Frequently Asked Questions
January 2006 we received a grant to purchase three billboards, one in Greenville SC and two in Spartanburg. The billboard read "Are you Gay or Lesbian and don't want to be? There is hope for change." To see the original billboard and a related article click here. This billboard was shortly after Photoshopped and posted on several national sites as a spoof on our ministry. We have had hundreds, if not thousands, of emails and calls on this spoofed billboard. It surprises us to see this continued national trend on this. To read on our beliefs, see About and look to our Beliefs and Policy Statements.
Just as the ad said--if you don't want to be"--if you want help, great. If you don't want help, then our ministry is not for you. We are not here to slam those that are happy being gay. Now, many feel that we are filled with hate saying that there is hope for change. I would say that scripture says otherwise in 1 Cor. 6:11--"and that is what some of you were, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." If you or others have a problem with scripture, then your or their issue is not with Hope for Wholeness but with God or His Word.
The inference is that one can change the desire of the heart, but I have serious doubts. As a gay Christian I don't feel any incongruity with my sexuality and my faith. I recognize the power of faith to do great things in life, but I don't think God wants me to be something that I am not. That doesn't make sense to me. I worry that you offer hollow promises and I know that Exodus confuses the issue of gay equality for many people.
(Answer) It is not the position of the Hope for Wholeness Network, our affiliates, its director, or any of its members to condemn anyone for his or her beliefs or homosexual identity. We are here as an option for those who personally believe the Bible is and desire to follow what they believe is God's direction for their life. We further want to help individuals understand the genesis of their thoughts and feelings, escaping the modern mantra of "this is just who I am." We believe that truth will set you free, and with understanding the truth of the origin of homosexuality, and especially God's word, comes freedom.
It is not the Hope for Wholeness Network's position to convict the homosexual or the homosexual community of "sin" but rather to reach out in love and say that there is a choice. Many in the gay community believe that this "choice" is one of confusion and hate. Certainly, this "choice" brings up the question “What does “change” really mean?” as you so rightly have asked.
Our definition of 'change' is to line up with the person God created us to be. Change is not the absence of temptation or the absence of failure. It is a decision to change what, or who, controls your life, to realize that you are walking in the wrong direction and to turn around. When we talk about leaving homosexuality, we are not referring to going from gay to straight. It is about following Christ and His plan for you. It is about turning your whole life over to God and allowing Him to be in charge. It is making a decision to not be ruled or defined by your temptations.
Many of us would say that our behavior is extremely different from what it used to be; however, over the years influences in our lives did help cause the behaviors to develop. We have all gotten off track from who we were meant to be in life. We will deal with those influences in this series to help you get back on track.
You are correct that Jesus never spoke on sex or sexuality. There are a number of subjects that Jesus did not speak on, and not everything he said or did was written down. He did say in Matthew 5:17-18, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
If we look at the disciples as men with their own opinions and agendas, rather than vessels of God having been transformed by the Holy Spirit and their time with Christ, then really the Bible is of no use to us. We might as well make up our own religion. The Bible is something that has deep meaning as a whole. To look at parts cynically, rather than asking God for understanding and revelation and how our lives should be viewed through the lens of scripture, is not Christianity or using scripture as God intended.
Jesus came to set us free, however not to sin. Sin is a bondage that Christ wants to free us from. Romans 8:1-4, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”
This is not a practice in which we engage, however, we cannot give you a concrete answer to this question. If the Lord prompts you to do this, then it absolutely is what you should do. However, if you are doing this based on your own agenda, it could be dangerous. So let me offer you some suggestions.
If you are going to attend a Gay Pride event:
Do pray – Ask others to pray with you concerning your role at the event.
Do prepare – Before the event, read books, articles and testimonies that are posted on our website so that you have the ability to engage in meaningful conversation if necessary.
Do expect opposition – Remember you are the outsider. This is their event for which they have official approval.
Do act with utmost courtesy, respect and Christian love.
Do not go alone. Be sure to check with your pastor or another Christian leader so that someone else knows you are there.
