Youthwork Conference 2014 #YC14 – Saturday Seminar 2

15 Nov

And so we are about to start Seminar 2 (on time!), “Is there room in your youth group for the rainbow?” Basically, a seminar on working with young people who are LGBT+, led by Chris Kidd and Gemma Dunning.
The aim of the seminar is to be a conversation, a starting point and a place to suggest resources. It is not a debate or a complete guide to working with LGBT.

So that we know what we are talking about:
QUILTBAG:
Questioning
Undecided
Intersex – both male and female sexual organs
Lesbian
Transgender
Bisexual
Asexual
Gay

PS:
Pansexual
Straight

The key question for this morning is “Does everyone feel welcome at the Lord’s table?”
We may say that we welcome everyone, but do they feel welcome when they are with us?

Gemma shares a story of how the churches in Bournemouth invited in an organisation to preach a anti-gay message. This did not lead to an influx of people repenting of their former lives, but it did increase the divide between the gay community and the churches.
We are asked to share with those around us whether we think our churches are welcoming.

Regardless of our position in the debate on human sexuality, discipleship is a journey. So we need to journey with young people, regardless of their orientation, keeping Jesus at the hear of the matter.

How do we respond to real young people?
This is a presentation by Gemma that will be available on the Youthwork Conference website.
There is often an issue in churches with LGBT+ young people and their relationships with other young people. We need to remember that just as we can have friendships with other adults, so young people can have friendships with other young people that don’t have to be seen as anything other than friendships.
Regardless of where we stand on the LGBT+ debate, we need to remain with them, offering them a place of safety and security. Sin is sin. We don’t abandon a sinner, regardless of their sin, so why should we abandon LGBT young people?
Holding young people to account and being evenhanded with the accountability is important, but not to the point where we set them up to fail.
We need to support young people if they want to challenge authorities, but also to help them understand and work with authorities when they disagree with them.
It is important for remember that church young people need to understand who God is and how to worship Him.

Various resources are recommended, including Diverse Church and Living Out and the book Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter

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