Fort Myers Conference Details

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Hope Rising Fort Myers! - February 20, 2016

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9:00 – 9:45Worship, Welcome, Testimony
9:45 – 10:30Understanding Homosexuality and Transgenderism by Marc Dillworth Ph.D.
 10:40 – 11:15Worship and Testimony
11:15 – 12:00Ins and Outs of Leaving Homosexuality by McKrae Game
12:00 – 12:50Lunch
12:50 – 1:40Breakout Classes A (4 classes to choose from and will be recorded)
1:50 – 2:40Breakout Classes B (4 classes)
2:50 – 3:30Worship & Testimonies
3:30 – 4:15Inspirational Message by Matthew Aaron
4:20 – 5:10Q&A Breakout Groups: Men, Women, Students to 23, Family, and Pastors
5:15 – 6:00How Are We Going To Respond? by Meleah Allard

Conference Staff Minute schedule

General Sessions

Understanding Homosexuality and Transgenderism--Male and Female by Marc Dillworth

The media and others have misrepresented homosexuality and transgenderism as a pre-determined, biological condition. This session examines homosexual/transgender identities, and outlines some of the core similarities of personal and family dynamics that can lead to the development of these desires and identities.

Marc DillworthMarc has advanced degrees in clinical psychology and Christian counseling. He is a state licensed mental health provider in Florida and has been in private practice for over 30 years. In addition to his office practice, he helps many people internationally via telephone and Skype. His main focus is helping those who deal with unwanted homosexuality or transgenderism and their families. Marc is the Coordinator of Hope for Wholeness’ professional counselor network. Formerly, he was the Director of Exodus International’s Counselor Network. He also served as a board member of NARTH (National Association for Research and Treatment of Homosexuality), where he continues to be a clinical member. He has written professional papers and presented on the topic of homosexuality and gender identity disorder at NARTH, Exodus, HFW, Christian TV, and other venues. He is a current member of the American Psychological Association and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Ins and Outs of Leaving Homosexuality by McKrae Game

This is a serious topic; unfortunately, much of the media has portrayed the ex-gay movement as "pray the gay away." Contrary to those false accusations, the Holy Spirit leads people, who surrender to Christ as their Lord, into His healing of maleness/femaleness, and away from identifying as homosexual. It’s important that we look at what IS possible, the energy and support required to overcome, and then recognize both the real-life stories of change and the ongoing struggles of many.

McKrae Blue squareMcKrae is the president and founder of the Hope for Wholeness Network and author of the newly released book titled, The Transparent Life. He was ordained by his home church, First Baptist North Spartanburg--First North, as a Southern Baptist Minister to work specifically in ministry with those affected by same-sex attractions. As a young man McKrae struggled desperately to understand who he was and, at age 19, began living as a homosexual for several years. After receiving Christ as his Lord, he believes he was uniquely shown a path to freedom that he began living. He calls that path, “The Transparent Life.” McKrae started Truth Ministry in 1999 (which is now Hope for Wholeness), and began full-time ministry in 2003. He has worked with hundreds of men, teens, and families to help them understand the root issues of homosexuality and how to have a successful, Christ-focused, transparent life. He’s spoken on a variety of platforms, including Christian television, and many news media outlets. McKrae and his wife, Julie, live in Spartanburg, SC. They have a son and a daughter.

Getting Out of The Rut of Stalled Spiritual Growth 

by Matthew Aaron

Many strugglers fall into one of two categories: consumer vs. servant.  Consumers, pridefully draw the world in to themselves to get their selfish needs met.  Servants humbly move out into the world seeking growth opportunities.  I'll describe the characteristics of both categories and extol the virtues of servanthood as a catalyst for renewed spiritual growth. 

Matthew AaronMatthew has been mentoring young people with various struggles for over 13 years. His passion to see men and women set free from same-sex attractions stems from his own lifetime struggle with the issue. In 1998 Matthew rededicated his life to Jesus Christ and walked away from 10 years as a gay man. His goal, with Jesus Christ as his Guide, is to help people recover the life that was stolen from them at birth. He currently resides in Orlando, FL where he serves as the Director for Big Fish Ministry, a live-in program for young men who desire to walk with Jesus and away from SSA.

