Exodus International Reaching the World in Grace & Truth Fri, 21 Jun 2013 22:42:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Reaching the World in Grace & Truth Exodus International no 2009 Exodus International Reaching the World in Grace & Truth Exodus International /wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg Watch Alan Chambers opening address at the 38th Annual Exodus Freedom Conference /2013/06/watch-alan-manning-chambers-opening-address-at-the-38th-annual-exodus-freedom-conference/ /2013/06/watch-alan-manning-chambers-opening-address-at-the-38th-annual-exodus-freedom-conference/#comments Thu, 20 Jun 2013 04:41:29 +0000 Exodus International /?p=10819 Watch Alan Manning Chambers opening address at the 38th Annual Exodus Freedom Conference.

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Exodus International to Shut Down /2013/06/exodus-international-to-shut-down/ /2013/06/exodus-international-to-shut-down/#comments Thu, 20 Jun 2013 03:06:27 +0000 Exodus International /?p=10814 Exodus International to Shut Down

Thirty-seven-year-old ministry for those with same-sex attraction marks its last national conference 

Irvine, Calif. (June 19, 2013) — Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality announced tonight that it’s closing its doors after three-plus decades of ministry. The Board of Directors reached a decision after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization’s place in a changing culture.

“We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change – and they want to be heard,” Tony Moore, Board member of Exodus. The message came less than a day after Exodus released a statement apologizing (www.exodusinternational.org/apology) to the gay community for years of undue judgment by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole.

“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus. “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”

Chambers continued: “From a Judeo-Christian perspective, gay, straight or otherwise, we’re all prodigal sons and daughters. Exodus International is the prodigal’s older brother, trying to impose its will on God’s promises, and make judgments on who’s worthy of His Kingdom. God is calling us to be the Father – to welcome everyone, to love unhindered.”

For these reasons, the Board of Directors unanimously voted to close Exodus International and begin a separate ministry. “This is a new season of ministry, to a new generation,” said Chambers. “Our goals are to reduce fear (reducefear.org), and come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.”

Local affiliated ministries, which have always been autonomous, will continue, but not under the name or umbrella of Exodus.

Exodus President, Alan Chambers, is available for interviews. For press credentials or to set up an interview, contact Amy Tracy at 407/808-9831 or 719/355-9075; amytracybusiness@gmail.com. For additional information and a schedule of activities, please go to http://www.exodusfreedom.org 

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Exodus Int’l President to the Gay Community: “We’re Sorry” /2013/06/exodus-intl-president-to-the-gay-community-were-sorry/ /2013/06/exodus-intl-president-to-the-gay-community-were-sorry/#comments Wed, 19 Jun 2013 19:14:21 +0000 Exodus International /?p=10798 Exodus Int’l President to the Gay Community: “We’re Sorry”

Leader of 37-year old ministry admits grave errors

Irvine, Calif. (June 19, 2013) — Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, issued an apology to the gay community for years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization and the Church as a whole.

The apology (/apology) dovetails with the ministry’s 38th annual conference in Irvine, Calif. – and the Thursday, June 20, airing of the television broadcast “God & Gays” on Our America with Lisa Ling. On Ling’s program, Exodus President, Alan Chambers, sits down with gay and lesbian people hurt by the Church with the goal of reconciliation.

“It is strange to be someone who has both been hurt by the Church’s treatment of the LGBTQ community, and also to be someone who must apologize for being part of the very system of ignorance that perpetuated that hurt,” said Chambers. “Today it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church.”

Chambers also said:

“I am sorry for the pain and hurt that many of you have experienced.  I am sorry some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents.

“I am sorry I didn’t stand up to people publicly ‘on my side’ who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him, I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.

“More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection.  I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives.

“You have never been my enemy.  I am very sorry that I have been yours. I hope changes in my own life, as well as the ones we announce tonight regarding Exodus International, will bring resolution, and show I am serious in both my regret and offer of friendship. I pledge that future endeavors will be focused on peace and common good.”

Portions of the Exodus Freedom conference, June 19-23 at Concordia College, are open to the media. Live streaming is available for the main sessions. The event draws men, women parents, teens, pastors and ministry leaders for four days of teaching and support. Many attendees are attracted to the same sex, and desire to live in congruence with their faith. Others attend looking for help in coming alongside those with same-sex attraction.

Exodus President, Alan Chambers, is available for interviews. For press credentials or to set up an interview, contact Amy Tracy at 407/808-9831 or 719/355-9075. For additional information and a schedule of activities, please go to http://www.exodusfreedom.org.

A preview of “Our America with Lisa Ling” can be seen here (/2013/06/sneak-peak-lisa-ling-special-report-god-gays-with-alan-chambers-video/).

 

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I Am Sorry /2013/06/i-am-sorry/ /2013/06/i-am-sorry/#comments Wed, 19 Jun 2013 18:55:36 +0000 Alan Chambers /?p=10794 Alan ChambersThree years ago, Leslie and I began a very public conversation with Our America’s Lisa Ling, from the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) regarding some of our deeply held beliefs about Christianity and the LGBT community.  Today, we have decided to carry this public conversation even further. While this conversation has and may well continue to be met with many different responses from supporters and critics, it is our desire to keep having these honest discussions in the hopes of arriving to a place of peace.

Several months ago, this conversation led me to call Lisa Ling to take another step on this messy journey.  I asked if she would, once again, help us add to the unfolding story by covering my apology to the people who have been hurt by Exodus International.  Our ministry has been public and therefore any acknowledgement of wrong must also be public.  I haven’t always been the leader of Exodus, but I am now and someone must finally own and acknowledge the hurt of others. I do so anxiously, but willingly.

It is strange to be someone who has both been hurt by the church’s treatment of the LGBT community, and also to be someone who must apologize for being part of the very system of ignorance that perpetuated that hurt. Today it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church.

It is also strange to be an outcast from powerful portions of both the gay community and the Christian community.  Because I do not completely agree with the vocal majorities in either group and am forging a new place of peaceful service in and through both, I will likely continue to be an outsider to some degree. I imagine it to be very much like a man I recently heard speak at a conference I attended, Father Elias Chacour, the Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Israel. He is an Arab Christian, Palestinian by birth, and a citizen of Israel. Talk about a walking contradiction.  When I think of the tension of my situation I am comforted by the thought of him and his.

