What makes us different?Our Distictives
consider the question of causation to be an unnecessary point of
disagreement between the Christian community and the gay community. Our
understanding of current research indicates that there is no singular,
conclusive causative factor - but that a complex combination of both
physiological and environmental factors may impact different people to
different degrees. We challenge a simplistic, reductionistic focus on
environmental factors such as family dynamics or childhood sexual abuse.
Our review of current research around reorientation suggests that a change in persistent, dominant sexual orientation is rare. We
also acknowledge that coercive pressure to attempt to change one's
orientation (ie. such as being presented as the only way to experience
God's love or redemption) can be harmful on multiple levels. We are not
focused on orientation change in our pastoral engagement with people
outside the heterosexual mainstream.
We are not engaged with public initiatives which seek to limit equality extended to sexual minorities. We want to raise our voice on behalf of justice initiatives that are consistent with the good news of Jesus Christ.
want to create and nurture a place where multiple outcomes to the
journey of integrating faith and sexuality are recognized, diversity is
respected, and every individual can be encouraged to explore and grow in
faith in Jesus Christ. We respect the autonomy of the individual to
own their faith journey even as we all share the call into community,
mutual submission, and shared discernment with other followers of
We are pastorally focused - not politically driven.
issue of homosexuality can be incredibly politically charged. The
conservative Christian community is most often perceived to have a
political agenda in their response to gay people. And gay advocacy
groups promote their agenda in the political and public realms and may
be perceived to be in opposition to conservative values.
like New Direction may be invited or expected to participate in some
capacity in this political arena. At New Direction, we believe God has
called us to focus on the pastoral care of people impacted by gender and
sexual identity questions. Such pastoral care necessarily considers
issues of justice as they affect people - both locally and globally.
But we have deliberately decided to not engage in political issues so
that we can stay focused on that which God has called us to: touching
real people's lives. In our commitment to be and to build a safe place,
we recognize the barriers that political involvement can erect for
those who may be tentatively seeking out a place to be real and honest
about their internal conflict related to questions of faith and
questions of sexuality. So, our focus is the pastoral care of people,
not participation in the political debates of our day.
We are relationally focused - not program driven.
the microwave mentality of our day, we tend to want 10 steps to this or
3 principles to achieve that. Unfortunately - or fortunately (depending
on how you look at it), people don't often fit the boxes we create for
them - and frankly - churches don't often fit the boxes we try to create
for them either. Each person touched by the realities of same-gender
attraction is unique. If we are to be relevant, credible, and
respectful of their journey, we will need to take the time to build a
relationship with them and hear their own personal story. And if we are
to be relevant, credible, and respectful of the journey of a particular
church, we'll need to build a relationship with that church and serve
them within the context of their unique story. So, while there are
various programs that New Direction makes use of, we will always put
relationship ahead of program.
We are discipleship focused - not change driven.
Over 30 years of ex-gay ministry in North America, a lot has been said about orientation change.
At New Direction, we acknowledge that current
research indicates that orientation change itself is rare.
We acknowledge the stories of those who have attempted to change their
orientation through therapy or groups who experienced harm and damage in
their personal and spiritual journeys. We also acknowledge that
individuals who connected with New Direction in past years may have
similar stories of harm - and we want to extend our deepest regret and
apology to these individuals in the hope that they will find closure on
those difficult chapters and be able to move forward positively with
God, self and others. And we, therefore, urge people to exercise
caution if they choose to explore any potential fluidity in their own
experience of sexuality, to have realistic expectations, and to embrace a
New Direction we're focused on encouraging people in their walk with
Christ and their growth in trusting and obeying God. Our priority is to
foster space where faith can be explored and deepened.
We are partnership focused - not empire driven.
convinced that God blesses those who work together. As we do strategic
planning, partnership is the common thread throughout. We're not about
building the empire of New Direction; we are about working with others
in the Body of Christ so that anyone who is dealing with same-gender
attraction will find a safe place to be real and honest about their
experiences and find the support and encouragement they need in their
journey of discipleship.