Jul 25, 2017

4 Big Questions Children's Ministries Must Answer About Same Sex Relationships

Acceptance of same-sex relationships continues to grow in our country.  Support for same-sex marriage is at its highest point in over 20 years.  62% of Americans say they favor same-sex marriage.  In 2010, 48% of Americans opposed same-sex marriage.  Today, only 37% oppose it.

Much of the change in this area is being driven by the Millennials.  They are the young parents and young adults in your ministry.
  • 41% of the Silent Generation favors same-sex relationships
  • 46% of Boomers favor same sex relationships
  • 65% of Gen Xer's favor same-sex relationships
  • 74% of  Millennials favor same-sex relationship.
As you can see, with each successive generation, people are more accepting of same-sex relationships.  This is true even among believers.  While overall, evangelicals continue to oppose same-sex marriage at 59%, support is growing.  47% of evangelical Millennials and Gen Xers favor same-sex marriage.  This is up from only 29% in March of 2016.  

Question 1 -Will we approve of same-sex relationships?  This moves beyond just accepting people in a same-sex relationship.  Of course, every church should be a place where anyone is welcome to attend.  But the question is, will you put your stamp of approval and blessing on same-sex relationships?  Will you acknowledge it as being acceptable in the eyes of God?  What will you tell the kids in a pre-teen small group who ask if the church thinks it is okay to be in a same-sex relationship?

Question 2 - Will we baptize a person who is actively involved in a same-sex relationship?  What will we do when a gay parent wants to be baptized with their 3rd grader? 

Question 3 - Will we allow a person in a same-sex relationship to serve in our children's ministry?  Will we only allow them to serve in a behind-the-scenes roll and not in a highly visible roll like a large group teacher?  Or will we say no to them serving in any capacity?

Question 4 - Will we perform a child dedication for a same-sex couple?  What will we do when same-sex couple inquires about participating in child dedication?  Will we only take into consideration the child or will the parent's situation be considered as well?

These are big questions that each ministry needs to work through.  The purpose of this article is not to tell you what to do.  Each ministry must decide this for themselves.  And it is best to decide what you will do before you are faced with one of these situations..  The pastor and senior leaders should obviously help take the lead on decisions like this.

We are faced with a new day in our culture.  A culture that not only accepts, but celebrates same-sex relationships.  The church must navigate this with wisdom.  How we answer these questions will be a major factor in the days ahead.

The floor is yours.  Has your children's ministry answered these questions yet?  If so, how did you answer?   If not, are you working through them?  Share your thoughts,  comments and suggestions in the comment section below.


If we say no to them doesn't that mean we say no to anybody living in willful sin?

We would say no to all of them. We actually have not had the question asked but we have had people who are in relationships that are outside of biblical guidelines (living together or sexually active) ask those questions and we have said no. That is a conversation starter for us not the end. We hope to say it in a way to be clear on what we feel scripture teachers while attempting to minister to them.

Wow, so after sending these questions out to executive leadership we discover later that day that one of our 9th grade girls serving in preschool is leaning towards a same-sex relationship and thinks God hates her now and that she has to leave the church. RYAN you are exactly right... this is a great opportunity to start the conversation. I'm so glad she felt comfortable enough to share it so we can shepherd her through this.

Now on the other hand (as we would handle all sin) she will need to step down while this is in process. We're casting vision for her life that lines up with God's Word so that she can show restraint along the way and restore her to her true identity.

Thanks for putting those questions out there Dale!


Ministry is messy. I had dinner last week with a gay couple we know. I was thinking - this is right where Jesus would be. You have to hang out with people to influence them. They want to know you care about them before they will be open to what you have to say.

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