My desire is to completely align with Christ, his Good News for all and his offer of peace amidst the storms of life. My wife Leslie and my beliefs center around grace, the finished work of Christ on the cross and his offer of eternal relationship to any and all that believe. Our beliefs do not center on “sin” because “sin” isn’t at the center of our faith. Our journey hasn’t been about denying the power of Christ to do anything – obviously he is God and can do anything.

With that, here is an expanded version of the apology I offered during my recent interview with Lisa Ling to the people within the LGBTQ community who have been hurt by the Church, Exodus International, and me.  I realize some within the communities for which I apologize will say I don’t have the right, as one man, to do so on their behalf.  But if the Church is a body, with many members being connected to the whole, then I believe that what one of us does right we all do right, and what one of us does wrong we all do wrong. We have done wrong, and I stand with many others who now recognize the need to offer apologies and make things right.  I believe this apology – however imperfect – is what God the Father would have me do.

To Members of the LGBTQ Community:

In 1993 I caused a four-car pileup.  In a hurry to get to a friend’s house, I was driving when a bee started buzzing around the inside of my windshield. I hit the bee and it fell on the dashboard. A minute later it started buzzing again with a fury. Trying to swat it again I completely missed the fact that a city bus had stopped three cars in front of me.  I also missed that those three cars were stopping, as well.  Going 40 miles an hour I slammed into the car in front of me causing a chain reaction. I was injured and so were several others.  I never intended for the accident to happen. I would never have knowingly hurt anyone. But I did. And it was my fault. In my rush to get to my destination, fear of being stung by a silly bee, and selfish distraction, I injured others.

I have no idea if any of the people injured in that accident have suffered long term effects. While I did not mean to hurt them, I did. The fact that my heart wasn’t malicious did not lessen their pain or their suffering. I am very sorry that I chose to be distracted that fall afternoon, and that I caused so much damage to people and property.  If I could take it all back I absolutely would. But I cannot. I pray that everyone involved in the crash has been restored to health.

Recently, I have begun thinking again about how to apologize to the people that have been hurt by Exodus International through an experience or by a message. I have heard many firsthand stories from people called ex-gay survivors. Stories of people who went to Exodus affiliated ministries or ministers for help only to experience more trauma. I have heard stories of shame, sexual misconduct, and false hope. In every case that has been brought to my attention, there has been swift action resulting in the removal of these leaders and/or their organizations. But rarely was there an apology or a public acknowledgement by me. 

And then there is the trauma that I have caused. There were several years that I conveniently omitted my ongoing same-sex attractions. I was afraid to share them as readily and easily as I do today. They brought me tremendous shame and I hid them in the hopes they would go away. Looking back, it seems so odd that I thought I could do something to make them stop. Today, however, I accept these feelings as parts of my life that will likely always be there. The days of feeling shame over being human in that way are long over, and I feel free simply accepting myself as my wife and family does. As my friends do. As God does.

Never in a million years would I intentionally hurt another person. Yet, here I sit having hurt so many by failing to acknowledge the pain some affiliated with Exodus International caused, and by failing to share the whole truth about my own story. My good intentions matter very little and fail to diminish the pain and hurt others have experienced on my watch. The good that we have done at Exodus is overshadowed by all of this.

Friends and critics alike have said it’s not enough to simply change our message or website. I agree. I cannot simply move on and pretend that I have always been the friend that I long to be today. I understand why I am distrusted and why Exodus is hated. 

Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine. 

More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection.  I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives. For the rest of my life I will proclaim nothing but the whole truth of the Gospel, one of grace, mercy and open invitation to all to enter into an inseverable relationship with almighty God.

I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them.  I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek. My beliefs about these things will never again interfere with God’s command to love my neighbor as I love myself.   

You have never been my enemy. I am very sorry that I have been yours. I hope the changes in my own life, as well as the ones we announce tonight regarding Exodus International, will bring resolution, and show that I am serious in both my regret and my offer of friendship. I pledge that future endeavors will be focused on peace and common good.

Moving forward, we will serve in our pluralistic culture by hosting thoughtful and safe conversations about gender and sexuality, while partnering with others to reduce fear, inspire hope, and cultivate human flourishing.

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The Fragmentation of Evangelicalism and the Precipitation of the Missional Movement — Part Nine /2013/06/missional-movement-nine/ /2013/06/missional-movement-nine/#comments Thu, 13 Jun 2013 18:24:38 +0000 Exodus International /?p=10759 Picture of Brad Sargent

Brad Sargent

Today we are excited to share with you the final post of a nine-part series by Brad Sargent concerning his thoughts on the Missional Movement. This article is cross-posted, with permission, from Brad’s personal blog titled Futuristguy. Brad served on staff with Exodus from 1991-1996, as Resource and Publication Specialist. He recently shared at our Leadership Reunion that Exodus is positioning itself as an important resource within the Missional Movement. Alan Chambers states,

Brad has been a key friend and ally as we transition Exodus from a ministry firmly rooted in the ‘I have to DO something’ movement to a ministry focused on encouraging the church to live their faith and share their lives.  I hope you will take some time to read and digest all that Brad offers here.  For more info on other missional movements: www.missioalliance.org.

We hope you find this series informative and helpful (all emphasized points and linking is Brad’s.)

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The Fragmentation of Evangelicalism
and the Precipitation of the Missional Movement

Part Nine: How These Frameworks Play Out in Our Overall Attitudes, Styles of Interaction, and Community Connections

Review and Preview

In Parts Seven and Eight, we looked at two key issues in how the organizations we create either enhance or hinder discipleship.

  • Access to Discipleship Systems – Is our entry/intake system radically inclusive, temporarily tolerant, or radically exclusive?
  • Discipleship Activities – Is our discipleship system grounded in license, liberty, or legalism?

