GCN Changes Lives
Every day we hear from people whose lives have been touched by the work we do at GCN. Here are just a few of those stories and some of the ways we're making a difference.
Changing Lives Through Mass Media
GCN works with mainstream media outlets to help share the truth about Jesus' light and love for all. We've been featured by Anderson Cooper 360, The Advocate, Dr. Phil, CNN Headline News, the LOGO network, OUT magazine, the Associated Press, and a front page article in The New York Times, among others. We've reached millions of people through our media outreach, and it has an impact, as this 14-year-old recently wrote to us:
It was June of 2006. I was twelve years old and closeted to all I knew.... I was growing tired of the secrecy... but was paralyzed by fear of what repercussions would ensue my confession. One night, I was flipping through the channels when I stopped on Dr. Phil.... On the episode was [GCN Executive Director Justin Lee] and listening to what he and other guests on the show were saying ultimately led me to come out to my mother, a decision that freed me from a colossal yoke and brought me back to happiness. Thanks Justin, and thank you GCN!
Changing Lives Through Community
GCN's online community has already impacted literally thousands of lives, including bringing people to Christ, helping to prevent suicides, and even introducing people who have since married! Even Brandon, the staff member who now oversees our online community, had his own life changed by it, as he tells here:
I found GCN in the same way that a lot of other people have, through a simple Google search of "Gay and Christian" after a very long and difficult battle in trying to come to terms with the reality of my homosexuality. After spending many years in denial, self-hatred and in hoping that I could find an ex-gay ministry to "cure" me (or even that I would just wake up one day and be straight) it was refreshing to find a group of people who understood what I was going through, loved and supported me as I tried to find exactly what it was God wanted me to do with my life.
After being at GCN for a while I ended up leaving it behind for a long while and continued to struggle with my sexuality. One day I reached a point where I realized that I could no longer do this alone and I needed someone to help me in this difficult journey. So I came back to GCN and my life hasn't been the same since. I met people whom I consider some of my best friends to this day. GCN helped me to see that I don't have to have everything perfect in order for God to love and accept me and that my spiritual journey isn't a bunch of black and white absolutes but rather about trusting the God who is my creator, who loved me from the moment I was conceived and will love and embrace me at the hour of my death.
GCN also helped me to not only accept who I am, but to love who I am. I don't believe that I am gay by accident. I believe, as Scripture says, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and my sexuality is a part of what makes me God's special and unique child. I am so thankful to GCN for being one of the main places that was used by God in my life to help me realize that my loving who I am as a gay man is no barrier on my loving God and that there is nothing that will ever separate me from the love that God has so richly lavished on me in His Son, Jesus Christ.
In the Summer of 2007 I was blessed to join the staff here at GCN as the ministry's Community Manager. It is such a joy to be able to give back to a ministry that gave me so much and has been so instrumental in my relationship with God. I am so blessed to work with a community of people that I love so much and who were there for me when I needed them. Although I spend the majority of my time moderating on the message board one of my greatest joys is being able to talk to people who are in the same stage of struggle with their sexuality that I once was. I don't know how I could have ever made it if it weren't for those people who took time to minister to me when I was hurting, sacred and felt like I had no reason to live. Being able to be that person for others here who are struggling is more of joy than I am able to tell. I could never give back to GCN all that is gave to me but it is a blessing to have this opportunity to serve God in such an awesome way.
Changing Lives over the Airwaves
GCN's popular talk show, GCN Radio, brings in comments from all over the world from listeners who tell us their lives have been impacted by the interviews, music, and discussion. Here are just a few:
I just wanted to say thanks for GCN Radio. I discovered it last Sunday, and believe it or not I've listened to all 90 episodes in the last week (mostly between the hours of 9pm and 3am!), and filled a notepad with notes. The show has been an incredible encouragement and has given me lots to think about as I work on my coming out process.
I'm actually listening in from Malaysia and I can't tell you enough how much I'm enjoying it so far. It's really nice to hear something affirming of one's sexuality when in a place that is less so.
I've been teaching English in Nagasaki, Japan for a little under a year now. I love it here. I started listening to GCN Radio about 7 months ago and let me just say that it's been a major support for me while living abroad. There are VERY few openly gay Japanese people in Japan.... That's where GCN has come in to fill the void. Thanks for your continued support!!
I listen your radio from France with Podcast for I discovered it 3 days ago. I feel myself better seeing that you can be both Gay and Christian because I hadn't met a lot of guys like you. So it helps me going on my Way with God.... Your radio is ABSOLUTELY (this word makes me think about you guys ;-)) WONDERFUL. Hope to hear you soon.
Changing Lives by Phone
For some people, GCN's toll-free hotline has been the thing they most needed at a difficult point in their lives. Parents, pastors, teens, and others call us with questions, to find resources, or just to have someone to talk to. Our Office Manager, Nate, found that out in his first couple of weeks on the job:
I came to GCN at one of the darkest points in my life. After coming out to my parents for the second time, I soon spiraled down into a deep and dark depression. GCN was there for me through it all, and when God pulled me out of it, I started giving back to the community I fell in love with. Several months later, I accepted the job as Office Manager at the GCN Office in Raleigh. Now I have the joy of working every day for the organization that helped me so very much.
Until then, I only knew that the ministry of GCN reached online and to local get togethers and our annual conference. I soon realized that GCN reaches many people in other ways as well. One caller sounded fairly uncomfortable and I asked him if there was anything that I could do for him. I soon found out that I was the first person he had ever discussed being gay with, let alone being a gay Christian. I spent the next two hours listening to his story and encouraging him to get plugged into the GCN community where I KNEW he would find more support and encouragement. This was the first of many phone calls. I learned that there are many hurting people out there that find in GCN the only source of encouragement and hope in their lives.
Changing Lives on YouTube
In addition to our soon-to-be-released Gay Christian Youth DVD, GCN is producing video clips for the web, specifically to help young people in need of honest, straightforward answers. Our "Gay Christian Answers" series has been a huge success, prompting this response from a 13-year-old:
Wow, i feel so much better now! I cant thank you enough!...
im 13 and ever since i was 11 (I Think) ive had feelings for the same sex. I want to come out really bad but im afraid about what my parents might say... I have thought maybe i was going through a phase, but i have really strong feelings toward this...Im just confused, but your guidance has helped so Much! Almost everyday i was afraid that even thinking about "The same sex" was going against God, but when i saw your video about being Christian and gay, it made alot more sense and i feel So much better now!! I cant thank you enough for what you do!!
Changing Lives in Person
GCN's conferences, local groups, and retreats bring people together for the kind of fellowship and camaraderie you just can't get online. Here are just a couple of the many positive things people had to say about our last conference:
Today I told a friend that this conference will probably be the highlight of 2008. I have a few trips planned but none will come close to the experience of meeting and singing and doing service and praying with all of you.
I felt loved and welcomed and part of something meaningful. You are all the best.
I was blessed at the conference in such a profound way, that I wanted to share with you prayerful thoughts about what I had received from the conference.
I kept crying from Friday to Sunday of the conference about God's intervention in my life. Needless to say, once I got back home from the conference. I have not stopped praising Him and praying to Him....
God moved at the conference, because it is God who made salvation and not men.... Your prayers, love, thoughts, and outreach has made a difference in me, that I had not expected it to.
And That's Just the Beginning!
We've got more stories on the way, and you can help us reach even more people with your pledge or other gift!