Exchange Ministries – Why I Joined The Team
I have been invited to join the board of Exchange Ministries, a Central Florida-based ministry with the purpose of “offering hope and help to those affected by homosexuality.” I am honored to have been asked to join this team of brave men and women.
More and more Christians are finding the courage to speak on this tough issue, and I’m grateful for the privilege to bring God’s grace and love into this conversation. But believe me, I feel overwhelmed by the challenge.
When I graduated with my doctorate from Knox Theological Seminary, I thought I was finished. I had completed my research. Now it was time to start focusing on other ministry interests.As it turns out, however, my research was just now getting started.
As it turns out, however, my research into this area was just getting started.
When I began sharing with people the topic of my dissertation was homosexuality, people’s reactions varied from person to person. But there was one thing common in everyone I spoke too. Homosexuality has become the central concern of our time.
About Exchange Ministries
While Exchange Ministries meets on the campus of First Baptist Church of Orlando, Exchange Ministries is an independent ministry. Twice a month, a gathering of men and women meet with one common concern — they have been affected by homosexuality. Attendees come from all walks of life and make up a truly unique cross-section of individuals.
Sometimes attendees are parents of a person who is struggling with same-sex attraction or they have a child that has assumed a homosexuality identity. Others are individuals leaving the homosexual lifestyle and choosing to wrestle through the implications of finding their new identity in something else. Still others are people who have never assumed a gay identity, yet they have struggled for years with same-sex attractions. In sum, all walks of life are represented at Exchange, testifying to the fact that same-sex attraction can manifest in any person, including Christians.
The Horizon of Mission
Why am I excited? Even though this can be a tough area of ministry, I’m excited and humbled to be a part of Exchange Ministries for this reason. Sexuality has become the 21st-century “horizon of mission.”
Anglican scholar Oliver O’Donovan describes this cultural manifestation of mainstream homosexuality as a “Gay Consciousness.” He writes, “It does not matter whether we suppose this society and its emotional forms will be short lived or long lived. The point is, they are of our day; they constitute a horizon of our mission.”
Regardless of the growing body of evidence arguing that churches need to address homosexuality in a positive, grace-filled way, progress has been slow. Pastors and church leaders are either ill-equipped to handle the matter, mishandle the Bible in dealing with their parishioners, or quietly suffer in silence with their own sexual issues. Because of these and other problems, a partner is needed to come alongside local congregations to provide a safe space for individuals to come and feel the hope and love of Jesus Christ.
Please pray for Exchange Ministries and pray for me as new horizons of mission unfold in the heart of the city of Orlando and surrounding Central Florida.