Thinking Out Loud

January 13, 2011

Turning Controversy Into Church Ministry: Practical Steps

If you’re on the blog-tour, and this is your first-time visit here, welcome!  For everyone else, we’re jumping into the middle of a progressive review of a book I think can be really helpful to many churches…  If you want to begin with an excellent overview of the book first, here’s the first stop on the blog tour from Pam Elmore; and then, Joe Day provides a look at the book’s opening section; and Dani Nichols does a great job of reflecting the author’s heart toward this issue.

Chapter 10:  Blueprint

It’s easy to speculate as to what ministry to the LGBT community looks like from a distance. It’s a whole different thing to be walking alongside an individual who possesses a strong same-sex-attracted identity and yet also a strong desire to be moving toward the cross of Christ at the same time.

Two words you don’t see in W. P. Campbell’s book, Turning Controversy into Church Ministry: A Christlike Response to Homosexuality are the word “hard-line” and the word “tolerance.”   Yet in many respects, the first two-thirds of the book consist of walking the knife edge between what the author prefers to call, “Grace with Compromised Truth” versus “Truth with Compromised Grace.” Unfortunately, most groups lean more toward one than the other, ending with an unbalanced ministry model.

As the author establishes a basis of understanding, yet always mindful of the book’s subtitle encouraging Christ-like response, we find ourselves in the first nine chapters saying, ‘Yes, but what is this going to actually look like?‘    For that reason, chapter ten of the book is pivotal as it introduces six other chapters which spell out clearly what that ‘Christlike response’ is going to involve.

Chapter 10 does not introduce a program.  Instead it delineates six ministry “spheres” which need to be operational for effective ministry.  As individuals and churches are committed to motivation, vision, healing, growth, support and celebration; this will manifest itself in prayer, developing leadership, strengthening family values, connecting mentors and counselors, instituting small group ministry, and positioning the church for greater outreach.

There are three key features of this chapter I want to emphasize.   First, the model builds on the familiar story of Nehemiah’s reconstruction of the city walls.   It is a almost a bonus Bible study chapter within the book.

Second, chapter 10 could be ripped out from the book and presented to anyone wishing to engage in a new ministry venture without them necessarily understanding its original context.  It’s a blueprint for ministry to the LGBT community and LGBT issues, but it’s also a blueprint for ministry to any target group, any unreached peoples group, or addressing any felt need in the local church.

Third, chapter 10 clearly indicates that effective ministry is not going to begin overnight.  The six-pronged strategy is going to involve the time and effort of many participants. “Don’t neglect any of the spheres;” the author warns.

On this blog tour, I’m trusting you’ll read the response of other reviewers to the practical steps outlined in Section III, or chapters 11-16.  Turning Controversy Into Ministry is published by Zondervan who provided Thinking Out Loud with a review copy.

Find out more about W. P. Campbell at Church Reflections

Follow the remainder of this blog tour here.

Read an excerpt from section one of the book here.


  1. […] book on this subject, Turning Controversy into Church Ministry by W. P. Campbell.  You can find my review of a small section of the book, and links to the rest of the blog tour here. Comments (24) LikeBe the first to like this post.24 Comments […]

    Pingback by Gay and Christian: The Jennifer Knapp Interview « Thinking Out Loud — January 15, 2011 @ 10:43 am

  2. […] to certain issues, but I am impressed with the idea I took away from reading the W. P. Campbell book I reviewed here on Thursday; the idea that the “extremes” currently visible can be best expressed as “Grace […]

    Pingback by John Shore Launches The ThruWay Christians « Thinking Out Loud — January 16, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

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