Pastor Andy Stanley says churches should be a safe place for gay youth

Andy Stanley said that youth experiencing same-sex attractions should be able to discuss their feelings in church.(Photo: Facebook/Your Move)

Pastor Andy Stanley told Catalyst West attendees on Friday that youth experiencing same-sex attractions should be able to discuss their feelings in church.

The two-day conference equips the next generation of leader with the tools necessary to build more impactful ministries, and Stanley said that LGBT youth need a safe place in their church homes.

"We just need to decide from now on in our churches when a Middle School kid comes out to his small group leader or a high school young lady comes out to her parents," he said.

"We just need to decide, regardless of what you think about this topic — no more students are going to feel like they have to leave the local church because they're same-sex attracted or because they're gay. That ends with us."

The pastor added that the church should be the "safest place on the planet for students to talk about anything, including same-sex attraction."

Stanley is the founder of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, and acknowledged that congregations have different feelings about homosexuality, and how to respond to Christians who come out as gay. However, he said, personal feelings should not affect the safe environment that the church has created.

The Catalyst West conference was held on April 16-17 at Mariners Church in Irvine in Orange County. Other speakers included City Church pastor Judah Smith, Compton Mayor Aja Brown, and pastor Craig Groeschel.

The Catalyst Conference series continues with One Day San Diego on August 18, and Catalyst Atlanta on October 7-9. "Catalyst has only just begun to go deeper with the Catalyst Community in taking them beyond a conference experience and into a relationship that provides ongoing support for growth and continued learning," the organisation said.