet friend, what closet are you hiding in? And when when will you come out?

Someone needs you to hear your story to be set free to tell theirs. Someone needs see your life so that they can finally live.

What are you waiting for?


why coming out was the best. Seriously, what’s holding you back? What part of your story have you been holding back because of fear? Let’s talk about it in the comments below. 

 

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  • Brad

    Listen to this starting at 46 mins

    • Shawn

      Brad, are you spreading the word of Jesus? Looks like you are trolling to me.

      • Brad

        Not trolling anyone. Just don’t like people who take the Bible and change it to make them feel good.

        • Max

          Brad, a reading of the scripture in historical and cultural context can affirm and welcome LGBTQ believers into the Church.

          It’s unfair to suggest that Kevin (or I or anyone else who doesn’t share your fundamentalist interpretation of the scripture) is “changing the Bible to make them feel good.”

          We have differing interpretations and theologies. Are there not many shades, patterns and hues in the Kingdom? Or must anyone who calls themselves a Christian have beliefs identical to yours?

          • Alex

            While there are different interpretation and theologies, but that does not make them all right. I AM NOT saying that you must have the exact beliefs and theologies that I have, and I AM NOT saying that I know it all. There are some people who believe doctrines and theological ideologies that are wrong and are sinful. I am not seeking to start a debate or to condemn or anything, but claiming that different “Shades of the Kingdom” and that they are all right is not something that we can do without tearing out passages of our Bible.

        • Jeremy

          Nor people (translators of many modern versions) who take the original texts and make them say things they didn’t say at all. Do the research and you will be shocked about what your Bible doesn’t actually say, but you think it does.

    • No. I think I’ll pass. But if you could give me the highlights, that would be great.
      Thanks for reading!

  • Tracing Freedom

    I wish it was that easy. I was once a youth/student pastor. Now I’m not. All my Christian life all I ever wanted to do was lead and love on students but now I am far from that. I am not even out except for 3 people outside of tumblr. I live in a community of backwoods, fundamental, homophobic, right-wingers that will never expect me. Without laws in place I would lose my job and home w/o a second thought here. And I have n o where else to go. I wish I was as brave as you, but until I can get a good paying job and get away from here…in the closet I must stay, no matter how badly I want out and for God to use my story to help others.

    • Jeremy

      Feel for you, and praying. I live in a similar place but I’m old now and tired of living the lie, come what may I am out, though discreet (mostly).

    • Hey friend-
      You are valued, loved, affirmed, and empowered. That is tough. And I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in a position like yours. But know that as you continue to pursue God, and pursue your safe community, you will know exactly what to do.

      Proud of your life. and I can’t wait to hear about the freedom that is coming from your story.

  • Stiven Peter (P)

    God created you to worship and enjoy him forever, not to affirm your sinful lifestyle.

    • Jeremy

      Sin? I think you are sinning in judging others. We not meant to be doing that according to my Bible.

      • Stiven Peter (P)

        All sin is ultimately a displacement of God and a failure to submit to him. The Bible is clear in sexual ethics and thinking that there is room for any form of homosexuality is nonsensical. The Bible is also very clear that there is a time and way to judge. Stop distorting the bible to fit your preconceived biases and thoughts.

        • Laura Bethany Taylor

          I think you either need to spend a little more time reading it, understanding the language and cultural context of it, or revise your definition of “clear”. I’m not sure what your motivation is posting those thoughts on this thread might be? It is doubtful that your comments will do anything but further alienate an entire generation of people from the church that Christ commissioned to love them. After over 20 years in ministry and in depth study of the Bible, I came to the realization that it was my “conservative” biases that were distorted and preconceived. Before condemning the lifestyle of another as “sinful” – I would encourage you to check your motives and your methods. Your comments do far more harm than good.

        • Jeremy

          How does that fit the commandment to judge not?

  • Jeremy

    Kevin, thank you so much. I’m close to last quarter if you think of 100! Lol! But the message is the same, and knowing that others face what you face is really a comfort. Appreciate what you are doing and wholeheartedly support you. Pity there’s always got to be the fundies that climb on and throw sin and their Bible at you!

  • Laura Bethany Taylor

    Kevin, Thanks for sharing your journey. I’m praying that you do find a place where your passion for worship will be valued and your leadership put to good use. When I began to affirm my gender identity in 2014 I thought I was turning my back on my ministry of teaching and writing. God has opened those doors wider than they even had been before. I’m in a church that values my insight and have written a book I hope to release soon that shares my story. I’d love to keep in touch. (You can see more about me on my blog http://www.sophiasojourn.com) I look forward to hearing more as your journey progresses. Stay strong, my friend!

  • Ruthitchka

    Kevin, a friend in my secret moms o f gays facebook group shared this with me, and it’s wonderful. I wish I had the nerve to share it with my gay, agnostic son! We moms have our secret fb group because we need safe people, too, and like you, I encourage other moms, and they encourage me, on our journeys.

    • This honors me. Thank you. And just know that as you continue to champion your child, God is working in that! Thanks so much for writing. <3

      • Ruthitchka

        Thank you. It is rare or never that someone feels honored by something I write! I am trying to trust the Holy Spirit about both my kids – they are both agnostic. I like to say I “flunked Religion Director” when I raised them…

  • Hey Kevin, thanks for sharing. Being Gay and being a Christian is at the intersection of something I call the “Both/And Life”. It’s not an either/or situation.

    You don’t have to choose between EITHER being Gay OR being a Christian. You can be BOTH Gay AND a Christian.

    I tell anyone who will listen this perspective, and my story, because I lived in the world of either/or for a long time (10+ years). It eventually led me away from God for a while.

    I found my way back to God, and Faith, through self-education, and I’m at peace living a both/and life. I wish that for anyone who wants it.

    It IS possible to thrive as both a Christian AND a Gay person.

  • Logan81

    I can definitely relate to this. I used to be in an “ex-gay” group, until God showed me that he was not just okay with me being bisexual, he loved that about me! I sent the group a long message on Facebook saying all of this, and within an hour, had a couple of people calling/messaging me saying they believed the same thing. One of them came out shortly afterward, and I’ve never seen him so happy. 🙂

    It’s definitely not been an easy road (my parents are just now starting to come around), but then again, I’ve never been one to back down from an adventure. Besides, if God thinks I’m awesome, who cares what anyone else thinks?