After 38 years of proclaiming “change is possible” to the gay community and the church, Exodus International announced last night that they are closing their doors. The news was released during the opening address given by Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, at the 38th annual conference in Irvine, CA.
I was sitting in the second row, aware that the news was about to break. Exodus leaders were informed well in advance, so this was not shocking.
There have been such radical shifts in Exodus’ direction over the last 18 months that I did not believe that the Exodus network could survive.
Alan’s heart had been pierced for those in the gay community and especially those that said, “This “therapy didn’t work.” Tuesday, an apology letter was released to the general public via a press release that was shown to the Exodus leadership some time ago, many of us in ministry including myself, found much disagreement with.
The Lisa Ling show will air tonight with a circle of “ex-gay survivors” surrounding Alan and Leslie Chambers, sharing their hurt and anger towards Exodus and saying it should be shut down. As an FYI, the apology letter was shared with the participants on the Lisa Ling show.
I told Alan about three weeks ago that I had the intention to create the Hope For Wholeness Network (HFW), to fill the need that I saw with all the falling out over messaging with organizations that are helping individuals wanting help, but feeling they could not agree with its direction. Today, the new network seems much more than an option for ministries and individuals seeking freedom from homosexuality to live according to God’s design.
Personally, as a participant over 20 years ago, I never had a negative experience with Exodus International or its affiliates, at least through my local ministry. I walked into the local Exodus ministry, not even knowing it was a part of Exodus. Truth Ministry, the organization I lead that HFW is now a part of, has for a number of years now, replaced the Exodus local outreach. I was never promised change in attraction and it was not a goal of mine or a goal even implied. I wanted to leave homosexuality behind and one day get married, as many of my clients do in the ministry I lead today. Growing as a man in Christ was my focus. This remains the guiding strength of the outreach of Truth Ministry and now, for the Hope For Wholeness Network.
I am at the conference, leading the prayer team, sharing my story, and teaching a class on having a successful marriage, based on absolute transparency and Godly service.
If you have not seen my video blog Exodus Closing, I would encourage you to watch as I share much of this and more. I encourage you to watch Alan’s address, if you haven’t already, and the Lisa Ling show tonight at 8:00pm on the OWN channel (Oprah’s Network). Exodus closing is not something I have a position for or against, but I see Alan’s points and those that are very angry at Exodus for its past history that promised an attraction change. I also understand those that feel hurt, abandoned by the closure and outraged over this and language shared at the Gay Christian Network and other venues.
The Hope For Wholeness Network was created as an outreach for those seeking to submit their entire lives to their Creator, for Him alone to define, and to work with ministries, churches, and counselors that are equipped to share and walk along side these hurting men, women, and families.
God’s word tells us in Isaiah, “Behold, I am doing a new thing” that “the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” (Isaiah 43:21 ESV)
For more information, I encourage you to visit our website at www.hopeforwholeness.org. And of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me personally.