Remembering Frank

CoastlineSingle acts of heroism make the news and cycle through social media. But a lifetime of faithfulness—acts of loving obedience to Christ day in and day out—is worthy of a moment of reflection. Those acts over a lifetime are like the constancy of waves along the shoreline. Some large and some small, they eventually change the entire landscape of the coastline.

Frank Worthen lived his life in that manner until his passing earlier this year at age 87. Unless you are in the trenches of—or actively opposed to—ministries like ours, you may have never heard of him. Frank was the pioneer of what has been called the ex-gay movement, blazing a trail for thousands of others to follow.

Blazing a Trail

In his book, Destiny Bridge (Forever Books; Winnipeg, Canada; 2010), Frank shares his story of how God brought him out of 25 years of living as a gay man and led him to start a ministry for men also desiring freedom. His ministry began in, of all places, San Francisco. God went right to the heart of the matter. He chose a man to do His bidding in a city renowned for its homosexual community.

Frank recalls in 1973, a pastor friend encouraged him to put his testimony on a cassette tape. He put an ad in the Berkeley Barb, a New Age paper that also had numerous ads for men looking for sexual encounters. His ad ran in November of 1973 and read, “Let Jesus break the chains of homosexuality. Brother Frank tells how Jesus changed his life. Send for the tape on free loan . . .” His first ad was published on the same page with the racy ads and nude pictures he used to frequent. His tapes became popular enough that he had to make many duplicates.

“You May Not Want Me”

Then in 1974, while driving, Frank was listening to a Christian radio broadcast of a popular preacher talking about the book of Leviticus. The preacher focused almost entirely on homosexuality. He said, “Don’t waste your time trying to convert a homosexual. They can’t be saved.”    

Frank recalls that those condemning words hit him hard. For several days, he considered taking his own life. He remembers praying, “Lord I’m going to serve You, just as if I were saved. You may not want me, but I want You.” Frank sent the radio station his “Brother Frank” tape. He added to his testimony 1 Corinthians 6:7-11, in which Paul declares to a long litany of sinners—including but not limited to homosexuals, “Such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (v. 11).  He received many positive responses from Christian believers.

Persevering

He started a support group and eventually named it Love in Action, the first formal ministry of its kind. Other groups sprung up all over California, as did several others around the country, including Outpost Ministries in Minneapolis. Back then, there were no resources other than the Bible, so many groups wrote their own curriculums. Frank wrote a booklet, Steps out of Homosexuality. 

He founded Exodus International in 1976, a network of these like-hearted ministries. The founder of Outpost, Robbi Kenney, joined the first Board of Directors, and Outpost was one of Exodus’ original members.

In the beginning, Frank had very little encouragement. Frank says his gay friends abandoned him. In the day and age when homosexuality was taboo to mention in church, his supporters were slow to come around.  He was bombarded with temptation, and in the early days, many leaders went back into the gay life. One can only imagine what he endured. To start an ex-gay ministry as he did with no help and no guidelines in a city like San Francisco is not only extraordinary, it’s miraculous!

Frank and Anita Worthen

Frank and Anita Worthen

Changing the Coastline

Frank not only survived, he continued to thrive. In 1991, he started a similar ministry in the Philippines. Upon the crumbling of Exodus in 2012, in his early 80’s, he led the charge with Anne Paulk and Stephen Black to form Restored Hope Network.

Frank leaves behind Anita, his loving wife of 32 years, and a stepson. He also leaves behind a legacy of steadfast obedience to God’s calling which has impacted men and women around the world for over 40 years. The weight of that impact will be felt as we gather for Restored Hope Network’s annual conference in June. The coastline has changed under the rhythm of his faithful perseverance.

Watch Frank’s testimony here.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Introducing Outpost North!

Outpost NorthWe have been waiting for the right moment to announce our new branch Outpost North in Brainerd, MN! Outpost North offers our Foundations course to anyone struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions, family members, and pastors and ministry leaders who want to learn more about Outpost and the healing journey. They have also started an Elijah Company group for parents, family and friends of gay-identified loved ones.

Our Outpost North Coordinator, Angie, has a beautiful testimony of the Lord pursuing her, even in the midst of her sin and brokenness. She now has a husband and a little girl—a little girl who would not exist had the enemy succeeded in his plans to keep Angie from her true identity and destiny in God.

Angie understands by experience that it is the Father’s desire to restore the broken-hearted and restore the family. Malachi 4:5-6 says, “’Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (NKJV). Seeing the restoration of the family is our vision at Outpost Ministries and TCJHOP because we believe that it is the Lord’s end-time strategy to bring healing to families, to the family of God and to our society. Thank you for partnering with us in this mighty work the Lord is doing among us!

New Year, Same Mission

new yearHappy New Year! I pray 2017 is a year of peace, joy, and blessing for you and your family.

