After coming to Christ in 1995, founder Bill Henson felt called to share the love of Jesus via short-term mission trips. He went on 21 mission trips all over the world.
One of the most surprising impressions that Bill sensed was the difference between international missions and domestic evangelism. Missionaries in far-away places considered unengaged people as people to be served and reached. Whereas domestically, unengaged people could be mocked and considered a threat to the church.
Missionaries in complex settings tended to have a posture of "laying down their lives" to contextualize the presence of Christ among people where they are. Domestic evangelism, on the other hand, seemed to demand that we protect ourselves from - and be prepared to debate - people who have different viewpoints.
One posture was about dying to self and serving people's unmet needs. The other was about telling people what to do (or not do) and dismissing their excuses for not immediately following Jesus. One posture saw the validity of why people have been hurt by religion. The other blamed people for their pain.
In 2003, the culture war over sexuality was in high gear. After decades of mistreatment, increasing civil rights empowered LGBT+ people to seek additional rights. The wider evangelical community was often positioned in political battles against LGBT+ people.
Language, cliches and narratives are not so respectful or kind in a culture war. Bill was convicted that the way Christians postured themselves against LGBT+ people and the way LGBT+ people deeply distrusted Christians meant that few would experience Christ the way missionaries reflect Jesus in their work.
Out of this conviction was born the idea of "retain position" but "shift posture." In broader terms: faithfully honor God; and radically love people. More practically, let's abandon culture war for living out the Kingdom of God.
In a world increasingly concerned about injustice, let's protect people from harm and create a place for them to find refuge, shelter and belonging in the family of God. In short, let's take best practice missiology that is lived out all over the globe and adopt that kind of posture toward loving LGBT+ family and friends.
In November 2003, Bill took all this passion and began journaling around 10:30 pm at night. When he stopped writing, it was 4:30 am. Before him was a 50-page vision statement that became Posture Shift Ministries, Inc.
It took two years to focus this statement into a tangible vision with missional goals. Our vision: "Loving LGBT+ People in the Church." Our four missional goals: enhance church inclusion, increase family acceptance, protect against victimization and nourish faith identity.
In January 2006, Bill left a 17-year business career to devote full time to Posture Shift. The early years were tough - financially, as well as learning difficult lessons about just how much belief gaps can tear at relational trust and divide family and friends.
Today, LGBT+ inclusion and care is a leading concern in the wider Christian community. Every church, school, and camp is asking "how do we retain our beliefs while practically loving people and being inclusive." Parents and family members are asking the same question.
Without realizing it at the time, Posture Shift was founded as a pioneer missionary organization. Readiness was low, but God knew our training and consultation would soon be needed to equip and mobilize church leaders with more effective guidance on LGBT+ inclusion and care.
Posture Shift Ministries, Inc. is writing a new church history where communities of faith and homes are the safest places for LGBT+ family and friends. Our Posture Shift training courses foster safer and more inclusive churches. Our print resource Guiding Families nourishes safer and more accepting homes.
We're living out the gospel to extend Christ's great love to LGBT+ people. We invite you to become a Donor Partner. Your gift will help us continue our work.