Today was different from the typical Sunday our family had. Greg and I always loved going to church to worship, hearing a message from the bible, and meeting up with friends at church. Most Sundays, when the service was over, we would meet with close friends to have lunch. It was fun chatting about the message we had just heard and catching up on each other’s lives. It felt so good to have people in your life whom you could share and do life with! We shared many personal struggles and heartaches, constantly feeling supported and well-loved.
Though that was twenty-one years ago, I still remember it like yesterday. I felt incredibly lonely; I was amazed at how I could walk into my home church, know many people, and feel all alone. Why? Because I had learned something I didn’t know about the week before. Greg and I discovered our son Greg Jr. was gay, and nobody knew. Many anxious thoughts went through my head as we sat in the same pew we usually would. Do people suspect our son is gay? How would they respond to Greg Jr.? Would they still want to be friends with us? Would we be able to attend the same church still? I felt my community of fellow believers in Jesus was at risk, and it felt so scary. Many of you might feel the same way. If you are new or even five years or more in your journey of knowing you have an LGBTQ child, you still may not have told any of your family or friends yet and feel extremely alone. Greg and I cannot emphasize the importance of finding a safe space to process the myriad of thoughts and feelings you are experiencing. Did you know that loneliness raises levels of stress hormones and blood pressure? Loneliness can harm you physically and mentally.
So why did we create the UNCONDITIONAL Conference? For you! For people like you and me trying to find a safe Christian community, wanting to learn and grow in our faith. You will experience this at our UNCONDITIONAL CONFERENCE and much more. Invest in this next chapter of your life where you can heal and find hope.
WHY UNCONDITIONAL? Because Jesus is the ultimate example of unconditional love, as he laid down his life for us so we could be reconciled to God. In Ephesians 5:1-2 we are called to be imitators of Christ Jesus. We know from experience that when parents begin to imitate Jesus and ooze unconditional love, incredible things happen with their relationships with their children, with everyone for that matter.
WHY A CONFERENCE? Heaven knows there are already plenty of conferences, symposiums, summits, and seminars. Do we really need another one? The UNCONDITIONAL CONFERENCE is different. We felt convicted to help accelerate your healing by creating this safe premier event to equip, restore, refresh, challenge, inspire, and provide hope for your journey forward. Our team of over 70 incredible volunteers has been blessing thousands of Christian families with LGBTQ+ children for eight years. We have been listening to you; we know you, your pain, struggles, fears, anger, embarrassment, and loneliness.
When our children come out of the closet, and we discover our child is LGBTQ+, most Christian parents go into the closet, where many experience isolation and depression. Being in the closet prolongs your pain.
The overall ark of the UNCONDITIONAL CONFERENCE is designed to help parents move from a place of fear to survival, where they ultimately experience a thriving life.
With the UNCONDITIONAL CONFERENCE, you'll find we intentionally address your heart, soul, and mind—the whole you. We have you covered. We have assembled an incredible lineup of communicators who are experts in their respective fields, including:
A Professor of Christian ethics
A Licensed phycologist specializing in individual, family, and couples therapy, sexuality, and gender consultations.
A Licensed professional counselor and certified sex therapist specializing in building intimate marriages.
A Psychotherapist licensed professional counselor specializing in Marriage & Family Therapy, and Christian Sex Therapy
Seven published authors
Several ministry leaders and educators
For Parents: Whether you're wrestling with your faith, looking to have a better relationship with your LGBTQ+ child, struggling with a spouse with opposing views, learning the science behind gender dysphoria, caring for you and your child's mental health, or strengthening marital intimacy in the midst of crisis, the UNCONDITIONAL CONFERENCE is for you. You’ll experience community, find opportunities to join a safe virtual parent care group, and worship together with hundreds of other Christian parents just like you; we’ve got you covered.
For Ministry Leaders: seeking to discover how to create safe environments without pushing LGBTQ+ youths away. For pastors desiring to support parents with LGBTQ+ children and those interested in creating an Embracing the Journey Parent Care Group at your Church to minister to the families God has entrusted to your care, we've got you covered.
For Healthcare Professionals: seeking additional knowledge of the hurdles parents encounter and the learnings that enable them to experience reconciliation and restoration with their LGBTQ+ child while leaning into their faith, we’ve got you covered.
HEALING and RESTORATION You already know that the voices on the extremes (left or right) are often noisy and hate-filled. When we talk with Christian parents who discovered they have an LGBTQ+ child, they are not looking to hate anyone. They simply want to catch their breath, get their feet firmly planted on the ground, and find a way forward in this new Journey God has trusted them with. The UNCONDITIONAL CONFERENCE aims to bring about healing and restoration in your family and Church. No matter your theological stance, we invite you to listen, reflect, and learn as we approach this topic together from the quieter middle space. We encourage you to lean into your faith as a follower of Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit for discernment.
JOIN OVER 400 PARENTS, PASTORS, MINISTRY LEADERS, AND COUNSELORS who have already registered FOR THIS PREMIER EVENT. General admission tickets are $349 until August 31st; Late registration begins September 1st at $449 per ticket.
Strengthening Marital Intimacy in the Midst of Crisis
Embracing the Journey is partnering with our good friend and ETJ founding Board Member and founder of Building Intimate Marriages, Dr. Michael Sytsma, in a quick survey of our subscribers. This anonymous survey explores a bit of the impact of your experience in having a child come out as LGBTQ+, especially as it relates to your marriage. We have invited Dr. Sytsma to lead a Breakout Session at our Embracing the Journey Unconditional Conference on September 28th and 29th, 2023. He will share the survey results during his Breakout Session, Strengthening Marital Intimacy in the Midst of Crisis, and we will publish a report with the survey findings in an upcoming Newsletter.
Please invest 5–10 minutes to complete the survey and encourage your spouse to take one too.