[This is a two-part interview with Coming out Ministries' Wayne Blakely, regarding the soon-to-be-released film "Journey Interrupted." This first part of the interview deals with the making of this exciting movie, and the second part deals with the challenges and triumphs of ministering to homosexuals in an environment that is sometimes hostile.]
Hi Wayne, thanks for giving us this interview. I understand that Coming out Ministries has a new movie coming out. Tell us about Journey Interrupted.
You're welcome. When ‘Coming Out’ Ministries formed five years ago, we found that each of us had been convicted by the Holy Spirit to set aside how we had been living and to allow God to guide and direct us through His Word, to live in agreement with Him, rather than in agreement with our flesh.
As each of us shared our stories with each other, we were deeply intrigued at how God had brought all of us to the same conclusion, and yet we each had a personal and individual compulsion from God about surrender and denying self for Jesus Christ as a result of His grace, tenderness and compassion for us as sinners. Each of us have stories of how the enemy took each of our circumstances and side-tracked us through cunning deceptions on this journey called “life.” We instantly could relate to each other and were impressed to begin sharing our experiences and discoveries through the power of Jesus Christ and the revelations He freely offers all who will seek Him. His patience, His grace and His enduring love has the capability to change anyone’s heart who will respond.
We had an interested party who began filming our stories. But the film footage would mysteriously disappear. Successive attempts resulted in accidental erasure. It was like the devil kept interfering. After a couple of years, we had another opportunity to film which once again was interrupted.
Each of us were convicted about using film as media to share the power of how God has intervened in each of our lives. What became vividly clear, was how the power of prayer played such an important part in bringing about this divine interruption.
That’s a great title. Where was your journey headed, before it was interrupted?
In every life, brokenness existed. Even in the most perfect of homes, Satan plays about the weaknesses of the human flesh. All of us were born tainted by a sinful nature. What’s natural…is sin. It was because of sin that Jesus came to live and set an example of what is possible by choosing Him over sin. That’s some pretty heavy-duty love. So much so, that few today begin to try and comprehend the power of what is possible by recognizing and responding to that kind of love. The “pure” love of Jesus Christ.
Satan has a plan for everyone, but so does Jesus (John 10:10). And in the midst of these two polar opposites is the gift of “choice” that God has blessed each one of us with. He alone knows our heart and our circumstances. He alone will judge how we respond to His “love in truth” plan for each of us.
Each of us grew up with some element of Christianity affecting our lives. We were pieces of a puzzle that we couldn’t seem to put together as a result of our same-sex attractions and how these attractions collided with God’s Word. Our “feelings” seemed to override His clear truths. How could we cope in a world with such “feelings?” What were we to do? Today so many people, even in Christianity say; “Just be who you are.”
Multiple denominations and “believers” have decided that there’s nothing you can do about being “gay.” It’s beyond your control. Or is it? Did God take away our ability to choose somewhere along the way? Or have we become complacent and lazy about recognizing where temptation and choice intersect?
Praise God for His incredible patience, mercy and abundant grace. He lets us walk down any road we choose. He is not a God of force. When we will take the time and listen, He tenderly calls us. He doesn’t want a Christian routine. He wants intimacy. He wants our whole heart, not just a piece of it.
Who interrupted your journey?
Each of us came to a moment in our lives, where what we heard was the tender, pleading voice of Jesus calling on our hearts. We made choices to allow Jesus to be heard. And as we listened, we began to discover that Jesus offers something no one else on this earth can provide.
As we allow, He begins to reveal to us the habits and desires in our lives that don’t honor Him or bring Him glory. It’s really about Jesus. Praising Him, abiding in Him and surrendering to Him. The angels glorify Jesus as they live in His presence. This is His call on each of our hearts. To fall in love with Him and then to obey Him as a result of that love.
There are many today who are living in the routine of the Christian culture. But they haven’t experienced the personal, engaging, intimacy that Jesus desires with each of His precious children. He wants us to make time for Him in everything we do. Not just one day a week. He invites us to follow Him. It’s very real. Not an act. Not following rules, but genuinely experiencing Him and taking Him at His Word, rather than acting out in rebellious ways that challenge His divine ways.
I went down some very dark pathways. I still experience the scars of my poor decision making. But when I met Jesus one to one and caught a glimpse of that amazing, blood-shed love that He has for me, I can’t say “no” to Him. I want Him more than anything else in my life. And as I have walked in ministry with my colleagues today, even with all of our personal flaws, I still see how much they desire Jesus more than anything else.
How did the idea for this movie come about?
I was at my workplace in the public sector one day, almost three years ago. A close friend and sponsor of ‘Coming Out’ Ministries called me as a result of having read one of the many articles I have written. She was so excited, she could hardly catch her breath. She said; “Wayne Wayne… You need a film!” I said; “Yes I’ve been very aware of that for quite some time, but I don’t have what it takes to make that happen.” She went on to tell me of a friend she has who has makes films for a living. A young Christian man by the name of Danny Woods. She said she was going to put him in touch with my personal website at www.knowhislove.com.
