Small Beginnings, Steady Growth
Exodus International announced last week that this year marks the 35th anniversary of the ministry. Exodus works to equip churches and individuals to address the issue of homosexuality with grace and truth. The anniversary was marked by the unveiling of their re-designed website.
In 1976, more than a dozen independent ministries met in Anaheim, California, to discuss how to help men and women with same-sex attractions. The 62 attendees formed a coalition for their autonomous ministries – Exodus – and scheduled a meeting for the following year. This annual meeting continues, with about 1,000 people attending the Exodus Freedom Conference each year.
From that small beginning, the ministry has grown to include 240 affiliates – churches, therapists and ministries that make up the Exodus network and provide support and healing for thousands of men and women. Exodus estimates that about 400,000 people contact the headquarters and their affiliates each year.
This growth has not always been easy; at times there have been external and internal conflicts. It took a long time for some churches to believe that gay-identified men and women could really change. Some ministry leaders struggled and sinned over the years. One of the early founders of Exodus, for example, left his wife and children for a relationship with another man.
But many of those in ministry stayed faithful for years and decades, stewarding their sexuality according to biblical standards and ministering to thousands of people. And the main trajectory for Exodus has been one of growth.
Despite the doubters and nay-sayers who have attacked and vilified those who have come out of homosexuality over the past 35 years, the ministry continues. I’m thankful for the men and women who pioneered this work, and I’m very grateful for God’s hand on this ministry.