Garry Ingraham

Garry Ingraham on Biblically Faithful Ministry with the LGBTQ Community

on June 8, 2020

Garry Ingraham was once exclusively attracted to other men and very involved in the LGBTQ community. Now he has been married for about a dozen years to a former lesbian woman, Melissa, with whom he has two children.

In 2013, Garry and Melissa founded the Love & Truth Network, whose mission “is to help Christian leaders and the Church develop healthy environments of safety and transformation for the enormous number of men, women, and youth struggling with secret sexual sin and brokenness, empowering Christ-followers to become far more effective in our mandate to go and make disciples of all nations.”

Now Garry is also director of Transforming Congregations, a program of the Good News renewal group, which is specifically focused on “Equipping The United Methodist Church to model and minister God’s amazingly good design for sanctified and life-giving sexuality, as clearly revealed through the Scriptures.”

Garry recently sat down with me to share a bit about his personal testimony, his current ministry, responses to common criticisms, and mistakes made in the earlier days of some “ex-gay” ministries. He also tells us about his hopes for what ministry with the LGBTQ community can look like in the next Methodism, the importance of addressing gender dysphoria and unwanted same-sex attractions alongside other forms of sexual brokenness, and how all of us in the church, regardless of which particular struggles we have, need deeper Christian community.

The video is below.

 

If you prefer, you can download an audio-only version of this interview here:

 

To learn more about Garry’s ministry, and possibly ask him about the ZOOM and on-site training he offers to help small group leaders be more transparent and go deeper, and other relevant resourcing he offers for congregations, visit www.transformingcongregations.org

  1. Comment by Odell Horne on June 8, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

    Thank you Garry for providing this ministry to the LGBTQIAP community.

  2. Comment by E L C on June 8, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    While I wish Garry and his ministry well, I do hope that the “next Methodism” can look beyond ex-gay ministries in ministering to the gay community. I am on the LGBTQ spectrum, have been in a traditional marriage for 20 years, believe in a traditional sexual ethic, yet I also know that I am gay. It is not a label that I emotionally hold onto—but it is fact. I hope the new church will look toward Side B (Christian, gay, but non-affirming) ministries in finding a pathway for outreach to the gay community.

  3. Comment by td on June 11, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    I want to be respectful with my question, so please bear with me. I don’t understand how what you wrote about yourself is any different from what Garry has said about himself. He says that he still has same sex attractions. How is this any different from you writing that you are a non-affirning gay person in a traditional christian marriage?

  4. Comment by E C on June 12, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Very good question. A prominent goal of ex-gay ministries is “tranforming” gay clients into some version of “straight.” Being/identifying as being gay is essentially sinful in itself from their standpoint. Side B gay Christians, on the other hand, accept their LGBTQ label, though most, I think, would say it is a matter of fact as opposed to being a point of pride. They would say that “being gay” is not the sin–acting it out in a sexual manner is.

    I, myself, have been a voluntary client of a PCA church-sponsored ex-gay counseling ministry many years ago, and I did not find it useful for purposes of trying to become straight.

    My biggest objection to the ex-gay movement is that it leads churches with the erroneous impression that with enough sincere prayer and reliance upon God, it all goes away. A good counselor friend of mine that has been involved with both Exodus International ( prominent ex-gay ministry no longer in existence) as well as Focus on the Family told me that in all the years he worked in the area, he never witnessed anyone totally losing their unwanted same-sex desires. This is the kind of information that pastors, laymen in the pews need to hear. I think Garry admits in the video that it is not a quick fix–I would argue that it is not a fix at all. And I would argue that those gays and ex-gays who follow a traditional sexual ethic–regardless of the path, are being faithful.

    In summary, the answer to your question is in large part a matter of semantics. However, those semantics seem to be an enormous issue within the evangelical churches because they believe that with sufficient faithfulness, the problem evaporates.

  5. Comment by td on June 19, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks for the clarification. This identity issue is confusing for me because i don’t think people should identify themselves based on their sexual attractions. However, this is very hard to do in our current over-sexualized society. I think your answer confirmed what i guessed.

  6. Comment by JCR on June 21, 2020 at 6:08 am

    I too disagree with the idea of defining myself by my sexual desires/attractions. At the age of 25, following a few months of psychotherapy with a gifted UM minister, I experienced heterosexual attractions for the first time in my life. Though I still experience same-sex attractions, these have not prevented me from enjoying a full and satisfying marriage to a beautiful woman for the past 38 years. I do not choose to wear the label ‘gay’. Like Graham, I can acknowledge the reality of the attractions/temptations, but I don’t feel the need to ‘identify’ myself by them. Dr. Robert Gagnon, similarly, indicates he has resisted the label ‘poly Christian’, despite the fact that he continues to experience sexual attractions toward many women.

  7. Comment by Andrew Hughes on June 9, 2020 at 9:13 am

    Thank you Gary for your insite into sexual issues and our struggle with it in the Church.

  8. Comment by td on June 9, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    This was a very good interview. Thanks.

    The whole downfall here in christianity seems to be its inability to speak when it comes to issues that western society that decided are acceptable now in polite society- premarital sex, masturbation, homosexual sex, adult pornography, etc.

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