GracePointe and the Elusive LGBT-affirming Megachurch

Nov 10, 2017 by

by Jeffrey Walton, Juicy Ecumenism:

A once-large Nashville-area Evangelical congregation that made headlines after its pastor announced that the church would conduct same-sex marriages is selling its campus and relocating to rented space.

After his announcement of LGBT support in 2015, Pastor Stan Mitchell of GracePointe Church in Franklin, Tennessee was profiled in Time magazine. But what was a much sought-after sign of Evangelical movement towards LGBT affirmation may have been wishful thinking on the part of cultural progressives pouring money into programs that aim to shift Evangelical pastors’ views on sexuality.

A Consequential Change

Time’s Elizabeth Dias identified GracePointe as “one of the first evangelical megachurches in the country to openly stand for full equality and inclusion of the LGBTQ community.”

GracePointe, with 700-800 weekly attendees at its height, was not actually a megachurch, typically defined as a congregation with worship attendance greater than 2,000 persons.

Perhaps more so than oldline Protestant denominations, pastor-driven structures of Evangelical churches are well-attuned to their constituency. Evangelical institutions that have waffled about Biblical teaching on human sexual expression – such as World Vision’s short-lived policy change allowing those in same-sex marriages to be employed by the Christian nonprofit – have quickly reversed course as donors promptly redirected their giving elsewhere.

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