ReStory Ministries Resources Churches and Parents on LGBTQ Issues
“When God made you, He wanted another little girl, not a boy. You are exactly what He wanted and being a girl does not make you a second-class citizen.”
This prophetic word, spoken in 1996, interrupted the existence of Linda Seiler, a woman who had struggled with feelings of being a man trapped inside a female body for most of her life. Although it would take her nearly 11 years to be able to look in the mirror and love the woman that she saw, the supernatural seed that was planted that day would become a ministry focus in her future.
ReStory Ministries founded by Ginger (Hahn) Stahl and several other Assemblies of God adherents affected by LGBTQ, offers an unashamedly Pentecostal perspective to equip pastors, missionaries, parents, and concerned believers on issues regarding sexuality and identity. Seiler was among the ReStory founders and now serves as its executive director.
LGBTQ ideology is flooding the United States. Seiler, a U.S. missionary serving with Chi Alpha Campus Ministries and an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God, calls it an epidemic that is spreading among the younger generation at an alarming rate.
Parents, leaders, and Christian family members are being hit hard as they struggle to navigate this delicate issue.
“What we want to emphasize is compassion without compromise,” says Seiler. “We demonstrate compassion for the person without compromising the word of God.”
In October of 2023, Seiler hosted a conference in West Lafayette, Indiana, at her local church where altars filled with parents who were standing in the gap and fighting spiritual battles on behalf of their children.
There, Seiler shared her testimony of freedom after being held captive by this same battle. Ministering alongside her at the conference were Russ and Nan Trahan, the pastors who had walked with Seiler on her road to freedom nearly 20 years ago and who are currently walking this path again with a family member.
“One thing I learned from Russ and Nan was that we have to start with the Word and then follow up with pastoral care. When you flip that and start pastoral care without a foundation of Scripture, you will end up headed in the wrong direction,” says Seiler.
Ultimately, the attack on sexuality and gender identity is a direct attack on God’s Word and on the gospel itself.
Trahan states, “the church and the family don’t know how to deal with it and that makes it the perfect playground for the enemy.”
“We are changing our theology to match our subjective experience,” Seiler says, “instead of our theology informing our experience. This is how we end up affirming ‘gay Christians.’”
ReStory advocates the importance of staying grounded in Scripture. The twisting of Scripture is causing Christians to cave to cultural pressure.
“We’ve started putting the second commandment above the first, fearing people more than we fear God,” says Seiler. “God and His Word must remain the primary thing. If we keep that first, God will show us how to love well without compromising. That’s exactly what Jesus did,” she says.
Seiler explains the process of overcoming what seem to many as ingrained sexual desires by referencing Ephesians 4:22-24, which says to take off the old self and put on the new.
“The old self is being corrupted by deceitful desires,” she says. “So, knowing that my old self is corrupt, do I believe what I feel, or do I choose to believe God’s Word despite what my flesh, my old self, desires?”
These desires, she shares, don’t dictate our identity or determine our destiny. Instead, we must choose to believe God’s Word despite the desires of the old self.
Seiler says that for anyone walking with someone who is struggling with their sexuality or identity, the road is long, and transformation is not always instantaneous.
“As Pentecostals, we expect an immediate change,” she says, “but it’s usually a process.”
During that process, people need a safe place to share their struggles with accountability but without judgment. Trahan, who has pastored 2 churches and been credentialed with the Assemblies of God for over two decades, encourages pastors to make their church a place where real people can come to get real help.
This is what Seiler says was one of the biggest battles of her first five years as a Christian.
“I was living a double life,” she says. “I felt like I couldn’t talk about my struggles without being kicked out of the church or ridiculed by other Christians.”
These life experiences are what ReStory Ministries aims to address within the body of Christ.
“We need to equip believers how to respond if someone shares that they struggle with their sexuality,” Seiler says.
But, according to Seiler, where the rubber meets the road is in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is what she believes can allow Pentecostals to address the issue in a deeper way than those who operate without the gifts of the Spirit.
The answer isn’t simply telling people to stop acting on their desires because oftentimes the fruit of outward behavior stems from a deeper root. According to Seiler, transformation happens when the Holy Spirit reveals the root to the fruit.
“We are spirit, soul, and body,” she says. “There can be wounds in the soul that hold us captive in areas that contribute to gender insecurity and affect our sexual desires. When the Holy Spirit heals those wounds in our soul, it can affect our mind and even our bodily desires.”
ReStory is a 501(c)(3) endorsed by the General Council of the Assemblies of God. Seiler and her team have developed a library of free resources to better equip pastors, parents, and concerned believers to engage in conversations surrounding LGBTQ.
Included in these resources is an equipping video series recorded at their first national conference. Each video comes with an accompanying study guide and discussion questions. The goal of these videos is to equip pastors, parents, and concerned believers to better respond to what is going on in culture.
Jeff Carlson, lead pastor at Connection Point Church states, “The Church needs this teaching. For years, we have really not known what to do with this subject. To our culture love looks like acceptance and accommodation, and holding a biblical perspective is interpreted as hate. Linda has proven that truth can be love, and the Bible is full of compassion for lost people everywhere, no matter the nature of their sin.”
ReStory will host its second national conference in Indianapolis on October 4-5, 2024. More information on registration, sponsorships and other details, can be found here.
Seiler earned her B.A. from the University of Illinois and Ph.D. from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. Her newly-published book TRANS-Formation chronicles her story of transformation and equips believers with a theological, scientific, and pastoral response to LGBTQ.