How Are We Going To Respond?

by Meleah Allard

As a fitting end to the Hope Rising one-day conference, our speaker exhorts the Church to first, look at their own lives (both individually and corporately), repent of their sins, and then—and only then—passionately reach out to people dealing with homosexuality/transgenderism. And the Body of Christ is to do all of this without compromising biblical mercy or truth.

Meleah is a former lesbian who spent a decade living homosexually. Today she is the executive director of New Beginning Support Ministry. She began the ministry as a satellite of Truth Ministry in 2005, and launched it as its own non-profit organization in early 2015. Through NBSM, Meleah offers counseling, support groups, a service ministry called Life Support, and is available for speaking and teaching. Meleah has been married to Mark since 1995, and they have 4 adult children and 2 grandchildren. She is currently working to complete her BS in Psychology and Human Services at Montreat College.


Personal Testimonies

You will hear from men, women, and families who’ve been affected by homosexuality, and how Christ has lovingly intervened in their healing process. Their stories are encouraging reminders that God is still in the business of rescuing people from the darkest pits, transforming their lives, and restoring their relationships.

Breakout Classes A

Answering Pro-Gay Theology by McKrae Game

This session takes a powerful, straightforward look at the growing acceptance of homosexuality and transgenderism in the evangelical community. This class provides a clear biblical response to understanding pro-gay theology’s beliefs, and describes the vital combination of conviction and compassion when communicating with those who have embraced pro-gay theology.

Hope for People Who Struggle by Meleah Allard

Choosing to leave homosexuality and/or transgenderism is a difficult process. However, tens of thousands of men, women, and youth have successfully done just that. This breakout session is specifically for those battling same-sex sexual attractions and/or transgenderism. If you are seeking practical tools, resources, and a safe place to ask questions, then come receive support, hope, and encouragement for your journey.

Reaching IN to the LGBTQ Community: What Does Jesus Do? by Derek Paul

Jesus loved people while on this earth, and He still does, today. He loved interacting with people who were often rejected by the religious establishment of the day. His interaction with sinners was not designed to make them comfortable in their sin. Rather, He interacted with all people in order to lead them into a transforming relationship with Him. He wanted their life to be radically surrendered to His ways—what can be called a lifetime of intimate discipleship. This workshop will look at the true way Jesus interacted with sinners, and discuss parallels of how the Body of Christ can reach out with mercy and truth to the LGBTQ community.

When Homosexuality Hits Home by Marc Dillworth

This straightforward session will offer practical counsel on how to deal with the many conflicts and emotions that family members and friends often experience when learning of a loved one’s homosexuality and/or transgenderism.

Breakout Classes B

Change Happens by Keith Vennum

People who walk away from homosexuality and transgenderism do indeed change, although the transformation may not look like what was originally expected. Whether you experience same-sex attractions, or you love someone who does, this workshop will encourage you with a picture of the beauty and strength of a life truly transformed by Jesus Christ.

Practical Tips for Reaching Out by Derek Paul

Have you ever wondered what to say to someone who comes to you for help regarding their homosexual and/or transgendered feelings? You’ll hear practical tools to come alongside a struggling individual.

Pursuing Wholeness: The Role of Intimate Discipleship by Matthew Aaron

Many within the Church have felt ill equipped to minister to men, women, and youth dealing with sexuality--especially homosexuality and transgenderism. This session will help you understand how the intimacy of discipleship is essential to the process of pursuing freedom in Christ. You’ll gain a clearer understanding on how the Church can serve others by embracing the biblical model of God's love: 100% mercy and 100% strength. By doing so, the Body of Christ will be empowered to grow emotionally, relationally, and spiritually whole and holy in every area of their lives.

Developing Healthy Same-Sex Female Relationships by Michelle Hamilton

What do healthy, Biblical, female relationships look like? This workshop will show how to establish accountability relationships, as well as recognizing red flags in relationships and how to avoid/handle them.

Fort Myers Registration Details

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