GCN's Ministry Works and Areas of Need
GCN's "Grow in Faith" pledge drive was designed primarily to help us hire the staff that we need. Your donations also help us develop the following aspects of our ministry:
Website Development and Expansion
GCN's website is the "public face" of our ministry, and it is where most of the daily interaction between our members takes place. Featuring over 70 different forums and 7,000 registered members, our site contains features developed exclusively for GCN and continues to be a source of fellowship and support for many.
Unlike many websites, GayChristian.Net runs on its own server, enabling us to thoroughly customize the experience for our users and to provide high-bandwidth content without requiring paid memberships.
Future expansion plans for GCN's website include a prayer request tracking system, new people-connection features, personalized home pages, audio/video content, enriched chat rooms, and more.
Maintaining our website carries associated costs in hardware, software, bandwidth, and human labor. GCN pays for every byte of data downloaded from our website, and every new feature must be designed and coded by human beings who have to have a way to pay their own bills!
Our weekly internet radio program is now reaching more people than ever, thanks to listings in iTunes and numerous podcast directories. The show continues to receive comments from listeners around the world who have no other means of support. Here are bits from a few actual letters the show has received:
"I just happened to come across your podcast while searching the internet. Now, I listen all the time. It really feels good to know there are other people out there helping people who are christian and homosexual. You guys are doing awesome! I can't say that enough. Great job and thank you!"
"GCN radio was the first thing I saw (listened to) on the site. If not for GCN radio I never would have heard the things that made me want to make a difference in my life and in others. Thanks guys."
"I have enjoyed the site and have listened to a good number of broadcasts already. I'm trying to broaden my understanding and be who I am. Thanks for helping me with that process."
"I am new to your radio show and I must say that it has really been a blessing in my life. I am a 28 year old professional guy who is in the closet about my sexuality and don't really have any gay friends. Being a Christian and being gay can be very lonely place for me but I must say your show really warms my heart."
"Dear Justin and Brian, first off i want to thank you both for doing this show. It has helped me time and time again. When things got rough, i listened to your show, and i knew that i could make it through."
Youth Stories DVD
GCN has been working for a couple of years now on a documentary-style video chronicling the stories of gay Christian youth. We have already filmed numerous young people talking about their faith struggles, coming out process, and the response they received from other Christians. We plan to edit these stories together and make them available on DVD to churches and youth groups around the U.S. and elsewhere. We believe that stories, not arguments, will ultimately make the biggest difference in the church's struggle to deal with this issue.
A sneak preview of the current progress on the DVD project will soon be available on the website. We still need funding to help pay for the labor, equipment, and distribution costs associated with creating this DVD.
Welcoming Church Profile Database
GCN is committed to helping LGBT Christians find local congregations, both Side A and Side B, where they can get plugged in and not worry about being ostracized because of their sexuality. We believe a database of welcoming churches is essential for that goal, and we feel that the existing databases are lacking, both in scope and in specific information about the congregations themselves. We also believe that welcoming churches are woefully out of touch with one another, and that making a positive difference in the church means helping to network them. Toward those ends, we have been working to build a comprehensive profile-based database and networking center for welcoming churches at WelcomingChurches.com.
This is a gargantuan task and needs more direct oversight from our staff to improve and grow it. Your donations make that happen.
We also want to reach out to families of LGBT Christians, many of whom are struggling to accept their loved one in the face of beliefs that the Bible condemns homosexuality. Secular organizations such as PFLAG have been very helpful to many families, but generally these organizations are ineffective at responding to serious questions about the Bible or Christian thought.
GCN is in a unique position to provide support to Side A and Side B parents and other family members through printed materials as well as audio/video content and spiritual counseling. A GCN-produced pamphlet, for example, could be utilized by other organizations who might not otherwise know how to address uniquely Christian concerns.
GCN Annual Conference
Interest in our annual conference continues to grow each year. What started as a simple way for GCN's members to meet one another has become a powerful time of spiritual growth in its own right. This powerful weekend features Christ-centered programming for hundreds of attendees. A dynamic schedule of worship and workshops, reflection and prayer, fun and laughter facilitate a weekend of profound spiritual change and growth in our community.
