The Challenge of Finding a Church Home as an LGBTQ+ Christian

One of the most difficult parts of an LGBTQ+ Christian's life is choosing a church to attend. Many have experienced much hate and abuse in the church in the past and are fearful of being hurt again.

There are three main approaches that churches have towards LGBTQ+ folk:


One of the most common stances towards LGBTQ+ folk in many churches is to declare that they are welcome to attend the church's worship services on a Sunday. I think that even the most conservative churches today would not prevent LGBTQ+ folk from attending their services. After all, it adds to their attendance figures and increases their financial coffers.

However, there is usually a catch. While LGBTQ+ folk might be welcome to attend these church's services, they will never be allowed to take up any leadership roles, they might be prevented from partaking in certain parts of the church's life, will probably receive many condescending looks and will be at risk of being made to feel inadequate and sinful at times, either explicitly or more subtly. There is also usually an underlying assumption that if LGBTQ+ folk attend for long enough or listen to enough sermons, they might magically come around to the church's way of seeing things.


Some churches have taken a slightly more progressive stance towards LGBTQ+ folk. They encourage them to be a part of the church's life and claim to accept them as they are. While they might not understand LGBTQ+ folk, they acknowledge that LGBTQ+ Christians exist and are happy to accept them as a part of the church's life.

This approach is certainly better than the first. In church's such as this, LGBTQ+ folk can sometimes find a home where they are comfortable and feel loved. They might even be given an opportunity to serve on the worship team or lead a bible study.

The problem is that this approach merely tries to keep everyone happy. Churches will claim that everyone is accepted, but will struggle to explicitly call out situations of exclusion or abuse because they do not want to be at risk of offending a particular group of people.

Therefore, while LGBTQ+ folk might feel comfortable and accepted at churches such as this, they could be afraid to be their true selves at the risk of being hurt again.


Finally, there is the approach that I believe is the most life-giving and Christ-like for LGBTQ+ Christians to discover.

An affirming church celebrates a person's sexuality as a healthy part of who God created them to be. They do not ask LGBTQ+ Christians to leave a core part of their identity at the door.

An affirming church celebrates the love of LGBTQ+ couples in the same way they do for their straight couples. They intentionally greet and get to know an LGBTQ+ person's partner in the same manner as they would welcome a new boyfriend/girlfriend of one of their cisgender, straight members.

An affirming church understands that LGBTQ+ folk have God-given gifts and talents that should be utilized in leadership and ministerial positions in the church.

An affirming church welcomes, accepts and affirms a person's God-given sexuality in all of its diversity, goodness and glory.

A final note

I understand that not all churches are on the same page about this. Some churches have interpreted the bible in a way that they cannot reconcile LGBTQ+ relationships with their understanding of God's plan for human relationships. Unfortunately, I have to accept that some churches will never change this belief.

All I am pleading is that churches would be clear about their position towards the LGBTQ+ community.

Let us not gaslight LGBTQ+ folk by telling them that they are welcome, but in order to be a part of the church's life, they need to suppress or change a core part of who God created them to be.

Let us be open and honest if we are willing to accept LGBTQ+ folk in our church communities, but are unsure about how far this acceptance goes.

Let us declare loudly and proudly if we are willing to affirm and celebrate LGBTQ+ folk in all areas of our church's life and ministry.

LGBTQ+ folk have been devastatingly hurt by churches who claim one thing, but practice another. Let us be clear in our intentions so that LGBTQ+ folk know where they can find a true church home.

And finally, to my LGBTQ+ siblings in Christ. Be encouraged that there are churches out there who will welcome, accept and even affirm you as a beloved child of God, just as you are. I know that they are unfortunately sometimes hard and scary to try and find, but the love and peace and joy that you can experience when you do find an affirming church home is an incredible gift that you will always be grateful for.


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