A Ministry of Make and Deepen Disciples

Heart | Embrace Love

Create safe and compassionate space for relational connection

This section provides resources to help you embrace a deeper sense of compassion as well as to create a healthy space for relational connection with people who are LGBT+. These resources are recommended with the intention of providing helpful guidance toward building bridges and loving well. Through memoirs and stories, how-tos, and practical curriculum, this section serves as a source of valuable relational guidance.

I. Featured

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Guiding Families of LGBT+ Loved Ones
By Bill Henson

This 140-page illustrated guide is a treasure trove of practical insights on how to honor God and deeply love the LGBT+ people in your life. It covers a number of topics, including how to:

  • Respond well when LGBT+ people come out
  • Understand risks LGBT+ youth face (family rejection, bullying, suicidality, and homelessness)
  • Avoid using unintentionally offensive words and phrases
  • Build a support team for LGBT+ loved ones and their families
  • Engage LGBT+ individuals in trusting relationship over the long term

Devote yourself to prayer that blesses LGBT+ loved ones and yourself

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Grace/Truth 2.0: Five More Conversations Every Thoughtful Christian Should Have About Faith, Sexuality & Gender
By Dr. Preston Sprinkle

Grace/Truth 2.0 is an additional five-week learning experience (follows Grace/Truth 1.0) that dives deeper into LGBT+ questions. It discusses why some Christians are changing their view toward affirming same-sex relations, addresses some of the strongest affirming arguments, explores a biblical and theological view of transgender and intersex persons, and offers practical advice on how to embody the grace/truth way of Jesus in the context of ministry.

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Grace/Truth 1.0: Five Conversations Every Thoughtful Christian Should Have about Faith, Sexuality and Gender
By Dr. Preston Sprinkle

This is a five-week small group learning experience which introduces Christians to LGBTQ+/SSA people, explains language to use and avoid, presents a biblically faithful view of marriage and sexuality, and offers practical guidance on how to embody the love of Christ toward sexual and gender minorities. The accompanying Grace/Truth 1.0 video series is engaging and well-produced, and features the voices and real stories of sexual minority people. As of this writing, Grace/Truth 1.0 is unique in that it is the only comprehensive small group curriculum available to facilitate conversations around faith, human sexuality, and gender identity. It is an excellent resource to utilize for small groups, leadership teams, church staff, and more. Please be sure to see the ECC Supplement below for further recommendations on using Grace/Truth 1.0 in ECC contexts.

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ECC Leader’s Guide Supplement for Grace/Truth 1.0.
By the Embrace Team with feedback from a diverse group of Covenant readers

The Embrace team has solicited feedback about Grace/Truth 1.0 from a diverse group of Covenant readers. This ECC supplement highlights FAQ and recommendations which have emerged from this feedback and are intended to be helpful for those seeking to utilize this resource within the context of the Evangelical Covenant Church. In addition to this ECC supplement, please be sure to review the Grace/Truth 1.0 small group leader’s guide.

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A Small Group Leader’s Kit
By Dr. Preston Sprinkle

A Small Group Leader’s Kit combines Grace/Truth 1.0 & Grace/Truth 2.0. Instead of just five conversations on faith, sexuality & gender, this kit includes all 10 conversations. Additionally, our Small Group Leader’s Guide gives you and your co-leaders the understanding for how to effectively introduce and facilitate this experience. This kit has everything you need to prepare for, and lead a Grace/Truth small group learning experience. It includes Grace/Truth 1.0 and 2.0 on paperback, Grace/Truth 1.0 and 2.0 on DVD, and the Grace/Truth small group leader’s guide.

