We, the Session of Covenant Presbyterian Church, Lakeland, FL, has established a protocol for considering men for ministry who have homosexual backgrounds. This protocol is informed by Biblical leadership priorities, but we are not suggesting it should be adopted by other churches. It is Covenant’s guide for assessing the leadership qualifications of men with homosexual backgrounds who may be called to preach and teach at Covenant. We share it for the encouragement of men who may be called to pulpit ministry, but who are discouraged that there are few or no opportunities for that ministry.
Please note three additional observations regarding this protocol: 1) It is only different from our protocol for men dealing with other besetting sins in that it requires additional time and accountability. 2) It is a summary, not an exhaustive detailing of all six protocol points; details may vary depending on the man being considered for pulpit ministry. 3) We are convinced that no sin is beyond God’s ability to forgive, no sinner is beyond the Christ’s ability to save, and no sinner is beyond the Holy Spirit’s ability to sanctify and use for God’s glory.
- As a congregant, the candidate will be observed continually and questioned often by no less than three elders, men mature in the Word with insight regarding the challenges facing homosexuals, their sanctification and the mortification of their sin.
- During accountability the candidate will be required to be fully transparent about his past and present actions, thoughts, desires and impulses, with whom and where he spends his time, and his present growth in grace.
- The candidate will enter into the life of the church where he will participate in its worship, fellowship with its members and, when appropriate, work in mercy ministry, eventually being allowed to teach when approved by the session.
- Accountability will last for years rather than weeks or months, the length of time decided on a case-by-case basis, long enough to allow his elders time to witness a steady growth in grace, progress in sanctification and mortification of sin.
- In no case will the candidate be allowed in pulpit ministry who continues to identify as a homosexual Christian by using that label or some related label, or who believes he is a homosexual Christian but does not use labels to designate that identity.
- If the candidate has been faithful during years of accountability, his elders approve, and he qualifies in every other way for the office of teaching elder, the candidate, if he continues to feel called to pulpit ministry, will be encouraged to pursue that call with the blessing and full support of his session.