Gender Article

When False Gender Ideologies Enter Your Church

By Phoenix Hayes

A question that came up recently was this: Do I leave a solid church if much of the youth who go to the church are identifying as gay, trans etc? I have kids who could be influenced. Should we leave or stay and be lights?

While this is a concerning issue for any parent; to believe that one can shelter their children from such counter Christian influences by switching churches is at best, optimistic and at worst downright ignorant. The current gender fluid trend the world is riding has permeated everywhere from schools, television, music, video games, advertising, and yes – the church. Unless you intend to raise your children in a bubble it is going to be impossible for them to never feel the effects of this new wave in our culture. And while bubbles are safe, they are also crippling because like it or not, everyone has to leave that bubble eventually and when they do they need to thrive, not crumble under the confusing messages the world is teaching. 

Am I advocating for sending your children to public school for a fully immersive worldly experience? No. When it comes to educating your children, if you have an alternative option to the public school system – take it. While a bubble is impractical and unhelpful, throwing unequipped and easily influenced innocents into 30+ hours a week of counter-biblical indoctrination is also not ideal. It is also where your children’s greatest influences are – their peers. Don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you that you must homeschool, or send your kids to a private Christian school. That’s your call. The Lord knows that there are plenty of expensive Christian schools out there that are Christian in name only. The Lord also knows how your family would cope both financially and emotionally with a homeschool program. So while I agree that homeschooling is ideal, it simply isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK – so long as you’re actively discipling your kids (few parents are). 

Now, when it comes to your church, that’s another story. Let’s not forget that the church has always been filled with people that are confused about life, theology, sexuality, and yes, even their gender. What has changed is the culture’s attitude toward these issues. What was once a rare, and often isolating issue of gender dysphoria, has become the pinnacle of cool, brave, and edgy among young people. None more so than our girls. As Abigail Shrier points out in her brilliant book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, “between 2016 and 2017 the number of gender surgeries for natal females in the U.S. quadrupled, with biological women suddenly accounting for—as we have seen—70 percent of all gender surgeries”.[1] Truly, the statistics are alarming, and the numbers have not increased in a gradual way, but literally spiked almost overnight. To see similar numbers within the church is merely further evidence of how easily these ideologies can slip into our children’s ears and eyes right under our noses. If you believe your church is unique in this, it’s not. Show me a church with young people and I’ll show you a church where gender and sexual identities are being challenged among the youth. The question isn’t should you leave, the question is what is the church leadership doing about it?

The only reason these ideologies have the chance to take root in our youth is because vital conversations about gender, sexuality, and identity from a biblical perspective are not happening in the home. When these conversations don’t happen in the home, they happen in peer groups, or even worse in chat rooms online. If the family will not step up and learn how to speak to their children about these topics, the second line of defense is the church. Is your church rising to the challenge? Perhaps more specifically, is the youth pastor and their team? If so, what are they saying? This is what you should be asking yourself, not “should we leave?”. While I admire the consideration to keep your children in this environment to act as “lights”, they need proper biblical leadership from the pastors of your church. If the truth is not being taught from the top down then no matter how bright your child’s light may be, they need to get out. It is one thing for young people to set an example among their peers and to stand for truth, it is another thing entirely for them to do so as a bridge between poor teaching, poor church leadership, and the truth of the gospel.

Our children are our future, and while there will always be a time of challenging the truth, testing limits, and awkwardly carving out a sense of independence for themselves, this needs to be done in the presence of biblical grace and truth from their leaders. If your church hasn’t figured out how to have these important conversations about gender and sexuality, and if they’re not willing to get it figured out ASAP, then yes, consider moving on. This stuff isn’t difficult from a leadership standpoint. It’s messy, like all human frailties, but it’s not difficult. We don’t need a church, or youth group, to be filled with perfect people. But we do need leaders in the church poised and ready to address tough topics with truth, compassion, and grace.


[1] Abigail Shrier, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters (USA: Regnery Publishing, 2020), 26.


Disclaimer: All views expressed by those associated with this ministry or on our platforms do not necessarily represent the opinions of Women in Apologetics, Inc. or its individual team members.

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