Another way to consider these concerns is how they work (or don’t) to keep people in the game, so to speak. Have we established an open system, a “centered set” that enhances cooperation around what the Holy Spirit is doing in someone’s life, to keep people engaged and cooperating with God’s principles and His providence? Or have we created a closed system, a “bound set” that creates a competitive environment to shut out and shun those who don’t measure up to “God’s standards” (a term we often use to hide our own idolatrous ideals)?

In Part Nine, we’ll look at some details of how these open or closed systems affect individuals, relationships for peers or partner organizations, and community dynamics – again, using images to illustrate the concepts.

Who’s In and Who’s Out? – Discipleship Access Issues

I’d like to revisit the question: How would our church or ministry look if it related to all kinds of people the same ways that Jesus Christ did? Oddly, that question about access to discipleship doesn’t seem to be a question that every Christian organization even wants to answer – at least, not overtly. However, they do demonstrate their answer by the ways they act. And unfortunately, too many churches, ministries, and Christian agencies seem to be about “spiritual eugenics” instead of about welcoming people to find out about Jesus Christ and grow in their faith.

I know … that’s a stark and even shocking metaphor! If you know anything about eugenics, then spiritual eugenics sounds horrible. And you’re right, it is! But, unfortunately, it is also an apt analogy.

The early eugenics movement was supposedly about having a stronger, healthier population. That sounds good, but it devolved into creating idealized standards about purity and performance. And history has recorded how 20th-century movements influenced by eugenics promoted everything from sterilization to euthanization of people from particular races, or with developmental disabilities, or from particular enemy cultures. People who don’t measure up are outsiders. They are devalued and disrespected, marginalized and minimized.

From a missional perspective, this sort of negation of our humanity is unconscionable. It denies any role we would have about being peacemakers. It contradicts our basic mission imperative to disciple all peoples, because all individuals bear the image of God who created us – despite our being fallen, imperfect creatures. I would even go so far to say that this imposition of exclusion is a form of spiritual abuse – misusing spiritual authority to harm others.

What kind of access to discipleship does our environment demonstrate? Here are some questions to explore, and then some of my thoughts on different systems appear in the chart that follows them.

  • What kind of goals do we inspire or squelch in our congregation participants?
  • What main emotional responses does our approach draw out or put into people? Guilt? Shame? Fear? Relief? Sense of safety and protection?
  • What roles do leaders play in shaping the environment? Are leaders too absent, too prominent, too dominant?
  • If we’ve got conditions for attendance, what are they? And where do we get them from? Are they primarily from the Old Testament? Gospels? New Testament?
  • If our leaders and our theology statements quote the Old Testament a lot, how might that mean we are expecting the Church to be more like the theocratic nation of Israel that rules our neighbors, than like a body of sojourning ambassadors in a host culture? Do we expect to give access only to those who comply with the Mosaic Law – or with our doctrinal statements, or our leaders?
  • What about conditions we set for people’s ministry involvement. If some people are discipled by learning through working together, since for them believing starts with belonging, can our organization offer anything to them?
  • How well do we hold truth and love in tension? Are we okay with imperfection? Too relaxed about sin? How do we relate falling short with access to discipleship – if at all?
  • Do we journey with people as they go on a unique walk with Jesus from their starting point or do we expect them to conform to our starting point and our particular programs?
  • Where do challenging people to grow, to develop correctness, and to accept correction fit in with how we relate with one another? Are all of those good things? How might they be overdone and thus badly done?
  • If people come into our group but eventually it is clear that they are not really moving forward, what do we tend to do?

(Click on the chart to bring up a screen that gives a more clear view of the text and images.)

Chart 3 Discipleship Access Key Details

 

After you’ve considered Chart #3 on Access to Discipleship, think through these questions:

  • What one access approach you feel most describes the congregation you associate with?
  • What aspects of your community’s approach most resonate with its description in the chart? Why do you think that is?
  • What aspects of your community’s approach least resonate with its chart description? Why do you think that is?
  • What other observations do you have about the chart, how it compares and contrasts the three approaches, any descriptions that seem excessive, or perhaps elements that need to be added?

What’s Okay and What’s Not – Discipleship Activities Issues

I’d like to revisit the key questions I posed earlier on discipleship activities: What would people’s journeys toward Jesus Christ look like if they connected with our learning community of disciples? How would/should being part of us affect them in their identity and status, character and values, behaviors and beliefs?

When it comes to patterns our journey could take, there are three basic possibilities that our learning community can promote:

  • Orbit Around. Although there may be lot of movement, ultimately the action is locked into a very narrow arc of activity around the same starting point. Think of a tetherball and pole – it never truly has a forward trajectory, just a repeat circularity.
  • Move Forward. Despite any setbacks, ultimately there is progress ahead to something beyond where we originally were. This kind of trajectory has a starting place, an ending point, and a pathway in between.
  • Sucked In. In this version, the ending point and process of your journey conforms to someone else’s orbit. Think of a whirlpool, where you are swallowed in the vortex of their orbit. So, basically, another person or their program hijacks your journey to conform totheirs.

It may not look like rocket science, but in a way, it actually is. Spiritual transformation should be about movement – and the right kind of movement toward the right goal, even if the exact path may vary.

What kind of disciples do our interactions and learning activities shape? Here are some questions and reflections to explore, followed by a chart with some of my thoughts on these subjects.

  • What kind of follower of Christ does our learning community tend to create, in terms of goals and movement toward them? Regardless of whatever are our overtly stated methods, what does the real “hidden curriculum” infused throughout the education actually dictate that we become like?
  • What roles do other followers play in people’s learning activities and trajectories? Is it hands-off and do your own thing, challenging to change, or forcing to conform?
  • How well do we counterbalance identity, character, and behaviors? Do we integrate them all in our being “in Jesus Christ”? Or is our integration point somewhere, someone, or something else? Do we communicate that all aspects of our being and doing are up for transformation by the Spirit, or not?
  • Which one of these three bumper-sticker theology slogans best describes our overall emphasis:
    • “Come as you are, and be who you are.”
    • “Come as you are, but don’t leave as you came.”
    • “Come as you are, and become what we say.”
  • What are the differences between acceptance of versus toleration toward versusperseverance with people who are different? How do these apply in relating to people who are “in sin”?
  • How do we validate someone’s personhood without validating all of their behaviors?
  • What do you think about this statement? “No trajectory is without turning points, no journey without junctures.”
  • What do you think of using the following four elements for tracking our personal accounts of transformation in Christ – entry, trajectory, journey, and destiny? Is any element not needed, and/or is there some other element that is missing?
  • If you believe the journey pathway is (or should be) the same for all believers, how did you reach that conclusion? Or is it an assumption/presupposition, and not a conclusion?
  • In Acts 15, the question before leaders in the early Church was whether gentiles had to become Jews first – conforming to all the Mosaic Law before they could become followers of Christ. If we seek to make other people become like us before or while they follow Christ, how does that differ from what these Judaizers did?

