by Ricky Chelette, Executive Director
Living Hope Ministries (LHM), and ministries like LHM, are under attack. Because LHM stands on God’s Word and design for human sexuality, our mere existence is a threat to those promoting beliefs and behaviors that fall far outside God’s Word and design. As a result, blogs, articles, podcasts, vodcasts, books, and even a “documentary” has recently been produced which specifically names LHM and me, as its leader, and assigning to us all manner of ill motivations, intentions, control, manipulation, and even harm. These accusations are blatantly false and represent a reinterpretation of reality in hopes of making the work of LHM illegal.
I am deeply saddened by these accusations, but not at all surprised. Believing that God’s Word is instructional for how we are to live our lives has never been the most popular worldview, but it is the worldview that brings redemption, peace, transformation, and reconciliation between God and man, and man to his fellow humans.
Rather than address each accusation or perceived biblical errors we have committed (you can read our doctrinal position on our website), I thought it best to tell you what Living Hope Ministries actually does for every person who seeks assistance from us.
- Living Hope believes God loves everyone, right where they are, whoever they are. No one is beyond the love of God. We believe God demonstrated His love for humanity by sending His Son, Jesus Christ into the world to redeem us from our sin (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8). We are not against anyone, but we are for everyone knowing Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord (1 Cor. 2:2).
- Living Hope only helps those who seek LHM for help (Jer. 29:23). People hear about LHM through their church, the internet, or friends and contact us desiring to find congruence between their feelings and their faith. With the instruction of God’s Word, we help people bring reconciliation and resolution to their dilemma and help restore relationships with God, family, and others. Every person participates at their choosing and is always free to leave. What kind of ministry would we be if we refused to help those who are seeking help? (Matt. 25:34-36)
- Living Hope believes the Gospel is transformational (Col. 1:13)! We believe that Jesus was the Son of God, that He entered our world to show us the Father; lived a perfect life; voluntarily took upon Himself the sins of humanity; suffered and died as the penalty for our sins; was buried but rose from the dead, is alive and presently seated at the right hand of God making intercession for those who believe in Him. We believe this gospel message radically transforms lives when fully embraced and empowered by God’s Spirit. (1 Cor. 15)
- Living Hope helps individuals understand who they are in Christ and live out that truth in their daily lives through discipleship based on God’s Word. Our identity in Christ as His beloved, image-bearing, son or daughter, is the foundational truth upon which every Christian’s identity is built. We do this by teaching the Bible, book-by-book, verse-by-verse, and allow the Word of God to instruct us. (Matt. 18:19-20)
- Living Hope provides free, peer-led, support groups where individuals can freely share their deepest struggles in a safe, confidential, Christ-centered, environment with others who understand their experiences and will direct them towards Christ. (James 5:16) Finding others who are on a journey similar to your own is a powerful experience. LHM provides a confidential, safe, and supportive environment for hope to grow and transformation to happen.
- Living Hope helps individuals embrace God’s design for His creation as male and female, man and woman, as He created them (Gen. 1:26-28) while celebrating the diversity of expressions of masculinity and femininity beyond societal misconceptions. As created beings who bear the ultimate Creator’s image, we believe the expressions of our lives are vast and should be celebrated, not limited to stereotypic, often culturally defined, expressions, yet uniquely male and female.
- Living Hope provides almost all ministry services for free: support groups, mentoring, online support forums, and speaking engagements. We are supported by the free-will donations of individuals and churches who believe in our mission and ministry.
I am amazed that people find what we do to be so controversial. It is what Christians have done for thousands of years. As our mission states, “Living Hope Ministries seeks to proclaim God’s truth as we journey with those seeking sexual and relational wholeness through a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.”
As you hear, read, or watch things about LHM in the days to come, remember the thousands of individuals who have been helped by LHM over the past thirty-two years. If you want to know what we teach, listen to the hundreds of hours of biblical teachings and podcasts we have online. Most importantly, however, read and listen to the online testimonies of those who have found help and hope through LHM and are now living lives of selfless devotion to Christ and His Church.
Like the rich young ruler who chose to walk away from Christ’s invitation, LHM believes every person is free to make his or her own decision as to how they live, but should those who follow Christ have no option? There must be a place for those who desire to identify their lives with the unchanging God who created them, over their ever-changing feelings that are contrary to God’s Word. Living Hope Ministries is that safe place where love abounds, shame is replaced by the grace of our Savior, and there is no condemnation.
If you’d like to share your story of how LHM has impacted your life, we would love to hear from you. Remember, we are not fighting against flesh and blood, “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). Pray for LHM, her staff, and the thousands of people impacted by the gospel each week through the ministry of Living Hope!