II. Stories

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Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality
By Wesley Hill

As a celibate gay Christian, Hill gives us a glimpse of what it looks like to wrestle firsthand with God’s “No” to same-sex sexual intimacy. What does it mean for Christians to be faithful to God while struggling with the challenge of same-sex attraction? What is God’s will for believers who experience same-sex desires? Those who choose celibacy are often left to deal with loneliness and the hunger for relationships—how can this be addressed? Weaving together reflections from his own life as well as thinkers such as Henri Nouwen and Gerard Manley Hopkins, Hill offers fresh and beautiful perspective on these questions. He advocates neither unqualified “healing” for those who struggle, nor accommodation to temptation, but rather faithfulness in the midst of brokenness

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Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian
By Wesley Hill

In Spiritual Friendship, Wesley Hill offers a study of the ancient roots of friendship and the possible future it may hold for those who seek to be loved, to give love, and to honor the Creator who is Love. Hill delves into what friendship, especially same-sex friendships, used to mean to society, and the unfortunate tendency in modern culture either to cast suspicion on such relationships, or to commoditize them to fit society’s hyper-individualistic emphasis. Using research as well as his personal experience as a gay man, Hill gives us a vision of what it could mean to live a gay celibate life and not be alone.

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Space at the Table: Conversations Between an Evangelical Theologian and His Gay Son
By Brad Harper and Drew Stafford Harper

Can an evangelical theologian and his gay son overcome the real differences in belief that threaten to destroy their relationship? From Brad and Drew Harper, the question wasn’t theoretical–and neither was the resounding “yes” they found after years of struggle. Space at the Table is a profoundly moving memoir, written with compassion, grit and humor. It is also a guide showing the way to a love that is strong enough to keep a family connected even through the challenging reality of differing convictions.

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Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity
By Gregory Coles

In his deeply-inspiring memoir, Coles shares his story as a celibate gay Christian who deeply loves Jesus and is willing to sacrifice for the sake of the cross. He reveals what it was like to discover his sexual orientation and understand “the gift of celibacy” as “a gift of loving well.” Some may be uncomfortable with Coles’ choice to identify with the term “gay” rather than “same-sex attracted,” a topic which the book also explores. Coles writes, “My gay orientation was broken, yes. But so was every orientation, every human being, every facet of creation. The question wasn’t whether I was broken but whether I was willing to let my own unique brokenness tell a story of redemption.” With grace and abundant joy, Coles invites us all to do the same.

III. Relational Guidance

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The Center for Faith, Sexuality and Gender: What Pronouns Should Christians Use for Transgender People?
By Gregory Coles

As Christians, what pronouns should we use when we speak about transgender people? In this paper, Gregory Coles argues that the most biblical response to this question is a posture of pronoun hospitality: the view that all Christians can and should use pronouns that reflect the expressed gender identities of transgender people, regardless of our views about gender identity ethics.

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The Center for Faith, Sexuality and Gender: Should Christians Attend a Same-Sex Wedding Ceremony?
By Dr. Preston Sprinkle

Christians are often face with the question: Should I attend the same-sex wedding of my friend or loved one? While the Bible doesn’t give an explicit yes or no, it does provide us with principles that should shape our response. In this paper, Preston Sprinkle presents a framework for how to think through this question and describes several responses that are faithful to a traditional Christian view of marriage.

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The Center for Faith, Sexuality and Gender: A Christian Perspective on Parenting a Gay Child
By Brad Harper

Christian parents and their gay kids often experience difficulties in their relationship. In this practical and thoughtful paper, Brad Harper talks authentically and pastorally about his relationship with his gay son. Not only have they maintained a relationship—it has flourished.

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The Center for Faith, Sexuality and Gender: 10 Things I Wish Every Christian Leader Knew about Gay Teens in Their Church
By Laurie Krieg

LGBT youth are silently struggling in churches and youth groups all around the world. In many cases, they long to share their stories, and leaders need to be prepared to listen. In this paper, Laurie Krieg draws upon her years of experience counseling LGBT youth, as well as her own personal struggle with her sexuality in high school, to offer church leaders a practical and pastoral way forward.

Free PDF available now
By clicking this link, you’ll be asked to provide your Last Name, Email, City, and Zip/Postal Code to The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender.

Download This Resource

See all Pastoral Papers from the Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender

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.

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