June 15, 2009

Great Article on The Evangelical Network Conference

A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to particilate in the annual conference of The Evangelical Network in Gastonia, NC. The organization is a group of evangelicals that is not only reaching out to include the GLBT community in God's kingdom, but is working with mainstream churches to bridge the gap between straight and GLBT people. If that sounds familiar, it might be that you saw it on the heading of this blog--that is a mission we are passionate about and hope to become involved in supporting TEN's efforts.

Gastonia is in the Charlotte metropolitan area, and the conference was covered by a lengthy article in their local GLBT newspaper, Q-Notes by Matt Comer (one of my Facebook friends). Thanks to TEN President Todd Farrell (another one of my Facebook friends) for the link. Here are some excerpts:

When most people hear the word “evangelical,” they immediately think of people like the late Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson of “The 700 Club” or Focus on the Family’s James Dobson. Far-right fundamentalists, it seems, don’t have a monopoly on the word. (AMEN!)

David Thomas, pastor of Abundant Grace Church near Hickory, was one of several local leaders who helped to organize the conference and assist with logistics. He told Q-Notes that he was excited to bring the conference to the state and help heal some of the rifts between LGBT people and their faith.

“Evangelicals have given the word ‘evangelical’ a bad rap,” he said. “The word comes from a Greek word meaning ‘good news.’ It is the good news of Jesus Christ. We believe the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, that he came to bring love, peace, deliverance and salvation to liberate peoples’ lives.”

Thomas was a speaker during one of the conference’s several worship experiences. He said he wanted to give people the message that they shouldn’t ever let anyone look down on them for any reason.

“If you are a person who believes in God, loves God, don’t let people look down on you,” he said. “Live a life that exemplifies what Christ’s life was about: love and caring for other people.”

David is a wonderful man of God, and I couldn't give any better advice that he did in that quote.

The conference was wonderful and we were very blessed and energized. It's no coincidence that you're seeing a lot more content on this blog (with more to come) since we came back. Thanks to Todd, Carl Smith, and everyone else who did the hard work and set the stage for the Holy Spirit to take over that hotel for the weekend.

Click here to read the rest of the article in Q-Notes.

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