I have to be honest: I don't know many gay people. In fact, I only have one gay friend. During my stint as a youth pastor/volunteer, I have never had any gay students in my ministry. Maybe there were and I didn't know it, but to my knowledge, I have never crossed paths with a gay student.
It was for that very reason that I was pleased when Shawn Harrison sent me a copy of his book, Ministering to Gay Teenagers to read. I wanted to be adequately prepared for the day that the Lord brings a student experiencing same-sex attraction into my ministry.
Shawn writes the book from his own experience with same-sex attraction. He shares his story of being bullied and harassed in high school and how Christians were some of the worst. He also shares how a young lady came into his life and accepted him as a person. Not as a project or a sinner, but as a person. She took him to church and it was through her witness and friendship that he came to know Christ.
Ministering to Gay Teenagers offers many tips to both the youth pastor/volunteer and to the parents. There are many helpful suggestions and ideas on how to handle what can be a devastating revelation. Throughout the book, Shawn never seeks to prove a point or states whether homosexuality should be embraced as a viable, alternative lifestyle. He strives to help the reader understand that change is only possible through the work of the Holy Spirit and that youth pastors and parents should not for change or guilt, but pray for the Holy Spirit to move and work.
The book is very short, only about 50 pages. I read it in less than an hour. While it is not exhaustive, Ministering to Gay Teenagers is a good resource and should find a place on every caring pastor's bookshelf or Kindle.
Thank you, Shawn, for sharing this book with me. I pray that it will be a tool to help bring others, gay or straight, into the loving embrace of Jesus Christ.
If you would like to know more about Shawn's ministry, please visit his blog at Six:11 Ministries.