Do not carry signs or placards – even if the message is truthful. Keep in mind that regulations are different in each city for what is appropriate or legal.
Do not distribute divisive or demeaning literature. If you need pamphlets, we have one available for you on our resource page.
Do not shout at the participants.
Any time we try to go against something, especially as deeply rooted as homosexuality and sexual addiction, our body and the demonic world do not want us to deny ourselves and will give us "kick back". Ephesians 6:10-18, verse 12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” When we try to stop deeply rooted patterns, addictions, we cannot do it alone and we cannot do it without major changes, and we will experience strong kick back. There are also relational kick backs to expect, which is even more of a reason to need help.
It is a very good realization that there needs to be a period of coming to Christ for healing after walking away from homosexuality. Many unfortunately have to find out after getting married that marriage is not going to heal you. Trying to date (the opposite sex), and certainly marriage, too soon can lead to a great deal of frustration and disappointment on both sides.
I found the single life very difficult, but necessary in the early stages of recovery and healing. I believe that two to five years as a good target time for singleness towards a decision either way.
First, we must understand, just as an alcoholic or former drug user understands, that we must change our friends and our life patterns. We can no longer have fellowship with homosexuals and get free from homosexuality. We cannot go where we used to go. We cannot watch what we used to watch. We cannot even wear what we used to wear. We cannot keep doing the same things and expect to see change.
We must be patient with ourselves and others. We must have understanding of why we do things and ask for help. But don’t lose heart, as God has provided nourishment for our needs. There is a reason we are drawn to same-sex intimacy and the community in the gay lifestyle. We need it! What? We need intimacy and community. These are legitimate needs. However, when we pervert them with sexual intimacy, outside of God’s provision of one man and one woman in marriage, we pervert the relationships and the legitimacy of our needs being met. Unconditional love and fellowship becomes conditional. We go to someone trying to take, rather than give and they come to take rather than give. We don’t see it that way, however scripture tells us in John 4:19, “We love, because Christ first loved us.” To truly understand love, we must have Christ in us and first in our lives. We must learn to deny ourselves and have Him be our filling. Then, after restoration through Him, we give out of our abundance. They receive the “splash over” of our being completely filled in Him.
It is during this time that we learn the importance of healthy same-sex relationships and community within the church. God means for us to be in community with one another, and in strong same-gender relationships. He tells us to “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb 10:23-25). In Ecclesiastes 4:8-12 it encourages us to be in close relationship with one another. Verse 10: “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
In James 5:13-16, verse 16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” He means us to be vulnerable in our relationships.
As we grow as men and women, we will discover ourselves as we have never known us. We begin to like ourselves. We grow, we mature. We will have set backs, we will get discouraged, but this is normal. As we grow, and follow Him, He will reveal more to us. Does He mean us to marry or be single? If you have a desire to be married, chances are this is His desire to. If you have a peace about being single and celibate, chances are He has gifted you to do this to serve others in His Kingdom. Regardless, He intends us to be in community within His church, and in close healthy same-gender relationships. Pray that He reveals these persons to you and the courage to speak with them. Understand that not all relationships are for the long term, and people will reject you. This actually helps mature us. And they are not rejecting you, they are just not ready. God will use your encounter with this person in their life and yours. Have multiple relationships; just one is not enough and leads to emotional dependency and frustration.
Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
The male’s role in a young boy’s life cannot be underestimated. Just important is the communication from the mother towards the son about other men, his father, and his own masculine strivings. Mom being overly emotionally enmeshed with her son, by telling him inappropriate details for his young developing mind and details that should be shared with other adults to lean on, are important obstacles.
Affirming your son in his masculinity is very important. Saying statements of affirmation like—“I am so proud of the young man you are becoming” is very important.
Gently pushing your son towards more masculine strivings is very important.
I saw my son as one whom I believed would be picked on a couple of years ago. I looked into karate, as I had heard some very positive things. He has been doing this for some time. This involvement with these boys and the male coaches has been extremely positive for him. While he is still vulnerable, they work with him as do I on a regular basis. There are a great many single mothers who have their sons in the program for this very reason.
