Dear Future Pastors, Missionaries, Servants of Our God,
I first want to say thank you. Thank you for doing what I’m not called to do— lead a congregation, serve on the mission field, shepherd the flock. Thank you for stepping into a role with immense pressure, for being the mouthpiece of God, and for being held to an impossibly high standard. Thank you for being willing to step into a spotlight that you can’t quite leave. Thank you, truly.
To the future pastors, leaders, and supporters of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray for you as I write this in my room. I recently consoled a friend who cried after a bible class because of a cruel joke a future pastor made about people who experience same-sex attraction. She cried because she couldn't believe that someone who wanted to be a pastor would say such a thing. This is why I write this.
I am an English student. People ask me what I want to do, and all I can confidently say is, “Write.” While I may never experience the weight of responsibilities that come with carrying a congregation, as a writer, I am continually reminded of the power my words and thoughts hold. I share this because I want to be clear that I am not writing this from a place of judgment of ministers or leaders of God’s people. I’m not claiming to have all of the difficulties and pains of the Church figured out. I’m writing this as a sister in Christ, a participant in Kingdom work, a person in your pews. What I see is what others see.
You study the Bible intently. You search Scripture and you know it well.You write sermons and lead small groups. But, I wonder if you forget the character of God when you mock and disregard the experiences of people who experience same-sex attraction.While you are responsible for educating and leading others, you are also responsible for loving others and walking them through the valleys and peaks of life –– through grief, joy, doubt, faithfulness, struggle, and temptation.
Remember when Jesus Christ stopped the stoning of a woman caught in adultery?
Remember when He found the disciple who betrayed Him three times and still made him the rock of the Church?
Remember when He asked His Father to forgive the very same people that were murdering him?
I beg you, be kind. Please, think about the heart of the person and be careful with your words. Look people in the eye and try to know them. Don’t be foolish enough to think you are ever in a safe place to say cruel things. Your authority and responsibility follows you into the darkest places. Like the words I write now, your voice has the power to break or build. I pray that time and time again, even when you fail at first, you choose the path that heals in the name of Jesus.
A Peer and a Person In Your Pews