Pastoral Tools

To help pastors lead, preach/teach, and care well in the area of human sexuality.

Embrace: Pastoral Tools offers resources to help Covenant pastors continue to embrace a posture of caring, leading, and teaching well with regard to LGBTQ+ engagement and human sexuality in general.
Sermon tools and examples in harmony with the adopted position of the ECC are now available below.

I. Preaching Well: Tools for Getting Started

embrace resource
PostureShift Sermon+ Consulting
By Lead Them Home

The Lead Them Home team will provide a comprehensive review of a pastor’s sermon draft on sexuality, gender, and LGBT+ people. This service is offered at a $250 flat fee. For more information contact info@leadthemhome.org.

Take 10% off your first review with code EMBRACE19 at postureshift.com/sermon.

 

embrace resource
30 Best-Practice Tips for Preaching for LGBT+ Inclusion and Care
By Lead Them Home

Designed to help pastors care, lead, and preach from a missiological posture of grace and truth on LGBT+ themes and in proactive engagement with LGBT+ persons and loved ones. Based on extensive real-life experience, this free download created by Lead Them Home features 30 practical tips and ideas for preparing and delivering sermons on human sexuality.  Goals include:

  • Building trust with LGBT+ people
  • Expanding a “PostureShift” culture – a traditional position on human sexuality combined with an inclusive posture toward LGBT+ persons
  • Growing in awareness and sensitivity regarding human sexuality communications
  • Developing a vision for mercy and justice
  • Addressing a variety of additional missional challenges

Lead Them Home’s Posture Shift Sermon Consulting can help you further optimize your message. Take 10% off your first review with code EMBRACE19 at postureshift.com/sermon.

II. Sample Sermons

These sermons are examples of how pastors in the ECC and beyond have preached on human sexuality with grace, truth, and a posture of embrace. All are in harmony with the ECC’s understanding of human sexuality as “faithfulness in heterosexual marriage, celibacy in singleness – these constitute the Christian standard.”

Please Note: These sermons are offered as samples which ECC pastors should both evaluate and learn from. The ECC does not necessarily endorse every idea presented therein.

a. Multiple Sermons or Sermon Series
embrace resource
“Love—A New Orientation” (two-part sermon)
By Highrock Covenant Church

Addressing how the church in the United States has historically failed the LGBT+ community and how we can practically love our LBGT+ neighbors. (Preached by David Swaim, lead pastor of Highrock Covenant Church, Arlington, Massachusetts, February 28, 2016, and April 17, 2016)

  • Part 1
    View Details.

    Provides history on the dialogue between the Church and the LGBT+ community. Specifically names how the Church has failed this community (including not advocating for gay marriage to be legal from a civil/governmental perspective, which of course not everyone with a traditional view on human sexuality will agree with.) Unpacks the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), calling the Church to love our neighbor and suggesting that one’s position on human sexuality should not affect how we love gay people. Calls the Church to love our LGBT+ neighbors by building relationships, listening to experiences, extending grace, and apologizing for how the Church has failed.

  • Part 2 (forward to 48:00)
    View Details.

    Outlines four positions on human sexuality and exposits six commonly cited passages on human sexuality to help the church think biblically. Identifies the Covenant position, while recognizing that some may disagree with it. Roots human sexuality within the larger narrative of God’s story of creation, fall, and redemption. Pastorally speaks to all being broken and almost no one “choosing” to be gay.

embrace resource
“Grace and Truth”—four-week series on faith, gender, and sexuality
By Element Church

“Grace and Truth”—four-week series on faith, gender, and sexuality, calling for a Christlike posture with LGBT+ people. (Preaching by Jeff Maness, Brendan Anderson, John Wilson, and Laurie Krieg, at The Element Church, Cheyenne, Wyoming, February 2019)

  • Week 1: How should we respond to all people?
    View Details.

    —Lays the foundation for the series from both a Christlike posture toward LGBT+ people (grace) and a position of traditional sexual ethics (truth). Tells stories of LGBT+ people and defines terms and positions Christians have held on same-sex attraction and behavior. The big idea: “If I believe the right things but respond the wrong way, then what I believe doesn’t matter.” Calls the Church to lead with love and truth, practicing a historic Christian sexual ethic, which he defines as marriage being intended for “two sexually different people (man and woman) and any sex or sexual activity is intended for and blessed only in that union.”

    Preached by Jeff Maness, lead pastor

  • Week 2: Gender Identity Conversation
    View Details.

    —Lead pastor and youth pastor define terms (sex, gender, cisgender, transgender, gender dysphoria, etc.) and provide statistics to help churches care well for people who identify as transgender and those who experience gender dysphoria. Recommends that the Church care for transgender people by using their preferred name and pronouns, and speaks to how the church has perpetuated stereotypical gender roles. Stories from Scripture provide multiple examples for living out one’s gender as a man or as woman. For a more in-depth and nuanced discussion of gender dysphoria, read or watch these recommended Embrace resources.

    Preached by Jeff Maness, lead pastor, and Brendan Anderson, youth pastor

  • Week 3: A Conversation about Sexuality
    View Details.

    —A scriptural foundation for a traditional perspective on human sexuality and how to posture as a church who loves LGBT+ people. Apologizes for the ways God’s life-giving word has been used to “clobber” gay people. This conversation speaks to how Scripture prohibits gay “action” but not gay “attraction.” Calls the church to be consistent in applying Scripture, reminding us that gay sex is not the only prohibition God makes for his people. In this sermon, the preacher shares his own story as a celibate, gay Christian.

    Preached by John Wilson, children’s pastor

  • Week 4: Broken and Beloved People
    View Details.

    —Examines Jesus’s response to the woman caught in adultery in John 8, calling the church to look at our own sin. Practically speaks to bullying of LGBT+ people, corporate grieving when there is an LGBT suicide, and the preacher’s own story as a woman attracted to other women. To hear more from Laurie Kreig, you can view her embrace webinar interview and related resources.

    Preached by Laurie Krieg, guest preacher

b. Single Sermons
embrace resource
Let's talk about “Gay Stuff”
By Daylight Church

This sermon tackles the objections of skeptical, atheist, and agnostic friends. Presents a spectrum of beliefs on same-sex behavior while confirming the church’s historic stance on sexuality, with a focus not on position but on the posture of the church toward gay people. Speaks to biological realities of intersex people and provides statistics on gay bullying and suicide. Shares how this congregation responds to and welcomes gay people in light of the gospel.

Preached by H. L. Hussmann, Daylight Church, Louisville, Kentucky, on May 15, 2016

embrace resource
“Let’s Talk About: LGBT+”
By New Life Covenant Church

Clarifies the church’s posture toward the LGBT+ community, emphasizing posture before position. Expresses grief that LGBT+ people have experienced the worst of humanity and speaks to the experiences of gay people. Shepherds the church in how to respond when an LGBT+ loved one comes out and provides resources to care well. Calls out hypocrisy of the sexual majority in the area of marriage and sex, reminding us that while grace is free for all, following Jesus costs our lives.

Preached by Chad Pickering, New Life Covenant Church, a Covenant congregation in Wichita, Kansas, on April 14, 2019

As we continue to expand our list of resources, we continue to seek recommendations of sermons from a range of voices within the stated Covenant position. Please email embrace@covchurch.org to suggest a preacher/sermon for consideration.

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 ▸