2016 was a full year for us at Outpost Ministries. We hit the ground running last January, having just merged into the Twin Cities Justice House of Prayer. There was much to accomplish: establishing the vision and mission of TCJHOP, implementing layers of protection to keep us safe and viable in the ever-changing cultural landscape, and changing the many administrative things necessary with the change of the organizational structure. It was A LOT, but we did it. Yes, there are still some things left to do, but we have accomplished the bulk of them.

Now as we begin 2017, Outpost is stronger than ever, ready to serve the sexually and relationally broken and their families who are wanting healing through relationship with Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for our diligent team who worked very hard to accomplish this feat!

Outpost is now a part of TCJHOP, but I want to be very clear, our mission has not waivered. We continue to exist to see men and women find freedom from unwanted same-sex attractions. 

Last October, Outpost celebrated its 40th anniversary. We look forward to the next 40 years. We have recently developed a one-and-a-half day seminar called “Distinctions” to help educate and equip the Church on issues of biblical gender, homosexuality, transgenderism, and a biblical response to the sexual brokenness in our culture. We believe that this seminar is “prophetic” in the sense that it reveals how God thinks and feels about humans created in His image and makes known God’s heart to heal the broken. It also calls people to return to the Lord with all of their hearts. We also offer a condensed version of this seminar. If you are interested in having Outpost present at your church, youth group, Sunday school class or other group, we would love the opportunity!

Stepping into the Light

Celebrating 40 Years of Being Called Out of Darkness40 years

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. —1 Peter 2:9-10

In 1976, Outpost Ministries was born. I was born just one year later. I have often thought of the goodness of God. He knew that I would struggle with same-sex attractions, and He went before me to establish the place where I would ultimately find healing and wholeness in Jesus Christ.

I first set foot inside Outpost in the fall of 1997, and I was called out of the darkness of homosexuality and into the marvelous light of Jesus. True freedom always begins with stepping into the light. I had never before told anyone about my struggle. I was too afraid and ashamed. Now, for the first time, I was in a place where I could be open and honest about my sexual brokenness. How freeing!

In the light, we begin to see rightly. My sight began to heal through my involvement at Outpost. I began to see men and women very differently, I began to see myself differently. Most importantly, I began to see God differently. As I started to see how God truly thinks and feels about me, my heart began to change.

I saw that I am chosen. Growing up, I was not very athletic, so I generally wasn’t the first kid picked for playground sports, or the second or the third . . . We all desire to be chosen, and it’s painful when we are not. At Outpost, I got to know a God who chose me before the foundations of the world. He wanted me on His team!        Since then, I have often marveled at these words from 1 Corinthians 1:27-28:

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.

God’s standards are completely the opposite of the world’s standards, and in many cases even the opposite of the Church’s. He intentionally chooses for His team the weak and broken!

I saw that I am royalty to God the Father. What is so amazing about the cross is that not only does it afford us the forgiveness of sin, but it also give us a new identity. We are now kings and priests to God because of the blood of Jesus (Rev. 1:5-6). We have been given authority in Jesus’ name to partner with God in administering justice in the earth (Ps. 149) through our intercession. Our prayers matter to God!

I saw that I am holy. For someone who has lived in so much shame and condemnation for so long, it is an amazing thing for him to realize and truly believe that he is a new creation. In Christ, I have become the righteousness of God and am set apart to accomplish the good works God has planned in advance for me (2 Cor. 5:17, 21; Eph. 2:10).

I saw that I am special. I think my parents did a fine job of letting me know that I was special to them. There is, however, a part of our hearts that needs to hear this word from the Heavenly Father in order for us to feel confident in who we are. One who has heard the Lord affirm that he is fearfully and wonderfully made doesn’t need fame or status. He is already famous in the sight of the Creator of the Universe. It’s the angel Gabriel telling Daniel that he is “highly esteemed” by heaven (Dan. 9:23) or the angel of the Lord informing Gideon that heaven sees him as a “valiant warrior” (Judges 6:12). A person’s soul is set free from always needing to perform for approval when he learns to live before an audience of One.

In the light, I saw more clearly. I saw a God who is mighty to save. At Outpost, I learned to trade my rags for my new identity. Christ had always been holding it out to me. In the darkness, I just couldn’t see it.

Chosen. Royal. Holy. Special. What a glorious exchange.

There has been much fruit that has come forth from Outpost over the last 40 years. I am just one of the many who has stepped into the light because I heard the call of God. There are many more walking in freedom and many more to come. How much more do we need Outpost for the next 40 years! We need this beacon of hope and truth now more than ever before in the history of our nation.

Thank you for standing with us, some of you since the very beginning. It has been such a privilege to run the race with you. I hope to see you at our upcoming 40th Anniversary Celebration and Called Out of Darkness. Let us all come together and proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light!

