A gay men’s Bible study group in Kansas City called Guys and Yahweh has been quietly growing over the last three years.
The group was started by a handful of gay Christian men interested in connecting with others and growing in their faith together. Now Guys and Yahweh has grown so big that it meets in two different locations on different nights.
The need for the group stems from the reality that traditional viewpoints in the Christian church have compelled many LGBTQ people to either hide their sexuality or leave the church. Some members report that their friends believe that being both gay and Christian is impossible.
“This is not true,” said Kent Jackson, who helped start the group and continues in a leadership role.
Many of the group members attend United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, and several attend other churches in the area.
“I wanted to help create a space where other gay men could have meaningful conversations about life issues outside the bar scene by using Christian principles to guide our weekly discussion,” Jackson said.
Recently, the group made a change to its schedule and meeting location.
“We needed to find a way to decrease the barrier of location and weeknight, so we started a poll. We found most active members could meet on Mondays or Tuesdays,” Jackson said.
Previously, the group met weekly at the Shawnee, Kansas, home of Derrick Reike and Chris Webb. But because members live all across the metro area, there was a need to create two locations: one close to Mission and the other close to downtown.
The acronym for Guys and Yahweh is GAY, pointed out Reike, one of the group’s original members. He also said that “People still will ask if we are Jewish based on this name.”
Co-leader Ryan Conrad says he finds the group helpful. He’s in charge of its social media presence.
“I keep coming back because this group is a place of solace – a place to be encouraged and supported by fellow men of faith,” he said.
Mike Havens, co-leader of the downtown group, finds “lifelong friendships in an atmosphere where other gay men understand the same struggles in the spiritual journey of being a Christian gay man. The group is a place where I can confidentially share joys and concerns in my life. These men will support me in the good times and the bad. I am thankful for this group of men and for the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection for their support.”
Interested individuals can get more information by emailing Kent Jackson ([email protected]).