Our Unique History
Historic Outreach to Gay and Transgender People
Our Church was founded in 1990 by a Bible study group of 18 devout gay Christians who — at the time — could find no other Indianapolis church that would fully welcome them. They organized as “Jesus MCC”, a member congregation in a denomination called Metropolitan Community Churches — an international fellowship of Christian churches with a special outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.
Six of the founding members of Jesus MCC.
In the early days of Jesus MCC, our outreach was focused almost exclusively on the LGBT Community.
A few years ago, however, it began to occur to us — as our congregation continued to grow — that there are many straight people who would deeply appreciate what we offer– i.e., a vibrant congregation that loves Jesus, but also embraces diversity and independent thought.
We are now very intentional about welcoming all people – straight or gay.
But we are also determined to stay true to our roots. We consider it an honor that there are more LGBT people in our congregation than in any other church in Middle America. And all people in our congregation — both straight and gay — feel deep sadness that so many churches have long shunned LGBT people. We are determined to continue aggressively expanding our outreach to LGBT people.
In early 2011, the congregation voted to change our name to LifeJourney Church. You can read more info about that decision.
The Biblical Foundation
We believe our approach is entirely consistent with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. From it’s beginning, Christianity has been about welcoming all people — especially those traditionally considered beyond God’s grace.
Jesus set the example. One of the themes of his ministry was a recurring conflict with the Pharisees, a powerful group of legalistic religious leaders. The Pharisees were waiting for the Messiah to come, and they believed that would happen only when their entire nation became righteous. So, in their minds, anyone who failed to follow their particular set of rules was bringing down a curse on their nation and worthy of contempt.
The list of people despised by the Pharisees was long. The Samaritans were considered religious heretics and ethnically impure. Sick people were believed to be sinners whom God was punishing. Women were deemed unworthy of discipleship. Tax collectors and Roman soldiers were regarded as the enemy. The poor, who had neither the time nor resources to maintain rigorous rites of religious purity, were thought to be beyond God’s grace.
Jesus emphatically rejected each one of these prejudices. You can read the stories yourself. E.g., John 4:1-42; Luke 10:29-37; John 9:1-34; Luke 8:1-3; Matthew 11:16-19; Matthew 5:38-48; and Matthew 9:18-26.
A classic example is provided in Matthew 8. There, a Roman solider asked Jesus to heal his “pais.” This is a Greek term often used in ancient times to refer to a servant who was his master’s same-sex partner. [K.J. Dover, Greek Homosexuality (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1978), p. 16] When the soldier said, “Lord, my ‘pais’ is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress,” Jesus was immediately compassionate and spoke no words of exclusion or condemnation. He simply said, “I will come and heal him.”
In the dialogue that followed, Jesus praised this Roman solider for having more faith than anyone he had ever met and assured him that he would sit down in the Kingdom of Heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. By this miracle of healing, Jesus preserved this loving same-sex relationship. (For more information about the Greek term referred to above and how it should be translated, we recommend The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships, by Rev. Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley.)
The Gospels are clear. Jesus refused to be bound by cultural prejudice. Repeatedly, he took up the cause of the oppressed and defended them against narrow-minded religious leaders.
At LifeJourney Church, we are determined to follow Jesus’ example by fully welcoming LGBT people and providing intentional support and programming for this long-neglected population group.
We welcome all people — regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity — who share a passion for the radically inclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32
Come as you are, whoever you are, to experience a Church like no other!