God Turns A Conservative Texan Into A Father For Many

Do you know what the word “evangelical” means? Contrary to what many believe, it has nothing to do with judgment or dogma. The term stems from the Greek word eugangelion, meaning "gospel," or the good news of Jesus and the redemption he brings to the world.

Dave Ferrell is a tall white haired Texan. He is a life-long Pentecostal, and he has a gay son.

Maybe you think you already know his story, but it has an unexpected twist. This is what he shares in his seasoned, Texas drawl during conferences held by The Evangelical Network, an LGBT-affirming association that strives to restore the term "evangelical" to its rightful definition. 

You might want to grab a tissue:

I developed gaydar early. I knew my son was gay. Pentecostals can come up with a lot of things to pray about and confess and rebuke, and that’s what I was doing, but then I got this call. It was from my daughter. She said, "Daddy, can you come home?” Well the first thing I think of is that somebody has died. Then she said, "Daddy you’ve got to come home. Todd is gay." I felt better after I heard that. I thought something serious had happened. But I went home.

My wife took Todd's pictures off the wall. We struggled for years, confessing, begging God, believing God would change our son, but Todd wasn’t the one who was changed. His mom and daddy are the ones who were changed, and God called me into a ministry. I felt like he wanted me to name it “The Unconditional Love Ministry.” God said to me, "David, you will be a daddy with skin who will stand and hold men and women and love them. They will place their head on your shoulder, and they will weep. But you will stand there, and you will hold them until their mom and daddy can step up and assume their rightful place."

Starting in 1996, God began using Ferrell to minister to LGBT people in this way.

Ferrell explains, "God has blessed us in so many ways. The fruits of the spirit, folks get a hold of that. The fruits of the spirit is something that should be prevalent in every one of our lives as Christians. Love and joy and peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law. When your family comes against you, don’t you dare respond to them in a rebuking way. When you do that you bind the hand of God. If you will give to them what you are wanting from them, then God can use that and can turn the situation around. Reach out to them in love." 

He offers this advice to LGBT people struggling to relate with their families:

When they say to you, "You’re going to hell," respond back saying, "Mom you really believe that?' She may say, "Oh yes I do." Then your reply should be, "Mom, then pray for me." Say this to anyone in your family, then shut up because here’s what you’ve done. You’ve just placed that in the hands of an almighty God. Don’t fight. Don’t return ugliness for ugliness. Love them with the love that you want back from them whether you feel it or not. You love em but shut up.

The next person who speaks is in trouble, and that’s usually Momma. She can’t hold it in very long after you’ve said to pray for me. She’s going to say, "Honey I will," and that’s what you want because when a mom and a dad are earnest before an almighty God, things are gonna change. God will then do for you what you can not do for yourself and what they can not do for themselves.

Ferrell continues to serve as a type of surrogate father in conversations with hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in churches and around the world online. 

Each year, he tells his story at The Evangelical Network's annual conference. He then asks other straight allies, often other parents, to come to the front of the assembly and invites any LGBT person to come up as well.

During this invitation, Ferrell suggests that if anyone has something that they would like to say to their parents but cannot, they should speak that message to the allies.

Each year, LGBT Christians share their stories and weep on the shoulders of these allies. They describe experiences of hurt, shame, and rejection, and most of all, their need for acceptance. 

These exchanges are always powerful spiritual experiences. God moves. 

Many Baptist, Pentecostal, Non-denominational, and even Presbyterian churches consider themselves to be evangelical. Too often, however, Christ’s good news of love is not the loudest message.

The Evangelical Network reclaims this term as they provide safe place for LGBT people to discover and rediscover Christianity. The network gives people from all backgrounds an opportunity to enter dialogue on the issue of homosexuality and Christianity.

Attendees at the organization's annual conference name the emotional support they experience as one of the best parts of the events.

This year, The Evangelical Network will celebrate its 25th anniversary at an annual conference in Louisville, KY,
on July 4-7.

Dave Ferrell, a conservative Texan who has become a father to many, will once again speak during the general assembly. In addition, workshops at the conference will cover subjects like reconciling sexual orientation or gender identity with the Bible, learning how to forgive, using social media for ministry, and creating dialogue with mainline Christians. 

To register for the conference or find out more, visit The Evangelical Network's website, or call 415-286-7751.

Photo by Dave Largo via The Evangelical Network

Comments (12)

What a great article... and what an amazing dad! I hope they have a fantastic conference this year... congratulations to TEN on their 25th anniversary!

I wanted you to know - your link to TEN's website isn't working. It's missing the "t" in the word "network" in the URL. I figured you might want to fix that :)

Note. Whether whether homosexual orientation is OK with God is not mentioned. Or whether homosexual orientation is condemned or not by Bible.
People can be "loved to death" if it involves continually praying for them to not be themselves and continually putting them in position of "hurting you" because you are just "loving them BACK into the fold". and if you don't come back in-----well, praying for you will come instead of "natural" relating. THAT SAID. This is better than some messages. But, I have been loved to death. And it takes longer than bullying and hating but it is still deadly.

Chuck,please give it a rest, yes, you are duly noted in God's notebook with a checkmark next to "stood up for You"

Acceptance is the answer. Nothing in God's world is inherently evil. God doesn't make any person so they will go to hell. It's our free will and our fear that get us into trouble.

Chuck, I went to their web page and they are fine with homosexual orientation and insist that what is important is monogamy within a long term loving relationship.

Chuck, please dont stand in the way with your narrowness.There needs to be a new path, a wider path. Dont get in the way bro with your wagging finger.

I can't understand why LGBT individuals would want anything to do with the Christian mythology. It clearly tells them they are evil people. I can see LGBT people realizing it's all a myth and going to atheism, which supports the actual truth.

Hi Jason,
"Christian mythology", indeed. It is indeed a myth that all Christian teachings tell LGBT people that they are evil. If you read other pages on this web site, or if you research the Christian responses to those "they are evil people" statements...then you will clearly see that your statement about "Christian mythology" is indeed about the myth.

We remember the story that Todd shared many years ago at TEN, when he and Jose' arrived at his parents home. Not knowing what to expect when they arrived for Christmas? All fear was gone when they entered the driveway and saw a banner over the garage welcoming them both. It is sad that so many GLBT kids don't have a parent like Dave Ferrell.

I guess I'm safe to post on here....you are hearing directly about my and my families journey. As my father and I have traveled and ministered at churches telling our story, I've seen first-hand the pain of family rejection. Don't forget, I've been there there too. It was my pictures taken off the walls as though I didn't exist. BUT...the story doesn't end there. I've learned a valuable lesson about God over the years. He's a God of love, compassion, restoration and reconciliation. He wants to restore relationships with family members more than yourself. I witnessed my father leaving times at the altar where people come and weep and weep for the pain they have over family rejection and see the tear stained shirt he leaves with after that service....a visible sign of the pain so many carry. I've witnessed people emailing and coming up to us in follow up visits to tell us how God has restored their relationship with their families. I know God Cares. But I also see families that are gone - separated by death and the physical restoration can no longer take place. But I know we have a God that is great enough to heal the wounds of rejection and bring a peace that truly passes all understanding. Never give up...and remember someone has to be Christlike in all this. Why not let it be us...those that have been rejected. Always remember, God will never cast you out. You are loved!

Nice and refreshing. I write about gay Christianity in hopes to narrow the gap between the two mainstream cultures https://jasonjdotbiz.wordpress.com/

I know many parents who have a gay-identified child who don't affirm their homosexuality but still love their child. They are my heroes.

Post new comment