What is Higher Ground? Is it a program for curing homosexuality?
Higher Ground was founded in January 2009 as a New York City-based lay ministry of redemptive Christian discipleship for men and women in whose lives unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction (SSA) have happened. We think of our purpose in terms of encouraging and mentoring participants to become more mature – spiritually and emotionally – rather than of offering purported methods of cure. We put our trust in a Person – Jesus Christ as Savior and Shepherd – rather than in a technique.
But isn’t it foolish to think that anyone can “pray away the gay”?
Everyone has something in his or her life that needs to be prayed away.
It may not be unwanted SSA, but everyone struggles with something broken deep inside that falls short of God's best and causes grief to God’s heart -- and that can be life-controlling and seemingly resistant to change. Something such as as any sexual activity outside the boundaries of gender-diverse marriage between one man and one woman. Biblically-grounded Christians know this to be true about themselves.
In Higher Ground, we do not consider active homosexuality to be The Big Sin. But the temptation or reality of acting on those desires is not exempt from God’s call to all Christians to “be not conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
Is it your aim then to make gay people straight?
A feature of the walk of faith for any committed Christian is the pursuit of redemptive change in his or her life. One of the changes that we who are participants in Higher Ground seek is to receive ever more of God’s grace for gaining greater freedom from feeling controlled in our thoughts and actions by unwanted feelings of SSA.
To those who join in our ministry, we make no promises or predictions what God’s work of restoration will look like in anyone’s life, or how quickly it will arrive. For some, it may take the form of finding stable and self-giving satisfaction in celibacy and singleness. For others, the process can grow in them godly new desires that lead to gender-complementary marriage; sexual enjoyment within that covenant; and the blessing of any children conceived through it – even when some residual effects from SSA may remain. Testimonies of both types of sanctified outcomes have emerged from our fellowship in Higher Ground and among others personally known to us.
Does Higher Ground offer any meetings? What happens at them?
Higher Ground offers separate discipleship groups for men and for women that meet on a regular schedule at a location in the West Village. The proceedings of each meeting last for approximately two hours, and are not so different from any other Christian discipleship group – consisting of informal praise singing; teaching and discussion based on Scripture readings and other texts of devotion and practical instruction; personal sharing and accountability; and prayer. The content is tailored, however, to the special concerns of fellow Christians seeking a redemptive resolution to an inner conflict between their faith convictions and unwanted same-sex desires.
So Higher Ground isn't just for men, but offers something for women too? How about for parents whose children either struggle with unwanted SSA or are self-affirming of an identity situated somewhere along the LGBTQ continuum?
Higher Ground does provide biblically orthodox supportive programming for women on a separate schedule from the weekly men's meetings. Advisory support for parents is available on an ad hoc, individualized basis.
How can I find out more about Higher Ground?
You can start with our Statement of Beliefs to learn about the Biblical basis for what we believe in Higher Ground and why. If you are interested in Higher Ground for yourself or a loved one, we would welcome hearing from you to arrange an informal get-acquainted conversation with a member of our lay ministry team over coffee or a diner meal, as a prelude to providing additional information that includes when and where the group meets. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at 347-709-8279. (The generic recorded greeting you will hear does not mean you have reached a different number.) One of our volunteers will be glad to follow up with you.