Building for the Future

building campaignIn 1976, the Lord answered the cry of many men and women in the Twin Cities struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions.  They were wanting to live holy lives before God—their sexuality included.  Through the work of Robbi Kenney and several others, Outpost Ministries was born—a ministry seeking to help men and women find freedom from unwanted same-sex attractions.

Around this same time, other ministries like Outpost were starting to pop up around the nation.  They began to hear about one another and decided to meet in California to encourage one another and exchange ideas.  Out of that meeting, Exodus International was born.  God was faithful to teach these pioneering pastoral caregivers how to minister to those in the LGBT community wanting freedom and wholeness in their sexuality.  (Sadly, Exodus International no longer exists, but a new network has sprung up in its place, Restored Hope Network, of which Outpost is a member.)

Interestingly enough, these caregivers ultimately found that God heals same-sex-attracted individuals the same way He heals everyone else: through the cross.  It was in offering the healing of the cross to the gay community that some very valuable tools to heal the soul were discovered. It was clear that these tools were for the whole body of Christ.  We are all in need of healing!  Outpost’s programming has grown to include men and women struggling with all forms of sexual and relational brokenness.

In the year 2000, I was hired as the Youth and College- Age Director.  At this point, there was little curricula or programming for young people.  I needed to build from the ground up.  Once again, just as in the early years of our existence, the Lord was faithful to release the tools needed to heal the hearts of the next generation.

In 2007, we began an internship for young adults called Encountering Jesus.  The interns were challenged to spend three hours of their day in prayer and study of the Word.  While three hours seemed daunting at first, as the interns started to encounter God in prayer and through His Word, they were hooked—and they were changing.  Young men and women were making different choices than culture about their same-sex attractions, and God was honoring their obedience.  Jesus Christ indeed has life-changing power!

It became clear to the Outpost staff and me that prayer needed to be at the heart of everything we did.  Outpost established what was eventually called the Justice House of Prayer (JHOP) with the ultimate goal of 24/7 prayer and worship in the Twin Cities.

In 2011, I was appointed CEO of Outpost. Our house of prayer began to gain momentum, and we established Elijah Company, a group for parents, family and friends of those impacted by same-sex attractions.  We also began an introductory course called Foundations to give a foundational understanding of the issues to new participants as well as to church leaders.  God was releasing more tools for the healing journey of the bound and broken.

Seeing the social decline with the passage of several marriage-related laws, Outpost began seeking further protections.  It became clear that the safest place to conduct ministry is within the local church.  By the grace of God and under the leadership of Jesus, in 2015 we merged with the Twin Cities House of Prayer and The Well Church to incorporate anew as a church: Twin Cities Justice House of Prayer (TCJHOP).  Outpost is now a ministry of TCJHOP; I remain at the helm as Senior Pastor.  As a ministry arm of TCJHOP, Outpost’s mission and vision remain the same, and we continue to have a unique focus on helping men and women find freedom from unwanted same-sex attractions.  Moving forward, we will be able to do so under more layers of protection.  (Your donations will continue to  be allocated to the work of Outpost).

The vision of TCJHOP is to be a unified, praying Church moving in the power of the Holy Spirit to restore the family.  Families are under fire.  We want to stand in the gap by praying for God’s intervention, and we want to offer hope and healing through Jesus Christ.

The marriage of night and day prayer with inner-healing is cutting edge.  Outpost is believing that the Lord will hold true to His Word and grant speedy justice to those who cry out to Him day and night (Luke 18:7-8).  Can you imagine the possibilities as we seek God’s face for the healing of the same-sex attracted and their families?

For forty years, Outpost has seen the life-changing power of Jesus Christ transform both men and women.  Our history and fruit speak to the goodness of God, and our testimony is loud and clear:  all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26).

Now, we look to the future.  We have been renters for 40 years, and it is now time for us to have a place of our own.  And so begins our Building Campaign.  With completion of the merger, our staff has grown to almost 20 people, and in our current office situation, we are bursting at the seams!

To officially kick off this three-year campaign, we are hosting a banquet at Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, MN on April 16 at 6 PM.  (Please note that this is a change of venue as of March 9.)  Tickets for the event are $40 per person or $320 to sponsor a table of eight.  Would you consider coming?  RSVP by April 6  or by emailing us at building@tcjhop.org, calling our Building Campaign phone line, 763-210-2634, or by registering online.  We would love for you to hear more about the vision God has given Outpost for the future.  We are trusting for 40 more years of Loving God, Declaring Freedom!

A Voice in the Wilderness

For those of us who cling ferociously to what we call “traditional biblical values”—that is, families which have two grown-ups in charge, a him and a her—the modern age has grown bewildering. The gay lobby now exerts immense influence in the public sphere, the LGBT community has taken the place of the Christian church as ambassadors of all that is considered right and moral, and Facebook members will find that their profile page now offers them 51 gender options to choose from.