(Click on the chart to bring up a screen that gives a more clear view of the text and images.)

Chart 4 Discipleship Activities Key Details

 

After you’ve considered Chart #4 on Discipleship Activities, think through these questions:

  • What one access approach you feel most describes the congregation you associate with?
  • What aspects of your community’s approach most resonate with its description in the chart? Why do you think that is?
  • What aspects of your community’s approach least resonate with its chart description? Why do you think that is?
  • What other observations do you have about the chart, how it compares and contrasts the three approaches, any descriptions that seem excessive, or perhaps elements that need to be added?

Conclusion

I see Parts Seven, Eight, and Nine as providing a kind of capstone on the meaning of missionaland why some streams in contemporary North American Christianity may or may not resonate with it. If missional truly is about a paradoxical way that is welcoming and mutually transforming, then it likely won’t appeal to individuals in various other streams who remain committed to the primary approach combination that their stream has been known for, and may clarify and strengthen other streams. In my observation, these divide out as follows:

  • Progressives, Emergents, and Mainlines are most likely welcoming and communally affirming.
  • Missionals, Emergings, and Evangelicals are likely welcoming and mutually transforming.
  • Neo-Reformeds, Conservatives, and Fundamentalists are likely qualifying (or rejecting) and religiously conforming.

Again, let me stress that these approaches aren’t just the attitudes of access and activities for discipleship involving self-identified members of LGBTQ communities – they will be used for anyone and everyone. However, it just so happens that LGBTQ seems to be the current “barometer group” for indicating the environment of pressure then toward change, and what the “spiritual weather” is these days for ministry at the margins of society. They represent a key set of questions about whether their LGBTQ identity trumps an identity in Christ or not, how compatible their alternative subculture’s set of values is with Christian paradigms, and whether various beliefs and behaviors

But, I do believe we could see that change dramatically in the next 10 to 15 years. As denominational stances on LGBTQ solidify, other groups in our increasingly pluralistic society may become key indicators of our actual discipleship approaches. For instance, perhaps immigrant and refugee groups will come to the forefront, with questions about how racial or ethnic identity meshes with identity in Christ. Are partial value sets from other background cultures and world religions compatible with Christianity, and how do we tell? What beliefs and behaviors from one’s home culture and prior religion can be represented or adapted without harm to a Christian paradigm?

We will always face complex questions about Christianity and culture. The core issue for those who are missional will be whether we continue to engage such questions and embrace our neighbors who bring them to us, or withdraw due to culture shock or spiritual anemia. I hope and pray we keep on a forward trajectory as people of peace who, to paraphrase Brother Maynard, “Live our faith and share our life.”

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Posts in this series:

The Fragmentation of Evangelicalism and the Precipitation of the Missional Movement

Brad Sargent served on staff with Exodus from 1991-1996, as Resource and Publication Specialist. We are so grateful for his past and present contributions and friendship. You can follow all of Brad’s writings at his personal blog titled Futuristguy.

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The Fragmentation of Evangelicalism and the Precipitation of the Missional Movement — Part Eight /2013/06/missional-movement-eight/ /2013/06/missional-movement-eight/#comments Thu, 13 Jun 2013 17:57:08 +0000 Exodus International /?p=10758 Today we are excited to share with you the eigth post of a nine-part series by Brad Sargent concerning his thoughts on the Missional Movement. This article is cross-posted, with permission, from Brad’s personal blog titled Futuristguy. Brad served on staff with Exodus from 1991-1996, as Resource and Publication Specialist. He recently shared at our Leadership Reunion that Exodus is positioning itself as an important resource within the Missional Movement. Alan Chambers states,

Brad has been a key friend and ally as we transition Exodus from a ministry firmly rooted in the ‘I have to DO something’ movement to a ministry focused on encouraging the church to live their faith and share their lives.  I hope you will take some time to read and digest all that Brad offers here.  For more info on other missional movements: www.missioalliance.org.

We hope you find this series informative and helpful (all emphasized points and linking is Brad’s.)

___

The Fragmentation of Evangelicalism
and the Precipitation of the Missional Movement

Part Eight: The Big Picture of Features and Frameworks in Our Discipleship Systems – Approaches to Discipleship Activities

Review/Preview

In Part Seven, we considered what it looks like to be a congregation that either welcomes, conditionally accepts, or rejects specific kinds of individuals or groups who do (or might) want to follow Jesus Christ as His disciple. That was about access to discipleship. In Part Eight, we’ll look at these approaches’ potential companion parts in discipleship activities and their focuses.

What’s Okay and What’s Not – Discipleship Activities Issues

Once people are insiders in a discipleship community, what happens then? As I’ve watched various systems operate, it seems to boil down to three basic approaches to how we build disciples and what we focus on.

Are they:

  • Communally Affirming – automatically accepting of people’s self-labeled personal identityand social group status, with no need or intent for either to change?
  • Mutually Transforming – gently developing in one another deeply redemptive character change toward Christ-likeness and comprehensive, biblically-rooted values?
  • Religiously Conforming – strongly focused on external behavior modification and public adherence to precise doctrinal beliefs to conform to the standards for acceptance laid out by authoritarian leaders?

I would argue that the “mutually transforming” approach is the most consistent with being missional. It encourages challenging of one another to go deeper into all biblical imperatives and values on personal morality and social ethics – plus learning to apply discernment and wisdom on issues where the Bible does not give us formal, specific commandments. But it does all this in an environment where we can cultivate freedom of conscience and responsible choice to follow Jesus as a devoted disciple, while considering how our choices affect others.

