A Ministry of Make and Deepen Disciples

Human sexuality is among the most visible discipleship interests of our day. That is why the Make and Deepen Disciples team is pleased to launch Embrace.

Embrace will be a suite of human sexuality discipleship resources and experiences which are in harmony with the ECC's adopted position, the center of which is "Faithfulness in heterosexual marriage, celibacy in singleness—these constitute the Christian standard."

A special emphasis of Embrace will be equipping us to flourish in love for LGBTQ+ individuals and communities. These resources will be curated and created by the Make and Deepen Disciples team. Although Embrace will take time to develop, we will progressively roll out resources, starting now.

As we develop Embrace, we hope to receive feedback from diverse voices, especially with regard to existing resources or experiences which you have found to be helpful and effective. Feel free to connect with us anytime at embrace@covchurch.org.

Embrace Webinar Series

Our first Embrace webinar, “People to Be Loved” with Dr. Preston Sprinkle, had 250+ participants and 2,300+ views! The recording is now available along with the resources mentioned in the talk. Registration is now open for our second Embrace webinar on Wednesday, April 25 with Greg Coles to discuss his book Single Gay Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity.

Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to receive updates on Embrace resources and webinars.

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Embrace Webinar #1: People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue

Follow the link below to view the webinar recording along with the resources that were mentioned during the conversation.

View the Webinar #1 Recording ▸

Join us for a conversation with Greg Coles, author of Single Gay Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity. Greg began his challenging journey as “a boy in love with Jesus who, at the fateful onset of puberty, realized his sexual attractions were persistently and exclusively for other guys.“ Greg’s perspective is unique in that he identifies as gay, which makes some Christians suspicious and/or uncomfortable; and he has chosen celibacy, which makes some LGBTQ+ people suspicious and/or uncomfortable. Despite the challenges of his journey, Greg exudes joy and embodies a deep passion for Jesus Christ and his church as well as for LGBT people. Greg will share more with us about his experiences in the church as a same-sex attracted disciple of Jesus. He will also share thoughts on how the church can love and embrace all LGBT people more effectively. For a preview, we invite you to meet Greg through his video above.

Note: All are welcome, although it will be assumed that webinar participants have read Greg’s book. You can e-mail us questions in advance to be considered at embrace@covchurch.org.

Conversation Partners
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Gregory Coles was born in New York, raised on the Indonesian island of Java, and is now a PhD candidate studying English in Pennsylvania. Greg’s fiction and expository writing have been published by Penguin Random House and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. His academic research on rhetorics of marginality (how language works in society for disadvantaged groups) has appeared in College English. His book Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity was published by InterVarsity Press in August 2017. When he isn’t writing or teaching, Greg can usually be found playing piano at a local church, dabbling in songwriting, jogging, or whipping up 11-pound batches of buttercream icing at his favorite bakery.

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Michelle Sanchez (Facilitator)
Michelle Sanchez is Executive Minister of Make and Deepen Disciples for the ECC. Her dream is to foster a multiethnic movement of disciples who make disciples across all ages. Prior to this role, Michelle served as Pastor of Christian Formation and Mission at Highrock Covenant Church in the Boston area, ministered to international students in New York City with Cru, and worked as an investment banker for Goldman, Sachs & Co. Michelle earned an M.Div. and Th.M. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, an international business degree from New York University (NYU), and certification in spiritual direction from Boston College.

Register for the Webinar ▸

Embrace Webinar #3

Just Sexuality: Exploring the Intersections of Justice and Human Sexuality

Thursday, May 17 from 12-1pm (CDT)

Join us for a conversation with Dennis Edwards, lead pastor of Sanctuary Covenant Church, a justice-minded ECC congregation in the Minneapolis area. Edwards will share his thoughts and experiences exploring the intersections of justice and human sexuality. We will engage questions like: Is it possible to both be just and to uphold a traditional sexual ethic? In what ways has the evangelical church failed to love LGBTQ+ people well? How can the church engage in lament together and how can we be and do better?

Note: Registration will open one month prior to the webinar. You can e-mail us questions in advance to be considered at embrace@covchurch.org.

Conversation Partners
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Dennis Edwards has ministered in New York, Washington DC, and Minneapolis where he currently serves as lead pastor of Sanctuary Covenant Church. He believes that people can be changed for the better through encountering God and engaging God's word. Consequently, he is passionate about studying and teaching Scripture. He earned a PhD in Biblical Studies and has taught at various seminaries over the years.

Dennis is an amateur saxophonist and flutist. He loves to cycle, lift weights, and watch weird movies.

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Michelle Sanchez (Facilitator)
Michelle Sanchez is Executive Minister of Make and Deepen Disciples for the ECC. Her dream is to foster a multiethnic movement of disciples who make disciples across all ages. Prior to this role, Michelle served as Pastor of Christian Formation and Mission at Highrock Covenant Church in the Boston area, ministered to international students in New York City with Cru, and worked as an investment banker for Goldman, Sachs & Co. Michelle earned an M.Div. and Th.M. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, an international business degree from New York University (NYU), and certification in spiritual direction from Boston College.

We Want to Hear From You

As we develop Embrace, we hope to receive feedback from diverse voices, especially with regard to existing resources or experiences which you have found to be helpful and effective. Feel free to connect with us anytime at embrace@covchurch.org.

Please sign up to learn more, be informed of future webinars, and sign up for more Embrace updates.

Sign up for our mailing list ▸