As a result of the analysis of the 2003 TONAS, the following recommendations are being made:
- A mentorship program should be developed that ministers to those that deal with unwanted same sex gender attractions. Since this is perceived as a vital part of the overcoming process, the program design and instruction should be easily replicated.
- The establishment of an information clearinghouse for "Overcomers" would be helpful to all that struggle with same sex attractions
- A residential program should be established where those that deal with unwanted same sex attractions could concentrate on their recovery in a supportive environment.
- An advocacy program should be formalized to educate pastors on the issues that Overcomers face and the benefits of instituting ministries in their own churches that assist in the recovery process.
The survey was conducted via the internet from October 10 through November 15 with fifty (50) respondents. The self-directed nature of the online survey allowed us to honestly capture information without requiring individuals to reveal identities. This was a key factor in selecting the methodology for this study. Thus, we feel the answers reflect truthful beliefs regarding overcoming homosexuality. It is our hope that church leaders will utilize this information to establish ministry programs that effectively assist men in dealing with unwanted sexuality issues.
*WITNESS! Ministries, Inc. is an Atlanta-based Christian ministry whose primary mission is to provide holistic resources for men and women of color who seek change from unwanted same sex attractions.
**LifeLines Discipleship Program is a nine month teaching program for individuals overcoming homosexuality and related issues in a safe and confidential environment.
You are authorized to quote from this report only if it is credited as follows:
"A WITNESS! Ministries/LifeLines Discipleship Program Joint Survey"
Please include links back to the source page of the survey http://www.witnessfortheworld.org/tonas03.html This survey is not scientific.
WITNESS! Ministries, Inc.* conducted the 2003 Overcomers Needs Assessment Survey (TONAS) in conjunction with the LifeLines Discipleship Program**. We believe that it is the first of its kind and scope in assessing ministry needs for those in the church community who stand to benefit most from programs or initiatives geared towards strengthening and encouraging such individuals in their journey to sexual wholeness. The simple objective of this survey was to capture the needs of African American, formerly gay men who are in the overcoming process.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
The following primary findings are notable:
Almost ¾ or (72%)of formerly gay black men prefer the term Overcomer to describe their post homosexual experience.
Twenty-four percent of respondents feel that their greatest obstacle to overcoming is not having supportive role models by which to pattern themselves. This was followed closely by 20% of respondents feeling that family and/or church members would reject them. "Letting go of gay friends" was also an obstacle for 18% of respondents and 16% felt that they would not be successful in their struggle.
Thirty-six percent of respondents felt that having a mentor would help accelerate their recovery, 32% felt that learning how to deal with the root cause of their attractions to men would accelerate their healing, and 18% felt that they needed more personal commitment to their struggle. (Note: the largest percent, 30%, of respondents were in the "other" category.)
When respondents were asked what has been their primary source of information on overcoming homosexuality, 29% said the Internet followed by 24% responding a ministry to recovering homosexuals (E.G. WITNESS!, Exodus Int'l)
Thirty-two percent of survey participants responded that it would take from 1-3 years to "feel like you are no longer gay" and 24% responded 6 months - 1 year (Note: the largest percent, 36%, of respondents were in the "other" category.)
One-third of survey participants would participate in a residential program if offered the opportunity and 20% felt that it was good idea but they would not participate. It is also noteworthy that 20% felt that it may be a problem with sexual acting out with the residents. Only 18% thought it was not necessary.
Forty - Seven percent of respondents felt that 6 months were an adequate amount of time for a residential living program and 33% felt that one year was sufficient.
Eighty - three percent of those surveyed would like to see some sort of ministry in operation at their home church for same sex strugglers. Only 39% of respondents felt that their home church has been helpful in their personal struggle. Over half (54%) of participants would be willing to give their personal testimony publicly - if asked by their pastor.
The biggest reason for the lack of support for men coming out of homosexuality in the black community is fear and/or misunderstanding about homosexuality with 44% citing this option and 16% cite internal issues within the black church as the problem.