Does all of this seem to you like something you’d rather not talk about? It did to me too. I found this whole topic to be depressing, frightening and generally unpleasant. Until, that is, I got to know Outpost Ministries.

Outpost is an outreach to men and women who are choosing to confront unwanted same-sex attraction. I’ve known about and supported Outpost for many years without thinking about it very much because a staff member is a close friend. It seemed a viable, worthy cause—you know, like the Food Shelf or Toys For Tots. A niche ministry among many.

But more recently, my understanding has deepened and my tune has changed, to the point that I’ve just accepted an invitation to join Outpost’s team. I’ve come to see Outpost as one of a small group of Christian organizations which are taking a stand and leading a charge against a strategic, global campaign of our Enemy. I believe now that what they (we) are doing is vital and urgent. It is so central and important to our Church as a whole. In fact, if they or somebody like them don’t do the kind of work they are doing, then our nation is headed pell-mell into chaotic darkness.

That’s a very large claim. It is either grandiose or true. To defend it, I must beg a little patience while I explain. Here’s how it works: we humans exist to love and be loved by God. That was God’s purpose in creating us. It is His great risk because in order to stand a chance of receiving back the kind of love He gives us, He had to make us like Him—able to choose.

And because we are like Him, we have the same choice in loving one another as we have in loving Him. God put us on the earth and gave us each other to love so that, in doing so, we may learn to love Him. That’s where the fun starts.

The human creature begins as a baby, a cute, little cherub full of needs but with absolutely no idea what love is or how to do it. He/she must be taught. By whom? Obviously, those people on whom the little tyke must depend for his/her every need, the caregivers. Ideally, a mom and dad.

As God does with the Church, the parents reach out in love to their little one. This begins on day one, and even in the womb. Baby responds in kind, and a mutual bond of trust, affection, identity and ownership begins to grow. And from this essential, primary bond, the child can then branch out to loving others and God.

But this scenario presumes that the parents in question live in a perfect world. They know what love is, how to do it, and are capable of teaching it to their child—perfectly. If they don’t, then even though the child may get fed and clothed and outwardly seem well-adjusted, one possible result when he/she grows up is—you guessed it—same-sex attraction.

At Outpost what we’ve found is that our clients come to us with versions of this same story. The result is that those children grow into adults who have a desperate need—because we’re all made that way—to love and be loved, but they can’t because they lack the ability to bond. They are often well-versed in social skills and forms of religion, but on the inside they are brutally isolated—from others and from God.

Well, that’s a sad story, but how is it a large-scale catastrophe? What makes it a battlefield (in what we loosely call “spiritual warfare”) is that through stories like this, our Enemy gets what he really wants: human beings who, through their inability to bond, are cut off from God, functionally unable to respond to His love. And because of this, the Enemy has moved every resource he can find in support of this dynamic.

The result is that in recent years the gay lobby has steadily gained in political, social and moral ascendancy; to the point that now, in the US and even in the Western world in general, to disagree—to advocate for biblical values—is considered virtually indistinguishable from a hate crime.

And the outcome—what the Enemy gets out of all this—is the destruction of the family as the foundational institution of human existence. And without a family, primarily a loving mom and dad, how can children learn to respond to God’s love?

I grew up in a small town called Bemidji, MN, and I miss it, partly because it’s such a safe, rational, sane place. If you live in a place like that, or go to a church like that, it probably seems like a very normal place. But it isn’t. Not any more. It is now one of many, shrinking pockets of relative sanity in a larger culture which seems grimly intent on shredding itself into meaninglessness.

A sad part of this story is that throughout this macro upheaval, the Christian Church has remained largely silent. In fact, many main-line denominations, responding to political pressure, have begun to waver and have even made declarations against biblical values. And many church leaders, while privately sticking to their beliefs, are unwilling to take a visible stand because they fear the storm of invective which may come their way if they do.

Outpost is one of the very few Christian organizations—a voice crying out in the wilderness, as it were—which is in the business of saying “No!” to these designs of the Enemy. And yes, we’ve paid a price. We’ve been misquoted, maligned and vilified in the press, vandalized, etc., but in the process, we’ve seen many men and women walk a path of humility and healing which results in new hope, restored gender identity, and families where their own kids are learning how to love.

But of course, Outpost is bigger than that. It has to be. Whether we really wanted to or not, by default Outpost carries a very public banner which says that all is not lost, the family as an institution is not an outmoded myth, and God still works through moms and dads to raise up children unto Himself.

That is why I think Outpost is so important. This isn’t just a worthy cause, this is vital. The need is vast and urgent, and we need workers.

And we need you too. We need you to open your hearts to the tearing need which inhabits the world outside our homes and churches. We ask only one thing from you: that you get with God and ask him what part he wants you to play. Will you do that?