So, the mutually transforming approach does not allow all the power to be in the hands of individuals – whether those are leaders or parishioners. Instead, it promotes relational interdependence (liberty with altruism) rather than false independence of self (license, antinomianism) or false dependence on leaders (legalism, authoritarianism). This is the ideal, but is it real?

As I’ve shared about this with friends from the evangelical and missional streams, the one main push-back I get is that it is too easy to act “nice” and welcoming, but there is a bait-and-switch that goes on which creates mistrust. As one friend put it, the label may say “welcoming and mutually transforming, but that turns out to be “temporarily tolerance with delayed religious conformity.” It is difficult to keep a paradoxical connection between both individual priesthood of the believer with true freedom of conscience to choose and act – and the kind of mutual one-another commands of what God wants for His people as a community of the redeemed that is growing more like Christ.

I see some of the key issues being: What would people’s journeys toward Jesus Christ look like if they connected with our learning community of disciples? How would/should being part of us affect them in their identity and status, character and values, behaviors and beliefs? Would participants be affirmed and endorsed to stay who they are and whatever they do? Would they be challenged to change course to develop more Christ-likeness in various dimensions of personhood? Would they be drawn into someone’s program and have their course enforced and their identity, character, and behavior modified to what is deemed acceptable?

Discipleship activities implies some kind of action and movement, so it makes sense that one of the big issues in discipleship is the kind of pattern of movement we create in following Jesus. Hopefully, we are in a trajectory that ultimately moves us forward together in becoming more like Christ. But we could end up orbiting around an integration point, in which case there might be a lot of activity, but circling around a fixed point is not the same as a forward trajectory. We might be static, standing our ground on a specific set of supposed doctrinal truths and righteous ways, but being stuck and having no dynamic personal change or social impact of our faith.

Another big issue is what in us actually moves or changes as we go on that journey. I’d suggest that if we are submitting our lives to Christ as Lord and the Holy Spirit’s transforming work, then we should expect potentially anything and everything to be open for change.

This includes:

  • Our identity and status. This is where we ground our personal and social existence – our home base from where we connect with others, and to which we always return.
  • Our character and values. This encompasses our morals, ethics, and aesthetics – how we treat ourselves and other individuals, social groups, and all creation. It also involves our level of maturity, discernment, and wisdom.
  • Our behaviors and beliefs. If our character constitutes what we abstractly value in the ways we act, our behavior shows what we concretely do. We can perform behaviors without the support of underlying character, but that is forced. Usually, what character we have developed drives us to consistently act in line with it – unless someone or something interferes.

All three of these sets of elements to our personhood and paradigm are crucial. However, I am of the mind that values are among the deepest, unseen drivers of who we are and what we do. Our identity and status are closer to the surface and part of a culture we create. And any behaviors and beliefs that come from compliance to an external authority figure aren’t genuinely deep. So, the ideal would be having all of the six elements line up from a deep and consistent paradigm. And that is an activity we can participate in as God changes us, but it is a task beyond what we can do on our own.

But then, the word transformation itself implies forming ourselves to something beyond ourselves. As Christians, it should be obvious that we are being transformed to be more like Jesus (even if that isn’t always the case). When we belong to Christ and agree to be His bondservants, we don’t get to proclaim any area off-limits to Him. So, the way I see it, spiritual transformation in Christ involves movement on all of these dimensions – all of who we are, and everything we do. And they do affect us deeply!

For instance, it is easy for those of us who have been harmed by malignant ministers to view our identity as “victim of spiritual abuse.” While that is an important stage to go through in acknowledging that we actually were harmed by supposed church leaders and/or fellow Christians, if we stay in a victim identity we will not grow. At some point, a better identity is that of “spiritual abuse survivor.” Otherwise, we may find ourselves stuck in the past and passivity instead of moving forward toward a more positive and healed future.

We must be open to identity change as a key to having everything else about ourselves transformed. I would also argue that, ultimately, our identity must be “in Christ Jesus.” That is one of the more frequent phrases in the New Testament epistles, and I believe it represents our deepest and truest point for integrating who we are and what we do. Our identity should not remain in what we used to do or what’s been done to us, not in what we feel about our former life or in what we plan to do, not in our cultural base or social status. Any and all of those tend to create an integration point around which we orbit, while pursuing Christlike character as those in Christ who follow Jesus tends to give us a forward trajectory.

On the subject of conforming “behaviors and beliefs,” when I shared this material with friends, several were set off-kilter by the order I put them in. They wanted to reverse them to “beliefs and behaviors.” The conventional view in traditional education is captured by the statement, “If we believe the right things, we’ll do the right things.” In other words, beliefs govern behaviors. In my experience, churches and ministries that emphasize religiously conforming actually turn adhering to supposedly correct biblical beliefs into a behavior! It is ironic that the act of “believing” pure doctrine easily becomes an act. In this case, what one truly believes is not governed by our own internal free acts of conscience, but by external coercion to conform to community “standards of right and righteousness.” And so, Christianly behaviors and beliefs do not necessarily represent Christ-likeness. There is much to think about with how that plays out in our churches …

Transformation is governed by such principles, but it cannot be legitimately reduced a point-by-point program. There simply is no predicting of the exact pattern or process that God will use for a given person in a specific learning community. There is no formula or guarantee about how fast or slow personal change will take place, what order our issues might be addressed in, whether we will always feel like we are making progress, if there will be pitfalls and personal stall-outs along the way. We are not in charge of the process or the product, only of our responses along the way. So, “success” is faithfulness in submitting to the process and choosing to move forward, to an increasingly more full biblical paradigm for life and by the constant empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

The following chart captures some big-picture aspects of the identity affirming versuscharacter transforming versus behavior conforming focuses to discipleship activities and relationships. (Click on the chart to bring up a screen that gives a more clear view of the text and images.)

