Christian youth ministry Young Life is facing criticism from the LGTBQ community after an alleged “leaked document” outlined the organization’s expectations for its leaders to adhere to its Biblical policies regarding human sexuality.
During the summer of 2020, a viral social media movement under the hashtag #DoBetterYoungLife ignited debate over the ministry’s stance on sexual orientation and gender identity. In response, Young Life formed a council in July to review allegations of discrimination lodged by former members who identify as LGBTQ.
In a statement to Fox 46 Charlotte, the organization said that at the recommendation of council, it would be “providing the leaders of [its] 8,500 local ministries with new resources and additional training to ensure they are equipped to create an environment in which every young person, regardless of sexual or gender identity, race, background or other factor, is welcomed with the love and understanding of faithful adults who personally demonstrate the compassion and truth of Jesus in both relationships and activities.”
The statement did not confirm the authenticity of the leaked document, but did say that “like all religious organizations, Young Life expects that those seeking leadership positions support Young Life’s beliefs, tenets and policies on a wide range of theological issues.
“One of those issues is human sexuality,” Young Life ministry leaders said, “and Young Life is confident—with continued study, prayer and reflection—that our theology is faithful to God’s vision for this important aspect of the human experience. We are working to ensure those who currently hold or may be interested in leadership positions in Young Life understand our beliefs and expectations.
“To be clear, these are expectations of leaders, not for participants in Young Life programs,” the statement read.
Franklin Graham came to Young Life’s defense, posting on Facebook:
“Young Life has been reaching young people with God’s love and the Good News of Jesus Christ since 1941, and their roots go back even before that. They believe and share what the Bible teaches. Now they are coming under attack by the LGBTQ agenda. Of course Young Life expects those in leadership positions to support their ‘beliefs, tenets and policies’—that’s the only way they can make a difference.”
He went on to encourage Christians to pray for the ministry to stand strong amid the pressures to compromise its Biblical values.