A former teacher turned author is calling on Christians and church leaders to ruminate on better ways they could navigate LGBT issues and ideologies that affect the church.
Celebrate Kids founder and president Dr. Kathy Koch recently spoke out to give advice on how parents and churches can handle sexuality and transgender issues in Christian families. Dr. Koch, who is a staff member with Summit Ministries and a former teacher and education expert, lamented that some pastors and church leaders are not fully equipped to tackle such issues.
Dr. Koch, who is a speaker for issues on education, homeschooling, and evangelism, urged church leaders and pastors to be more "prepared" to handle these issues. She lamented that some pastors graduate from seminary but lack "coursework in evangelism, mental health," which she admitted she did not understand, CBN News reported.
Instead, Dr. Koch encouraged pastors to attend conferences, read periodicals and consume content that would allow them to understand how to address their congregants' challenges.
Celebrate Kids Founder Identifies Pain Points in Church Leader Training
According to Dr. Koch, one of the biggest barriers in addressing transgender and sexuality issues in Christian families today is the struggle to admit the presence of heterosexual sexual sin. Most people tend to avoid the issue altogether. Additionally, judgements could also deter people from reaching out and aiding in healing and restoration.
Dr. Koch, who has a Ph.D. in reading and educational psychology from Purdue University, suggested getting rid of the "hierarchy" in people's minds and instead "train up the people sitting in our pews to welcome the prodigal home and to allow for that conversation without" feeling shocked that it is "happening in your family" and questioning "What have you done?"
Instead of rebuking family members who struggle with transgender and sexuality issues, Dr. Koch urged Christian families to "love them in the moment of their pain" and take the journey with them instead. She said that Christian families must ask, "How can I walk with you?" and assure them, "Let me pray for you."
Dr. Koch added that the reality is that some Christians do face transgender and sexuality issues. But believers must know how to engage in the right ways. The most important piece of advice she offered was, "We certainly don't make them feel judged."
Views on Transgender Issues are Divided Along Religious, Political Lines
In 2017, the Pew Research Center revealed that there is a striking divide between the American public along religous lines on whether a person can be a gender different from their sex at birth. Research showed that most Christians in the U.S. or 63% said that whether a person is a man or woman is determined by their sex at birth. Among those who did not identify with any religion, 62% said thatr a person's gender is not necessarily determined by their sex at bith.
The survey also showed that religious differences also extend to questions about societal acceptance of transgender people. Most white Evangelical Protestants (61%) believe that society has "gone too far" in accepting people who are transgender. Additionally, about 34% of Christians said they knew someone who is transgender.