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Nick Roen

Nick Roen

Pastor for Worship & Education, South

Email | 612-746-2650 x650

I was blessed to grow up in a home with parents who loved Jesus and his word. My dad is a faithful pastor in the EFCA and has been for 35+ years. From a young age, my parents taught me about my sin and the forgiveness offered in Christ. When I was 7 years old, I remember praying with my parents for Jesus to forgive my sins and to “come into my heart.” I believe that I understood the gospel as well as I could as a 7-year-old, and that I was born again at that time.

When I was 14 years old, I attended a Christian summer camp for a week, and the speaker gave a powerful talk about what it looks like to follow Jesus. I remember the Spirit convicting me afresh of my sin and causing an urgency in me to want to live for Jesus. I also think that this was the beginning of his call on my life to ministry. I was discipled by my youth pastor through high school and college, and it was during my sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse, that I discovered the preaching of John Piper, reformed theology, the doctrines of grace, and Christian Hedonism. I listened to the Romans series over the next couple years up to where Pastor John was at that point, and I read The Pleasures of God, Desiring God, and Future Grace. This encounter with my pursuit of joy in God revolutionized my fight against sin.

A big part of my testimony (very briefly described here) has to do with my sexuality. For as long as I can remember, I have experienced exclusive same-sex attractions. I didn’t go looking for them, but I remember that from my earliest romantic and sexual stirrings in elementary school, they were directed toward my guy friends and not my girl friends. 

I never told anyone about these attractions. I grew up believing that I would be treated as a leper and cast out of my community if I was honest about my attractions. So I kept it all to myself.

I continued in this struggle on my own until after college, when the Lord used a teaching from John Piper to break down my walls and show me that I needed help in dealing with my secret shame and sin. So I began to be transparent with my family and friends, and I was met with amazing love and support from those whom God had put in my life. 

I began counseling in 2010 to try and work through the things that I was just now facing in an honest way for the first time. During that time, while the counseling was helpful in many ways, I began to become frustrated that although I was doing the work, my attractions were not changing. I was still attracted to guys and not girls. Then one day, the Lord met me and helped me to understand that my ultimate goal is not “heterosexuality” but holiness. He helped me to see that God doesn’t promise to remove our temptations or change the nature of our temptations, but instead he promises to continue to sanctify us and make us more like him. He will give me victory and help me to fight. He will help me mortify my flesh and find my joy in him. In short, sanctification for me looks exactly the same as it does for everyone else.

So that’s where I’m at today. I am still attracted to men, but by the grace of God and the power of his Spirit, I enjoy victory over lust, contentment in my gift of singleness, and greater and greater joy in Christ. He is sanctifying me in the power of his Spirit and helping me put to death the desires of the flesh by the desires of the Spirit (Galatians 5).

In serving as an elder, my desire is that my transparency will point others to Christ and help them feel safe and welcome to be open about their struggles. I have a burden to help the blood-bought family of Jesus to love God and each other in greater and greater ways, to teach faithfully the word of God, and to use my gifts to build up the body.

Additional Resources
Nick has written several articles for on same-sex attraction, including ... 

You can view the testimony Nick shared as a student in a Bethlehem College & Seminary chapel service.

Pastor Dave Zuleger wrote a Desiring God article sharing his perspective about someone with same-sex attractions serving in ministry.