What does it look like for a church not only to embrace gay people in their congregation but also to include them on their staff? Jeff and John share from their experience of creating a church culture where John was able to come out to their congregation as a celibate, gay pastor. Together, they reflect on the principles and practical steps that led up to John’s coming out and the spiritual impact this has had on them and their church.
Jeff Maness is the founding and Lead Pastor of Element Church in Cheyenne, WY. He received his degree in in Pastoral Ministry from Oklahoma Wesleyan University in 1997 and has been in full-time ministry since December of that year, serving as Lead Pastor of Element for the past 12 years. Jeff is committed to standing with LGBT+ people as the church navigates conversations of faith, sexuality, and gender. Jeff and his wife Sabrina have four children.
John Wilson earned his Master of Practical Theology from Indiana Wesleyan University and serves as the Children’s Pastor at Element Church in Cheyenne, WY. In February 2019 he came out as a celibate, gay Christian to his congregation and was graciously and generously received. He hopes his testimony encourages churches to become safe places for LGBT+ people.