Former ‘Love in Action’ Head Smid Starts New Ministry
Ex-gay leader John Smid, who resigned from the controversial ex-gay ministry Love in Action in March, is now leading a new ministry from an office in or near his home church in Germantown, TN.
The specific nature of Grace Rivers Ministry is left rather vague by its mission statement:
Grace Rivers is a worldwide ministry actively stirring the body of Christ towards healthier relationships and spiritual growth by helping people become more honest and real with themselves, others and God using biblical principles, resulting in a more passionate response to fulfilling the great commission.
The “core values” are described thus:
- Authenticity in motives
- Honesty of the heart
- Non-Judgmental in response to one another
- Active Participation with one another
- Honoring one another
- Transparency with each other
- Confidentiality regarding one another
- Vulnerability about our lives
- Sensitivity with each other
- Respect for one another
And so to the question undoubtedly on everyone’s mind: Is Grace Rivers an ex-gay ministry? The young organization’s activities so far indicate it may as well be.
Last weekend “John Smid of Grace Rivers Ministries” appeared at a Men’s Freedom Retreat in Moscow, TN, alongside ex-gay counselor Jayson Graves of Healing for the Soul and David Zailer of “sexual integrity” fellowship Operation Integrity. Smid described the events as a time when “[men] who struggled with drug and alcohol, pornography, adultery, homosexuality, and deep father wounds found level ground at the foot of the cross of Christ.” In February 2009, Smid will address a homosexuality conference in Collierville, TN.
Grace Rivers was formally established on October 22, when a steering committee unanimously voted in Smid as Chairman and Executive Director. Other committee members are Phil Mischke, Randall Johnson, Scott Bailey, Mark McKee, Phil Bollinger and Charles Horton.
Little public information has been released about the new ministry, and the official website has yet to go live.