Men are doers; they develop their masculinity by doing masculine endeavors. Sports, fighting/ learning to fight, adventures in the woods/mud/etc., is very important. Looking for opportunities like these, that area programs and churches are doing, is going to be vital in him growing as a young man.
I would encourage you to check into your church, or area churches, for what is going on for his age. I would also encourage you to call upon area karate schools and see what they offer for children your son’s age. The karate gym my son attends has an amazing program for kids, and they are constantly building them up in their character. I was so impressed that I too joined. I usually recommend this to all of my young male clients. It’s not cheap, but well worth the investment.
If your son knows how to defend himself, then he most likely won’t ever have to. Bully’s are drawn out and react to fear, somewhat like dogs react to fear. If your son knows how to defend himself, through thorough instruction and practice (becoming a black-belt, etc.), then he will have no fear of confrontation. A lack of fear will repel bullies—they are looking for easy targets.
Scripture says that the meek will inherit the earth. It says that he will make the weak strong. When referring to turning your cheek, I strongly believe that a meek person has the capacity to do this and not be crushed or harmed. To tell a weak person to turn the check, in my opinion, borderlines on cruelty. Helping a young man learn to defend himself and defend himself if necessary, is helping him to develop meekness from weakness.
These efforts, along with encouragement, will help him feel more “at-one” with his own gender. Feeling “different-from” one’s own gender is the beginnings of gender confusion or homosexual development. One must feel the “same as” other boys, for “opposites” to “attract” during puberty. So, with this, opposite sex involvements are not helpful until he can feel like “one of” the guys. This is the main issue in the male development cycle mentioned on my DVDs.
Your question was about male strivings and masculine involvement, so I have not gone into great lengths about the importance of bible study and church attendance. Him developing as a man of God is important, however it is your job to as best you can positively influence him in that direction. Obviously though, you cannot make that decision for him.
I believe that if you will follow these instructions, that your son will develop into a strong young man. While he is in this vulnerable state, make sure to watch him very closely as he could fall prey to not just bullies but child predators. This is another very good reason for learning strong self defense. My son is under a personal commitment to black-belt. I would encourage you to look into something similar, as well as other avenues of masculine efforts.
While statistics are skewed and the issue is more of perception than culture (a typical suburban teen enviornment vs. larger urban cities that are more gay populated), we can approximately say that 1% are lesbian and 3% male homosexual.
Hope for Wholeness Network is a non-denominational para church ministry. We are supported by many churches and are therefore not affiliated with any denomination or independent church. All of our directors represent varying denominations, such as The Assemblies of God, Church of God, non-denominational, and Southern Baptist. Other members of our staff represent varying Christian denominations not mentioned.
Temptation is an internal battle that everyone deals with on some level. Our ministry is unique though in that it deals primarily with individuals who do not understand boundaries. It is with this in mind that we have our policies in place to help define those boundaries. Group is not a place to come and find friends, but to get help. This is a big reason why the group is not open to the public without first going through a counseling appointment. It is our responsibility to the group, you, and the ministry leadership, that our groups are a safe place.
As a non-profit ministry with non-licensed counselors, we do not charge for our services. However, we do ask for a suggested donation for our counsel. We do not turn anyone away. A church may wish to sponsor an individual that does not have the funds. We do not ask for a donation for brief phone calls or email to ask about the counseling process or how we counsel in general.
Suggested donation for one-on-one "experience based" counseling for individual, couple, or family counseling (including lengthy email, letter, or telephone exchanges) is $60.00 per hour. We do not bring up the amount of the donation during the counseling session, only now and prior to the appointment in paperwork provided. Suggested donation for support groups is 2% of gross household income. Materials such as books or workbooks are an additional expense, if you choose to purchase something. We do have an extensive library for clients use.
It is our desire not to charge or ask anything for our services. Our most important goal is to establish a helpful relationship with the individual to support them towards wholeness in Christ. However, we have found that not asking for a donation for our time actually hinders the individual in their healing process. We want persons to take this time serious and take ownership of their situation and realize their need. Hope for Wholeness receives only approximately 10% of its annual income from donations for services.