What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming?: Navigating LGBT Questions in Your Church, By Travis Collins
What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming?
  • Length: 144 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: August 14, 2018
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4144
  • ISBN: 9780830841448

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16th Annual Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year

Is your church wrestling with LGBT questions from membership to marriage? Travis Collins has been there. A pastor who has walked congregations through the complex issues surrounding gay Christians, he knows firsthand the confusion and hurt that often follow. He has also seen churches have these conversations with grace and understanding.

In this practical resource, readers will gain insight into relevant biblical passages and, while the author is working from a traditional perspective, he offers insights from interpreters on both sides of the debate. They will consider the implications of their convictions for ministry practice, relationships, church policy, and more. They will hear testimonies from gay friends and family members about their experiences in the church. Collins calls readers to both grace and truth, with humility.

What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming? considers how we might welcome everyone into the church while calling for all to be transformed.

"In the plethora of positions and the maze of materials on this topic, Travis Collins's book is a welcome summary from a thinking pastor's heart. What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming? demonstrates clarity, sensitivity, and the desire to guard the unity of the body as we struggle honestly together to apply the gospel of grace and truth. It has been a breath of fresh air in the midst of what is often a polarizing issue fraught with vitriol and hostility."

Bill White, senior pastor of Christ Journey Church in Coral Gables, Florida

"At a time when many churches find themselves unprepared and ill-equipped to engage the questions of human sexuality that define our culture, this book is a most welcome resource! Written by a pastor for pastors, What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming? is a compelling guide for church leaders who are committed to navigating LGBT conversations in their communities with the sort of honesty and humility that ought to mark all Christian discourse. Unthoughtful, fear-driven polarization will likely continue over these issues, but Collins offers a richer vision of faithful Christian witness that we desperately need in our churches."

JR Rozko, codirector at Missio Alliance

"It's not just what Travis Collins wrote or why he wrote it that makes this a valuable book. It's also how he wrote it. In What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming? you'll find the complex topic of sexuality and the church unpacked with a central view of Christ and a purposeful, compassionate view of humanity. As a friend of Travis, I am not surprised by this. He writes what he lives and he lives what he writes—with evident conviction, wisdom, thoughtfulness, patience, and humility."

J. R. Briggs, founder of Kairos Partnerships, author of Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure

"In What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming? Travis Collins offers not a diatribe, but a conversation. Pastoral in tone, careful in scholarship, he guides us through the maze that is the current divide over same-sex sexual relations in the church. We may differ in approach, but I greatly appreciate this clarifying work."

David Fitch, B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary, author of Faithful Presence

"If you are in search of a thoughtful, accessible, pastoral guide to help your congregation or even denomination conduct the fraught conversation regarding same-sex relationships, then allow me to commend to you this valuable volume by my friend and ministerial colleague Dr. Travis Collins. Whether you embrace or are inclined to hold an affirming or a traditionalist view, there is much to learn from and ponder over in What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming?, which can in turn inform personal and ecclesial practice. In a day when more heat than light surrounds this complex, controverted matter, such a resource is both timely and necessary."

Todd D. Still, Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran DeLancey Dean & William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures at Baylor University

"Travis Collins has done a masterful job of providing a practical and pastoral application to the most challenging issue facing the church today. What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming? is an essential resource for churches that seek to be proactive, gracious, and redemptive in their approach to the many questions surrounding LGBT topics."

Phillip Faig, senior pastor, Downtown Baptist Church, Alexandria, Virginia

"What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming? (IVP, 2018) can be useful to Christians on the brink of giving in to LGBT demands and to non-Christians trying to understand why Bible-believers are standing firm."

Marvin Olasky, World Magazine, October 27, 2018


“Welcoming?” An Introduction

Part One: The Complexity
1. Meanings, Motives, Regrets, and Hopes
2. A Difficult, Knotty, Potentially Thorny Conversation
When Your Child Is Gay
3. The Terrifying Beauty of a Diverse Church or Denomination

Part Two: The Topic
4. The Affirming Position
Testimonial: From a Lesbian Christian
5. The Traditional Position
Testimonial: From a Single, Gay Christian
6. What Does the Bible Say?

Part Three: The Way Forward
7. What Should a Same-Sex Attracted Christian Do?
8. We Can’t Just Sing Kumbaya Forever
9. Welcoming but Not Affirming and Mutually Transforming
Testimonial: Called to Stay
Testimonial: Called to Leave
10. What Can We Do?

Appendix A: A Process
Appendix B: A Statement on Sexuality
Discussion Guide
For Further Reading


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Travis Collins

Travis Collins has ministered as an international missionary and pastor for three decades. He is senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, and is the author of several books, including From the Steeple to the Street and Fresh Expressions of Church. Collins holds a PhD in Christian mission and is a member of the Fresh Expressions US team. He and his wife, Keri, have three grown children and a growing number of grandchildren.