By: Pastor Esteban Carrasco, Jr.
Senior Pastor, House of Destiny Church
To serve or not to serve? We at House of Destiny Ministries were faced with that question in October 2016.
Massachusetts had just implemented a new law adding gender identity to the state’s public accommodation laws. And two state agencies quickly attempted to apply this law to all churches in Massachusetts. In fact, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) issued a guidance document stating that when churches host events that MCAD views as “secular” — like spaghetti suppers — they are then considered public accommodations and must comply with the gender identity law.
As a ministry, we have taken our call to serve within our community very seriously, and it has been a key part of our ministry. For example, we have hosted a Thanksgiving Day Community Meal the past five years. We serve a hot meal to those who don’t have someone to spend Thanksgiving with, sharing that meal with them in fellowship. We also provide a delivery service for those who can’t make it to the meal site.
However, due to the laws that our state was putting in place, the way we were serving our community was going to have to change. Since our outreach might be considered “secular” by the state, we would be required to open our sex-specific facilities — like changing rooms and restrooms — to members of the opposite biological sex.
We were at a crossroads: Do we serve or do we stop serving those in our community?
Our desire has always been to honor God by simply serving those of our community. But being forced to open our private facilities to members of the opposite sex conflicts with our religious beliefs about God’s design for human sexuality.
Thanks to efforts of Alliance Defending Freedom, we no longer have to make that choice. Through their efforts defending our church and three other churches in Massachusetts, they have ensured that we are able to serve our community free from government interference.
They defended our ability not only to serve our community with a Thanksgiving Day meal, but since then, we have also been able to serve our community with a Back 2 School Block Party, where we were able to hand out 200 backpacks with school supplies.
In this historic time in which we are living, I would like to encourage each fellow minister that we need to continue to serve our community with confidence. God has given us an organization—ADF—that understands our desire to serve without government interference and that has the resources to defend us when our rights our threatened.
Let’s be free to serve our community as the Lord has called us to do.
Learn more about how your church can become engaged, empowered, and protected as a member of the ADF Church Alliance.