Chart 2 Discipleship Activities Big Picture

Concluding Thoughts: Movies That Embody Access/Activities Combinations

This has been a very long series. Instead of ending with a summary, I decided to conclude by suggesting a few films I think embody many of the core principles about legalism, liberty, and license. (All of them are available on both Amazon Instant Video and Netflix.) If how you now “live your faith and share your life” is your take-home exam, consider these films as some worthwhile homework to help you prep for success. And as you continue on your journey with Jesus, may you strongly sense His presence and His grace to keep you on a trajectory toward Christ-likeness.

Babette’s Feast (1987). What happens when a culture of austere legalism, perfectionism, and self-negation that goes beyond just abnegation (self-sacrifice) is confronted with a lavish gift of extravagant grace?

The Way (2010). What happens when a closed-off man who is constantly and conditionally qualifying others realizes he cannot survive on a transforming journey alone?

The Tree of Life (2011). What messages are ingrained and what conflicts transpire for children when the intimate internal culture of their family pits a father’s harsh realism, condemnation, and up-by-your-bootstraps philosophy against a mother’s unconditional love, care, and relational support?

Moulin Rouge (2001). Though the Bohemians’ values of “Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love” may seem biblical enough, how do they create a destructive environment when integrated around indulgent individualism?

Les Misérables (2012). “Fight, Dream, Hope, Love.” How can a self-sacrificing act by one person change the life of another and through that changed person, also alter the course of many peoples’ lives for the better? How can the impossibility of remaining perfectly consistent with one’s logic of law lead to and through a resolvable crisis of philosophy – if one is willing and humble – or irresolvable angst if one is not?

P.S. As a sidenote, I do plan on expanding upon some of the material from this series in a forthcoming book – while also dividing it down into smaller chunks, and adding more graphics and deeper movie studies – all to make it more accessible to people with different learning styles.

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Posts to date in this series:

The Fragmentation of Evangelicalism and the Precipitation of the Missional Movement

Brad Sargent served on staff with Exodus from 1991-1996, as Resource and Publication Specialist. We are so grateful for his past and present contributions and friendship. You can follow all of Brad’s writings at his personal blog titled Futuristguy.

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Exodus International Withdraws from Exodus Global Alliance /2013/06/exodus-international-withdraws-from-exodus-global-alliance/ /2013/06/exodus-international-withdraws-from-exodus-global-alliance/#comments Wed, 12 Jun 2013 13:33:10 +0000 Exodus International /?p=10747 Exodus International Withdraws from Exodus Global Alliance

The Exodus International Board of Directors officially voted to withdraw from the Exodus Global Alliance (EGA) May 28, 2013 after 18 years of membership.  Exodus International was a founding member of EGA in 1995.  This change in relationship releases both ministries to serve the Lord, the Church and their constituents in ways that honor their respective calling.

EGA is the worldwide coalition of “Exodus” ministries, which seek to work together under one umbrella structure.  In 2005 Exodus Europe withdrew from EGA, as well.

Exodus International wishes to thank Bryan Kliewer, the EGA Board and network of ministries for their longstanding partnership and friendship.

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It’s a Gay Pride Time of Year /2013/06/its-a-gay-pride-time-of-year/ /2013/06/its-a-gay-pride-time-of-year/#comments Tue, 11 Jun 2013 17:33:14 +0000 Randy Thomas /?p=10738 gay-pride-symbolCross-posted from Randy’s personal blog

It’s that time of year again, drag queens strolling down main street, the activists groups chanting their slogans, and gogo dancers causing parade float designers nightmares (they just won’t stand still!) Then there is the other 90% of parade people like your neighbor Sarah or cousin Bill and his partner walking along hand in hand. They commit to completing a long parade route to show solidarity with the LGBT community and/or cause represented within that sphere of influence. Common + Unity = Community. Everyone belongs to one (a community), or several (communities :) ), because we are wired that way.

As I mentioned the other day, I like taking phone calls (when I can) at Exodus and especially like answering questions sent to me via Facebook, privately via email, or through the contact form here on the blog. I would never arrogantly presume to know everything but I am highly verbal and relational. :)

I love the idea of exploring answers that people are actually looking for. I want to converse *with* folks, not just talk *at* people. It’s an honor to go on a journey with people. Plus, I always need to learn more along the way.

So a couple of weeks ago I took a phone call at the Exodus office. It was from a man, and for the purpose of this post we will call him Sam. Sam wanted to know what was the best Christian tract or “ex-gay” testimony to hand out at his local gay pride event last weekend.  He definitely was well-intentioned. He loves Jesus. He seemed to genuinely love the gay community. And while he was exuberant about “witnessing to the gays” I could tell he was frustrated with his options only being to hand out pieces of paper.

I told Sam that I respected his care and concern. That we were honored that he called. I also shared that as I attempted to answer his question, that I was simply offering brother-in-Christ advice. So I began …

In a nutshell: Leave the little tracts and testimonies on brightly colored paper at home. Don’t make any signs quoting the Old Testament and look to do acts of service instead of bullhorn evangelism.

There was dead silence on the other end of the phone. Then, “Well, what do we do then?”

I said, “Get creative!” I then shared with him two scenarios I had really appreciated over the years. One was several groups have gotten water bottles and either had special labels printed for the bottles or put a little square of a note on a rubber band around the bottle. Those labels or little notes might have had a short blessing on them, the name of the church, and their website. All these folks did was hand out water to thirsty gogo dancers and parade walkers for a few hours. They trusted the Lord to inspire parade goers to read that “God Bless you!” and check out their website later. Regardless of who followed up after the parade or not, their only goal was to love and serve.

I also shared that one particular church was downtown and right ON the parade route. I forget which city/town it was (drat!) but they opened their doors and had three signs “Free Water, Free Refreshments (fruit, cookies) and Free Prayer.” They were surprised that a LOT of people not only took the free water and food… they lined up for prayer too! Now, they did have a couple of encounters with parade goers trying to push their buttons. But regardless of what the prayer request was for, they prayed (not preach with their eyes closed) for each person that came to them. They prayed exactly for what was asked (relationships, money, family… everything) and did not presume to manipulate that prayerful moment to impart a personal agenda. They also trusted the Lord to bring whoever He wanted that day and later for follow-up ministry. Their only goal was to serve and bless the people in their community that aren’t used to seeing that, selfless service, from the Church.

