I often forget about Pride Month. It sneaks up on me every year.
On calls with potential new partners, I often tell my story and Jen has to nudge me via a behind-the-scenes text message to make sure I “come out” as gay.
It’s not that I’m ashamed of my sexuality — I’m fully out.
This is my 20th pride month out of the closet and pride is so much weaved into my daily life that I often forget that a gay man co-founding such an organization as Launchpad Partners is a big deal.
I grew up in an evangelical, non-denominational church. I didn’t understand at the time that I was gay, but my younger self knew that he didn’t belong in that church. It was toxic and potentially life-threatening to him.
I attended a small college that taught a conservative Christian worldview.
And then I came out.
By the grace of God, I knew I would be harmed if I stuck around. The stories of so many of my queer siblings who did stay in the church confirms the fears of that 22-year-old Aaron. Horrible conversion therapy. Family rejection. Suicide attempts. I’ve heard the same story too many fucking times.
So I left and didn’t look back.
But I eventually found my way to Highlands Church, a wonderfully affirming community that welcomed me with open arms and provided a safe space to heal. They encouraged me to serve and lead and even sent me out to help start another church.
When I became a pastor, I thought queer Christians needed our straight cis siblings to help pave the way for us.
But now that I’m a few years in, I realize I was wrong and here’s what I firmly believe now:
They need us more than we need them.
God has equipped my LGBTQ siblings with gifts not found elsewhere.
We know how to risk it all for love. We’ve been forced to live authentically. We’ve gone through fire to continue to worship Christ when a vast majority of the church tells us that Christ will condemn us to eternal hell for who we love.
We’ve sacrificed to get here. To simply belong.
We’re stronger for this journey.
Today’s church needs more of this strength. And we can provide it.
My fellow queer Christians, let’s show the world that nothing can separate us from the love of God, and let’s go launch more communities of love.
Happy Pride, beloveds.