In a recent webinar, Feed My Sheep Foundation, Garry Ingraham from Love & Truth Network, Pastor David Campbell Jr from The Father's Heart, and Pastors Tony LaBarca and Josh Sonoga from Crossroads Church discussed the critical importance of pastors and church leaders standing up for the protection of children as it relates to gender and sexuality issues. During this conversation, these pastors were asked why they believe many pastors and church leaders are unwilling to take a stand when it comes to issues of identity and sexuality. Here was their response.
Fear. Fear of man is a strong and detrimental influencer for pastors. Some pastors fear losing their congregation, being publically attacked, or just plain “cancelled” or silenced. The problem is that if we choose to remain silent, we are complicit with what is going on. Instead, these pastors encouraged others to fear God alone—and fearing God leads to standing for truth.
Sexual Sin. Another reason pastors and church leaders are unable to speak up about these issues is because they too are struggling with sexual sin. If they are in bondage themselves, how can they help others to get free? Though it is difficult, pastors need to learn to be vulnerable, admit their sins and struggles, and to get help. This vulnerability invites others to vulnerability and repentance. Once we confess our sin, and it is brought into the light, the truth can begin to set us free.
On a similar note, sexual issues are difficult to talk about and to deal with in general. Walking with someone in the congregation who is dealing with a sexual sin is no easy task, but pastors need to be willing to walk with members and help them. This may mean networking with other churches that have more counseling services or experience or reaching out to other counseling organizations. In any case, pastors should vet these organizations and churches to make sure that their counseling services do not simply affirm a person in their brokenness, but rather help that person be healed and restored through the work of Jesus Christ.
This webinar is meant to encourage pastors and church leaders that they are not alone in facing these complex issues. Courage is contagious. These four courageous pastors are willing to stand up for truth and speak out against the cultural lies that are leading people away from the gospel and down destructive paths, and you can too!