5 questions with Todd Ferrell
Todd Ferrell is president of the Evangelical Network, an affiliation of mostly independent gay-affirming churches, ministries and workers. The San Francisco-based network will hold its annual conference Thursday, May 3 to Sunday, May 6, at the Holiday Inn Select Dallas Central, 10650 N. Central Expressway. For more information or to register, visit www.t-e-n.org.
How did the Evangelical Network get started?
It started in 1988 as a network of Metropolitan Community Churches. Then the gentleman who started it, the Rev. Fred Pattison of Arizona, pulled out of MCC and it became a network of MCC churches and independent churches. It was during that time that you started seeing more independent churches birthed. Today there are hundreds of independent churches that are not tied to any denomination. We have 170 churches on our mailing list.
What does the network do?
What we do is we come together and we offer encouragement, training, workshops, leadership and resources to the independent churches. So in some ways we’re like a denomination, but in a lot of ways we’re not. We don’t dictate what individual churches do.
Is the network exclusively LGBT?
We have a lot of gay and lesbian people in our organization, but more and more it’s becoming mixed and blended, which is exactly what we love. Years ago, we prayed that God would break down the walls of division between the gay and lesbian community and the church, and we’re seeing more and more of that happening.
What will be the focus of this year’s conference?
The theme of this year’s conference is “Dynamic Transformation Deliberate Growth.” And what we’re going to be focusing on are some of the main pillars of becoming an effective church or an effective Christian, which are worship, evangelism, Christian education. fellowship, stewardship and serving the needy. We’ll have two days of workshops, a pastors’ retreat and three services.
Why did you choose Dallas as the site this year?
We rotate. Last year we were in Gatlinburg, Tenn., the year before that was St. Louis, and the year before that was San Francisco. Next year we’ll be in Pheonix. Dallas is a good location. We communicate with a lot of churches there. It’s interesting because that area is the Bible belt, and even within the gay and lesbian community, I would tend to say that it’s the Bible belt. Just as there are strong mainline churches, there are strong gay-affirming churches..
Soundout is a weekly column featuring people whose jobs and interests have an impact on the daily lives of members of the GLBT community. It features those who often go unnoticed by the press and community. If you’d like to recommend someone to cover in this column, contact staff writer John Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 27, 2007.