Have you ever been to or participated in a parade … any kind of parade … in the summer? You want a nice bottle of water and a light snack at some point. These groups were meeting an actual legitimate need we all can relate to as a benevolent act of service. I don’t think anyone at the parade is shocked that a church handing out water is praying for them and hoping they will visit the website on the label. Yet, I don’t think anyone would be upset that you offered them something they need without any strings or unwelcome sermons. Plus, the Lord is going to do what He is going to do. We can rest and trust Him to work in all of our lives. The reason I LOVE these examples is that it isn’t driven by what has been the religious culture’s expectations about the only way to “witness” to the gay community is to confront and offend them with trite and sometimes mean-spirited tracts and signs. The motivations these groups/churches showed was out of true care and hospitality.

When conservative Christians go to the gay pride parade, with a humble heart and the only expectation is to serve, that’s an amazing opportunity in and of itself. Let’s pour out blessings for the sake of blessing … that’s it. Perhaps the miracle God wants to do that day is in our own hearts. Jesus will save who He intends to save and I can’t think of a more appropriate symbolic and practical act than handing out water to the thirsty.

Sam, was a bit more excited after I shared these stories but he seemed pretty determined that the only way he could successfully evangelize was to hand out a tract or something. I asked him to consider the examples I had mentioned. He said he would.

I really hope he does.

Randy Thomas is the Executive Vice President of Exodus International. You can also follow his personal blog or online at Facebook and Twitter.

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The Fragmentation of Evangelicalism and the Precipitation of the Missional Movement — Part Seven /2013/06/missional-movement-seven/ /2013/06/missional-movement-seven/#comments Tue, 11 Jun 2013 16:04:17 +0000 Exodus International /?p=10713 Picture of Brad Sargent

Brad Sargent

Today we are excited to share with you the seventh post of a nine-part series by Brad Sargent concerning his thoughts on the Missional Movement. This article is cross-posted, with permission, from Brad’s personal blog titled Futuristguy. Brad served on staff with Exodus from 1991-1996, as Resource and Publication Specialist. He recently shared at our Leadership Reunion that Exodus is positioning itself as an important resource within the Missional Movement. Alan Chambers states,

Brad has been a key friend and ally as we transition Exodus from a ministry firmly rooted in the ‘I have to DO something’ movement to a ministry focused on encouraging the church to live their faith and share their lives.  I hope you will take some time to read and digest all that Brad offers here.  For more info on other missional movements: www.missioalliance.org.

We hope you find this series informative and helpful (all emphasized points and linking is Brad’s.)

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The Fragmentation of Evangelicalism
and the Precipitation of the Missional Movement

Part Seven: The Big Picture of Features and Frameworks in Our Discipleship Systems – Approaches to Discipleship Access

Review …

So far in this series, we’ve looked at how cultural fragmentation and re-formation plays out in the “missional” movement:

  • Underlying information processing modes (i.e.,epistemology) hide at the deepest DNA level of a paradigm system – but affect everything else in the system, both the seen and unseen.
  • That paradigm system is all inclusive of values (axiology), theology, strategies and structures for organizing ourselves, culture, behaviors/lifestyles, and modes of collaboration.
  • Based on some key paradigm differences, the generic “emerging” movement separated into six distinct streams.
  • Some of these streams are more likely to resonate with the missional paradigm and find a sort of magnetic attraction to it, and some not so much because they’ll find missional features more or less repulsive to their paradigm. Still, individuals within those streams might gravitate toward being missional.
  • Significant differences in paradigms often make it difficult for people or partner organizations to function together – constant culture clash on goals and means are indicators of potentially irreconcilable differences.
  • The systems of legalism versus license versus liberty are irreconcilable. Only liberty brings true freedom and healing; legalism and license bring bondage and wounds.
  • Three central features of being missional are: (1) Contextual – making truth accessible in the current culture’s language, without compromising the truthful nature of the content. (2),Incarnational – living out our faith so people can see what Christianity and Christ-like character looks like. (3) Sojourning – seeing ourselves as guests in our host culture, not controllers of it, because the Church is not a theocratic nation like Israel.

These aren’t just tasty little theoretical hors d’oeuvres for some nice theological snackathon. All of these elements have weighty implications. They affect how we go about our everyday lives as individual disciples, ministry teams, and communities of Christians. And to some of those key impacts we now turn.

… and Preview

In concluding this series, I want to focus in on how our theological-organizational-cultural systems for discipleship manifest themselves in our stance of the Church among people and in culture. I’ve spent months of reflection while writing about all of this. I’ve concluded that the range of how we set up our churches and treat people inside and outside of them seems to all boil down to two issues: access and activities.

  • Access – Who’s In and Who’s Out? Is our entry system inclusive, temporarily tolerant, or exclusive?
  • Activities – What’s Okay and What’s Not? Is our discipleship system grounded in license, liberty, or legalism?

Some of the resulting combinations of access plus activities are likely familiar to those who’ve tracked the unfolding of conflicts in North American denominations over their stance toward people from self-identified LGBTQ backgrounds. For instance, there are “open and affirming churches,” “transforming congregations,” and those that could be labeled outright “rejecting and condemning” like the infamous Westboro Baptist.

But our discipleship access and activities systems apply to far more than just LGBTQ individuals and groups. In fact, I’ve developed my conclusions more from in-depth studies of spiritual abuse and recovery issues than from thinking about how the Church and LGBTQ communities relate. And, as I hope to show, access/activities combinations create the basic framework for how any church or ministry operates toward anyone and everyone, and how they either demonstrate or negate a true spirit of Christ-likeness in society.

In Part Seven, we’ll look at the big picture of access to discipleship, three different approaches that organizations take on those factors for how they build communities. In Part Eight, we’ll do a similar overview on three approaches to discipleship activities and how they build individual disciples.

Just to state it up front, my take on things is that the missional movement takes more of a “welcoming and mutually transforming” stance in general. This means that discipleship in following Jesus Christ is open to all people. It also assumes that all people are sinners in need of transformation in their identity and status, character and values, and behaviors and beliefs. All people are also image-bearers of our Creator, in need of validation and activation of their unique gifts. It isn’t too loose chaos, or up tight compliance, but hopefully it is about a paradoxical way that connects individuals in community and also offers a trajectory of both radical help and hope.