A day or two later Danny contacted me and told me he had been to my website and that he agreed with all that he read, but that due to the nature of the film, he didn’t think that he could make the film and maintain his very public career. He also said his life had been difficult at times as he had been teased in his childhood about being gay, when indeed he was not. Yet his heart went out to others that he witnessed being teased and harassed due to their same-sex attractions.
He told me that he went to his wife and she said that they should pray about it. He went back to my website and then he called me and said; “I can’t not make this film.” All I remember is being in a fog about what was happening. I hadn’t really grasped the idea yet that a film was about to be made.
Who plays (participates) in the movie?
“Journey Interrupted” is made up of five people. Four of them are team members of ‘Coming Out’ Ministries: Michael Carducci, Ron Woolsey, Danielle Harrison and myself. These four individuals all lived in the gay culture for a number of years and then met Jesus and considered His ways over their own ways and what came natural. The fifth person in the film is Anna Deckert. Anna was raised in a Christian home. In her childhood she experienced sexual abuse from a male, concealing the abuse for many years. She grew up wanting to be a missionary. She is adamant that God’s Word is true. She shares that if she would choose to live differently than as lesbian, she would live in agreement with God. She’s just not there yet. Anna adds a compelling perspective that we don’t generally get to hear.
What is it like to minister alongside other faithful overcomers, like Ron, Mike and Danielle? Do you inspire each other?
Jesus designed us to be community to one another. It has been an incredible blessing to share our testimonies and teachings all around this world. What’s been missing from many church environments is this kind of “community.” But it’s not all lump summed in “haystacks” and church socials and potlucks. It’s about lifting each other up during our struggles and challenges for the healing that God promises us as we journey together with Him (James 5:16). Every single one of my colleagues are so very precious to me. Their walk with God constantly inspires me. God has been so gracious in providing us with revelations and inspirations that have greatly added to our identity in Christ today as “New Creatures.”
All four of us are uniquely different from each other. We’ve worn on each other’s nerves at times, worshiped in spiritual highs, and cried on each other’s shoulders in various challenges. But we expressly experience the joy we have in Jesus today in contrast to the lives we once lived. We have hope; we have promise and purpose. In short, we have Jesus! John 15:18 has been real at times.
How long did it take to make this film?
The film was in the making for just under two years. However, the editing process has been the most challenging. By the time the film premiers, we will almost be at three years since inception.
How did the resources for this movie come together?
Brian and Anne Savinsky, COM board members and close friends, had the idea for a film and put us in contact with Danny Woods. The Savinskys are the producers of Journey Interrupted and have also helped with marketing of the film.
Where will the movie be shown? How can people see it?
“Journey Interrupted” will premiere at 6 PM September 24th and 25th at The Village Church, just across the street from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, followed by a “Question and Answer” time, followed by a reception. The movie itself will be released on DVD prior to December!
What message do you hope that people take away from the movie?
Our primary message in this film is that it is only by personally experiencing love and intimacy with Jesus, that “change” takes place in any of our lives. That “change” has been presented in world-wide ‘Coming Out’ Ministries seminars over the last five years. It’s not the “change” of trying to make people “straight” that many of our detractors have accused us of. It’s about God’s plan for your life and recognizing that any change He brings always aligns with His Word. He won’t disappoint you.
“Journey Interrupted” is a can-opener to a long overdue and much needed-discussion about temptation, sin, attractions, self-denial and intimacy with Jesus Christ.
How has your ministry been received in America?
We have been well received in “truth abiding” environments. This is not a denominational message, but a faith message. Wherever there are those who seek God and study to live in agreement with Him, we have been richly welcomed and blessed to share Jesus.
We have encountered those who align themselves with an “itchy ear” message that seeks to reinterpret Scripture to accompany the flesh. This departure from the Word of God is very common throughout Christianity today. Every time we speak we hear people express how surprised they are that our testimonies and teachings are bathed in “love in truth.” Many express how they are not tempted with same-sex attraction, but clearly pick up the redemptive message as it relates to “practical Christianity.”
How has your ministry been received abroad?
We have traveled around the world and there are challenges abroad, just as there have been at home. A year ago, false accusations were made about ‘Coming Out’ Ministries by a group in London who accused us of "reparative and conversion therapy." We made news around the world even though we have never advocated for such therapies in person, or on our websites. We seek to help others encounter a heart conversion. Behavior modification doesn’t change the heart. But if God reaches your heart, your behavior will change. He has a plan for each of us that will always agree with His Word. Sex is not promised. It is a gift of intimacy between one man and one woman in marriage. But marriage is not promised to all either.
Our society has become obsessed with sex, and to contemplate life without it, seems to many, a death sentence. What are you willing to deny or sacrifice to spend eternity with the Giver of life itself?
[Don't miss Part 2 and the answer to this question "How has Coming Out Ministries been received in the Adventist church?"]