Encouragement for Pastors
Pastors face a tough calling today, and encouraging them on many of these issues is perhaps not easy. And there are no obvious ways to do it precisely because these issues are so tough. It's easy to talk about LGBTQ+ stuff in the abstract. It's hard for a pastor to sit in his study and look somebody in the eye, while being engaged, and talk to somebody for whom this is their agonizing struggle.
I would say a couple of things to pastors. First of all, remember it isn't all about you. Conversion is always a supernatural thing. God is sovereign. The promises still apply. So be encouraged that you haven't got to carry the weight of responsibility on your own shoulders.
Secondly, don't beat yourself up if you make mistakes. Everything's changing so fast. So many unique situations are being generated on an almost daily basis for pastors today that pastors are bound to make mistakes and errors. Don't beat yourself up for making mistakes.
Thirdly, seek advice from other pastors. One of the great things about being a Presbyterian is that I've always felt I have a natural pool of other ministers that I can call on immediately to ask, Have you faced this situation? What did you do? What worked well? What didn't work well?
Be prepared to draw on the broader wisdom of your Christian brothers who are in ministry at this particular point in time.
Fourthly, be coached by some of the testimonies out there of people who've been saved from lives of great sexual damage. Read Rosaria Butterfield's testimony. Make yourself aware of the fact that God still works miracles today, even in the lives of those who are deeply immersed in this kind of lifestyle.
Conversion is always a supernatural thing. God is sovereign.
And finally, always make a distinction in your mind between what I would call the politics and the culture of the LGBTQ+ movement and the individual facing you for whom this is their personal struggle or their personal agony.
We should be ruthless in the way we think about the former—that's attempting to do incredible damage to the world in which we find ourselves. But we need to be very pastoral and sensitive to the individuals who are struggling with LGBTQ+ stuff. The pain generated by that is very real for them, and so I would encourage pastors to be very pastorally sensitive when dealing with individuals who are finding themselves harmed, damaged, and struggling with this kind of thing.
Carl R. Trueman is the author of Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution
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