Most American Baptists Concerned and Welcoming & Affirming Baptists groups were formed because a small group of people saw a need and took action. The primary areas of focus in a new local group may take include; outreach, support, education, advocacy and social. We have outlined some basic information on some group focus areas.
Many sexual minority Baptists have been alienated by some aspect of organized religion, be it their local church or on a denominational level. Some people have given up their faith, believing incorrectly, that they have to choose between their Christianity and their sexual orientation. Others are seeking ways to reconcile their faith and their sexual orientation. Outreach can be done in a variety of ways, from leaving literature in local gay/lesbian clubs to distributing flyers on a college campus or seminary.
The homophobia and discrimination perpetuated in may Baptist and Christian circles can effect someone profusely. It can have a very damaging effect on self-esteem and our belief system. Support on the local level might be a group discussion where people feel free in a safe environment to express their thoughts and listen to others. It could also be staffing a contact number so people can call for help or just offering one to one support on a personal level.
There is much information about homosexuality and Christianity that is perpetuated by mainline religion that is incorrect. There are still active anti-gay ministries around that can do great damage to people. So there is ample room to try and correct this mis-information. Education can be done a wide variety of ways, such as distributing literature at local meetings, gathers, pride parades; by forming a speakers bureau, etc.
There are sexual minority people in just about every church, they are just not always visible. Some people do not choose to be out or cannot come out of the closet for various reasons. Local groups can help be a voice for them, and a voice of justice. This can be done by responding to negative news articles; through press releases; by attending local, regional and denominational meetings and conventions to speak up on behalf of sexual minority Baptists.
One aspect of a local group may be to fellowship with other lesbian and gay Baptists. Being a Christian in the gay and lesbian communities is often like being a sexual minority person in Christian comminutes. They appear to be an oxymoron and people are often not accepted in both. However, social get together for potlucks, dances, retreats and meetings can build that missing link that do not always exist between the Christian and gay aspects of a persons life.