In an effort to make the conference available to as many people as possible, our conference operates at a loss. The registration fees we charge are less than the actual per-person cost of putting on the conference. Transportation, equipment rentals, and meeting space rental are just some of the expenses associated with the conference. Your support helps us make sure the conference is available to support and inspire anyone with a desire to attend.
GCN Resource Library and Local Group Development
We are also very aware that much of the work happening in the LGBT Christian community will ultimately happen on the local level. In addition to supporting churches worldwide, we want to help support local groups of GCN members that are beginning to spring up all over. One of the ways we can do this is by continuing to build a library of resources that we can make available to local groups. This library will ultimately include Christian materials purchased by GCN and made available upon request to local group organizers.
Although this project is currently on the back burner while we focus on more pressing matters, it is an example of some of the future expansion projects we would like to tackle in the future.
Technical Support and Security
As GCN's internet presence grows, it is necessary for us to invest in providing technical support to our users, fixing software bugs and glitches in a timely manner, and monitoring the security of our system to protect confidential member data from hackers. Behind-the-scenes technical issues don't make great television, but they are an important (and sometimes costly) aspect of internet ministry that can't be overlooked.
GCN's leadership continues to regularly assess our members' needs and the ways we can impact our culture at large.
In addition to the project-related expenses listed here, we have the same expenses any organization has, and our funds are limited. Your support of this ministry enables us to accomplish these goals and reach more people than ever before with the love and transforming power of Jesus Christ.
Help us make an impact by joining our "Grow in Faith" Pledge.
"I love the feeling of Godliness I get from reading the message boards and listening to GCN radio, and I know it helps me stay focused on God when the rest of the world tends to draw me away."
"Without [GCN] I KNOW that I wouldn't be alive right now. I was ready to kill myself the day I found this site and joined up thinking, "What the hell? If I am going to die and go to hell today, I might as well take a trip through the 'religious' part of Sodom and Gomorrah... I was wrong...And now I have the hope, the grace, and the self-esteem to live life again. I have NEVER felt so alive!"
"I came to GCN to learn to understand about my son's homosexuality better. I needed people to talk to about it along with links to more information. I've learned a lot, but there is always much more to learn. People from GCN took me right in and made me feel welcomed, gave me lots of information, prayers and friendly advice. I've made friends here that mean a lot to me now. I've grown away from fear of the unknown into a love and a desire to do more. I try to be here as friend and as a mom. So... what am I saying? I came here to learn, and I'm still here because i'm still learning and now have a deep love for glbt people and their concerns. I've made many new friends here and hope to be encouraging to everyone as a mom and especially as a friend."
"Thanks to my GCN family, who [is] teaching me about the family of God and the value of community."
- New York
"GCN offered a place to tell people what was happening with me and, lo and behold, others listened, prayed for me and gave me comfort. It was a small place in those days ... I think I was registration 234 or something like that. Most friendships have lasted over the intervening years (golly ... *years*). My experience at GCN gave me the courage to plough ahead and maintain the connection with God as I stumbled through the coming out process, the divorce, the problems with kids, uprooting my entire adult life, moving to a different city, taking on completely different employement, living out of a suitcase for 18 months and, finally, meeting someone special and settling down, dealing with his kids, slowly finding again a place of normalcy but with a big difference -- this time I'm me. No hiding. No pretending. I'm not around as much as I used to be -- work, family and church are seeing to that. But I still value this community and the ministry it represents -- an oasis, a place of healing and acceptance and some occasional hilarity (and drama)."
"I lost most of my friends coming out, and the only place I was getting told it was okay to be gay and Christian was the internet, mostly from GCN."
"By chance I stumbled across GCN again and read a post about God, being gay, punishment and love, and I began to lurk. Each time I read a post I felt like God was talking to me and little by little I reforged my own relationship with God and from there took steps to get out of my situation. Six months later I was single and in a much better position to begin participating at GCN. Funny thing is, when I look back and think about that relationship and its aftermath, GCN comes to mind as one of the more powerful influences that helped me get up again. No surprise, really. That is the power of community."
"I'm here because you guys are the only friends I have. Not only have you helped me accept my sexuality while not losing my religion, but you also are fun to talk to and are my friends."
"Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who hs left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life."
- Matthew 19:27-29