Media

Also, I’m intentionally tackling these topics in a very different way from my other posts in this series. I’m using many images to show and not just words to tell what I mean.

All of my graphic illustrations come from the same artist: Scott Maxwell. (In case you are interested, his images are available on Fotolia for limited, licensed use for a very reasonable fee.) What I particularly like about Scott Maxwell’s “gold guys” is that, because they mostly have no facial features, meaning has to be shown by their body language and surroundings. So, sometimes the expressiveness has to be exaggerated. But actually, I think this makes it more intuitive to see and directly experience the concept involved instead of just read and reflectively think about it.

At the end of Part Eight, I’ll suggest films that show some of the main dynamics of access approaches that are inclusive versus exclusive, and learning activities that either cause us to stagnate or help us move forward toward Christ-likeness. So – with a combination of images and words – here we go!

Who’s In and Who’s Out? – Discipleship Access Issues

Over the last five decades, I’ve had extensive involvement with different kinds of churches, ministries, and Christian non-profits. This includes both established ones and start-ups. Some of my experiences are with theologically liberal/social gospel organizations, though more are with conservative/evangelical ones. Some were structured around legalism, others around license, and others around liberty. So, I’ve personally experienced the impact of different forms of access to the community and discipleship activities there, and been able to track the trajectories of where these systems took me and others.

After processing my observations about the access question of Who’s in and who’s out? in Christian organizations, it all seems to come down to three basic approaches to how we build our version of community in the ways we offer or deny people access.

Therefore, are we:

  • Welcoming – inclusive and unconditionally open to embracing any person, regardless of his/her background or behaviors?
  • Qualifying – temporarily tolerant toward people while deciding to allow access for some and deny it to others depending on our set of standards and conditions?
  • Rejecting – exclusive and unconditionally closed to specific categories of people, plus “grooming” insiders so they don’t leave?

I would argue that the “welcoming” approach is the most consistent with being missional. If we believe that any kind of person can become a follower of Jesus Christ, then why would we deny anyone access to learning about Him? Why would we exclude anyone from grasping onto the gospel through evangelism or growth through discipling? Why would we disrespect the humanity and value of any person, as if they were not created by the same God as we are, and as if we aren’t both made in His same image? As I see it, either making up a set of conditions for access or rejecting people outright sends messages contrary to the good news of Christ’s saving work that removes our guilt, shame, and fear.

I know it is more complex than this, but I will suggest that there is a basic spectrum of possibilities within each of these three approaches churches and ministries take toward people – especially toward those who are significantly different from most of their members. For instance, there are welcoming churches among many different streams and denominations in contemporary North American Christianity. Some seem more modest and moderate about it, others more radical and even militantly politically correct about it. These differences tend to show up in whether they are also affirming or transforming about discipleship activities.

Another difference shows up in qualifying churches. The spectrum here was expressed well by a church leader who is the polar opposite of me in about every way. After he’d gotten to know me enough to comment, he said, “You really trust people. It’s like you start them out at 100 points and see if they lose any. I’m super skeptical. I start them out at zero points and see if they gain any.” Both of us had elements of qualifying, but the far ends of that spectrum could end up coddling and naïve (my potential “fatal flaw”) or cold and nasty (his).

Even Christian organizations that practice a welcoming mentality likely have some elements ofqualifying. For instance, many churches these days rightly require a formal background check for any potential staff member and volunteer who would be working with minors. A welcoming church cannot remain a safe place if there are pedophiles working with children!

I see some of the key issues being: What approach dominates the overall practice of access in this church or ministry? How would our church or ministry look if it related to all kinds of people the same ways that Jesus Christ did? If we want to answer that question, we need to consider how Christ related with quiet, everyday sinners. Notorious, high-profile sinners like the woman at the well and the tax collector Zaccheus. Religious but perfectionistic sinners like the Pharisees. Religious but irreverent sinners like the Sadducees.

If we want to embody/incarnate a Christ-like approach to all people, then it seems to me that His overall approach was a whosoever-will-may-come kind of open invitation to anyone and everyone. “Come unto me, ALL who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” That seems to be the underlying modus operandi, even if He customized the invitation to the individuals or groups He was connecting with – more provocatively challenging with some, more gently engaging with others.

The following chart captures some big-picture aspects of the unconditional welcoming versusconditional qualifying versus outright rejecting approaches to discipleship access. (Click on the chart to bring up a screen that gives a more clear view of the text and images.)

Chart 1 Discipleship Access Big Picture

Concluding Thoughts

It is my hope that many individuals, ministries, and churches from different streams can find their trajectory shifted toward becoming a missional congregation that welcomes all who would seek Jesus. And, as we will consider in Part Eight, I hope they can refocus on balancing the goals and activities of discipleship around being mutually transforming.

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Posts to date in this series:

The Fragmentation of Evangelicalism and the Precipitation of the Missional Movement

Brad Sargent served on staff with Exodus from 1991-1996, as Resource and Publication Specialist. We are so grateful for his past and present contributions and friendship. You can follow all of Brad’s writings at his personal blog titled Futuristguy.

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Sneak Peak: Lisa Ling Special Report – “God & Gays” with Alan Chambers – (Video) /2013/06/sneak-peak-lisa-ling-special-report-god-gays-with-alan-chambers-video/ /2013/06/sneak-peak-lisa-ling-special-report-god-gays-with-alan-chambers-video/#comments Fri, 07 Jun 2013 15:52:02 +0000 Exodus International /?p=10704 Tune into OWN television on June 20 at 10pm EST for Alan & Leslie Chambers interview with Lisa Ling on the Our America special “Gods & Gays.” This is a new program and not a repeat of their previous shows. Check out the show intro video below:

Sneak Peak: Lisa Ling’s Special Report – God & Gays

The story of Exodus International, the LGBT men and women who have been affected by the organization and the nationwide dialogue that surrounds this topic continues in an Our America special report.

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