Pastor Spotlight - Archive  
  Pastor: Apostle Alex Byrd
Living Faith Covenant Church - Dallas, TX
Interview by:
Tuan N'Gai

Tuan N'Gai (TN): Good afternoon Apostle Byrd. As always, I will be starting the interview by starting a thought with "God Opens Doors…" and I'd like you to complete the thought in your own words. God opens doors…

Alex Byrd (AB): …in spite of ourselves. We're often preoccupied with our abilities or inabilities when God's plan and power are within us. We should never feel inadequate to fulfil His plan for our lives. God opens doors for all of us, in spite of ourselves.

TN: Give us a little history about Living Faith Covenant Church.

AB: Our doors opened on August 6, 1999. We started out as a Bible Study. Since then, we've been active in the community. We've been adamant about not fading away like the affirming churches that started before us. It's been a long journey, but people who were once unstable or unsure about joining us are now coming back.

TN: What would you say is the church's vision?

AB: We are striving to create an environment that models and values diversity and to facilitate a personal and intimate relationship with God for each individual member. We promote having an intimate relationship with God, versus becoming God for the people.

TN: So have mainstream churches "become God" for the people?

AB: The church has determined that people don't have the capability to discern the voice of God for themselves, and have become God for them. Jeremiah 31.31-34 talks about God's new covenant that he would put in the minds and hearts of His people. He will be our God; we will be His people. The scriptures go on to say, "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour… saying, 'Know the Lord:' for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them…"

TN: So how do we get rid of or change this type of idolatry that's been created by the church?

AB: That goal is too lofty for us, but we can train new ministers with a new paradigm of ministry. The new paradigm requires ministers to become the facilitators, showing people the way to God…not becoming the way to God.

TN: In your opinion, what is the root of "gay-bashing" preaching?

AB: Good question. For the majority of preachers who bash, I'd say the root is sincere compassionate ignorance. They truly want to see people saved and in their understanding, they believe homosexuality is wrong. They have to send that message so people will "come out" of it. It's a hard task for them to do. The more resistance from the homosexual(s), the more they preach it. They are ignorant, but sincere. They are ignorant in understanding the homosexual as a person. They're ignorant in their understanding of the general context, cultural climate, history, language and translation of scripture. They are ignorant in how to appropriately apply historical text to the current needs of our society, with its likenesses and differences. But ignorance isn't a bad thing now…it simply means, "I don't know". But stupidity IS bad. It says "I don't know, and I don't care to find out."

TN: With that said, is the ex-gay movement doing more harm or more good?

AB: First let me say that I thank God for the ex-gay movement. Being a former ex-gay myself, my issue with our community is one of integrity. If we believe something is wrong, we should live by what we believe. People are in conflict with themselves, so they live dual lives. The ex-gay movement gives an opportunity for the individual to have support and fellowship as they endeavor to live with integrity to their own beliefs. It's the inner conflict that's killing people my SGL/GLBT brothers and sisters. And the ex-gay movement helps remove the conflict in the life of the seeker, if they have determined that homosexual behavior is a sin. Honestly speaking, had there not been an ex-gay movement, I would not be an affirming preacher. What it did for me was force me to get a better understanding of the scriptures. It removed the inner conflict about my being gay. I don't believe that it is God's will for everyone to not be homosexual. If ex-gay is where a person is in their relationship with God, then that's where they are.

TN: Can the ex-gay and affirming/inclusive movements work together?

AB: I hope so. The issue is being healed and living healthy lives. Whatever that means (either being affirmed or ex-gay), I want that for people. If the ex-gay movement will stop the conflict for someone, I'll be the first to refer them.

TN: With Living Faith being an affirming/inclusive church, how do you propose making non-sgl (same gender loving) people feel comfortable and safe in the congregation?

AB: The first thing is to have a good orientation program. We should teach that we should not assume that everyone that comes through the doors IS gay. Since we're gonna promote diversity, we MUST deal with that issue. Secondly, the non-sgl people would have to understand that EVERYONE would be ministered to. Relational Christianity is not just about gays. Whatever the greatest need is in the body will be emphasized.

TN: Define Relational Christianity?

AB: Relational Christianity is looking at MY relationship with God in terms of the integrity of my relationship with God, with myself as a person, with others, and with the environment. Every religious theme is looked at through the eyes of relationship.

TN: So, what if one person says, "my relationship with God says it's okay to be promiscuous", while others say it isn't okay? Are there no absolutes in this viewpoint?

AB: The absolutes will come through. I recognize individual responsibility to define what they believe. My responsibility is NOT to make them believe as I do. I put the word out there, understanding that I believe what I believe because I have chosen to have faith in it. It is possible that I could be wrong. God will do the work if the individual develops a deeper relationship with God. In the end, God will judge by our faith and not by what we did right or wrong. What God wants most for us is that we have the Right Relationship, as opposed to always Being Right.

TN: Good insight. Lastly, if you had 45 seconds to address the entire world what would your message be?

AB: I would say "God desperately wants to have an intimate and personal relationship with you. God wants true communion, where He knows you, and you know Him by personal experience."

TN: Thank you Apostle Byrd for your time, for your example, and for your being obedient to the work God has called you to.

AB: Thank you as well.

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