An evangelical group has spent 5 years planning an infiltration of Twin Cities Pride to “save” LGBT people from “the lifestyle.” Their mission includes a plan to set up safe houses to help LGBT people become “ex-gay” and convert to Christianity.
Humility 2014 is a plan, 5 years in the making.
Devout Christians have been training at a “Messenger Boot Camp” at Way of the Lord Church in Blaine, just north of Minneapolis to learn how to reach LGBT people and move them out of the“lifestyle” and to recognize the “demons” and “generational sin” that causes homosexuality.
The group behind the plan, Trinity Works, has been scoping out LGBT bars and clubs, as well as Twin Cities Pride, for the past 5 years, learning what makes LGBT people tick, and developing a 20-page report on how to reach LGBT people and convert them. The group even plans to rent out the Gay 90s during Twin Cities Pride in hopes of using it as an evangelism tool.
Twin Cities Pride has long been a target of Christians who want to preach about sin and damnation. Trinity Works aims to embark on a more nuanced plan to befriend Pride attendees, convince them to accept Trinity Works’ brand of Christianity, leave their partners, families, and friends in favor of evangelical safe houses — and become “former homosexuals.”
The idea came to Steven Uggen, the founder of TrinityWorks, in a vision from God.
“My journey into the heart of God around the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community started about 5 years ago,” Uggen told a group of worshipers at Bethany Church in late April.
“I was in Northern Minnesota. We were getting ready for an outreach we did called Big Camp which was kind of like a suped-up, just, encounter time out in the middle of the woods with the Lord.”
I’m out in the woods, and I’m seeking the Lord and all the sudden I get this vision of being in this gay nightclub in downtown Minneapolis and walk into the nightclub in this vision and I’m with a team of people and I walk into the front and the deejay is playing, the music’s booming — I mean it’s a club atmosphere and I knew this nightclub because I’d been there before I knew Jesus and I turned to the deejay and I said I have a message that I need to share from God and he looked at me a little bit funny and he handed me the microphone. I thought, ‘that’s unusual’ and i preached the gospel in this club and I said anybody who wants a better way a different way, a way to really know real love come outside I want to share with you what that might look like and I went outside with this team and two groups of people came out of the club. One was really angry and they were yelling and screaming, and then there was a another group that was weeping and saying we want this jesus that you are talking about.
Listen to the full sermon [at the bottom of this article].
That nightclub, he said, was the Gay 90s.
Trinity Works, was founded by Uggen, and “is a mission organization that has been established to mobilize the Church to live a lifestyle of intimacy with God and evangelism. We live in the marriage of the Great Commandments and the Great Commission. Our mandate is to raise up messengers that are rooted and grounded in love and proclaim and demonstrate the gospel message.”
Uggen himself is ‘saved.’ “About 12 years ago, I got radically saved,” he said in an April sermon. “I was a corporate finance attorney living and working in Minneapolis and I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit he introduced me to Jesus and the Father and so now I’m a recovering lawyer. And I work for the King of Kings.”
Before he was saved, however, Uggen says he knew the Gay 90s. “I knew that club. I wasn’t in the gay lifestyle, but there was one night I was at this club before I knew Christ and I had been drinking a lot and I ended up taking these two men home, Asian men who were dressed as women.”
He told his students at a training in early May about his past indiscretions. “We are all born that way. We are all born in sin. This has nothing to do with homosexuality. We’re all born this way. The only difference is that I’ve realized that I need Jesus and I’ve invited him into my life and he‘s begun to change me. I mean I have testimony of coming out sexual brokenness. I slept with men, women, everything and God came and he set me free. That’s a powerful testimony to bring.”
Among the tactics the group plans to use is to convert LGBT people from the “lifestyle” and have those converts find more LGBT people to turn “ex-gay.”
In an audio sermon from 2012, Uggen related the urgency to convert members of the LGBT community:
“Minneapolis has a huge gay and lesbian population. It just surpassed San Francisco! Just surpassed San Francisco! Beloved wake up! The kings of this Earth are raising up their armies also so we need to go because there’s a lot of gays and lesbians that are waiting to get born again, set on fire and become burning prophets and messengers to that community.”
According to the group’s handbook, they plan on “having messenger teams moving throughout pride witnessing and handing out gospel materials in spirit of love, truth and humility. specifically seeking the conversion of the ‘men of peace’ who will become the ultimate messengers into the homosexual community.” (Editor’s note: capitalization errors are Trinity Works’)
The group also plans to hand out a CD “with powerful testimonies of men and women who have been delivered out of this lifestyle.”
Once the Trinity Works students have convinced a member of the LGBT community to “leave the lifestyle,” the ministry has set up a network of “safe houses.”
A brochure from the Humility 2014 outreach explains that process. “When people make the decision for forsake the GLBT lifestyle and surrender to the Lord they made need a safe place to live where healthy family is modeled and they can be in community with born again believers. If you have an extra bedroom and would consider providing short and long term housing for new believers please let us know.”
Uggen told the congregation at Bethany Church in late April to open their homes to the members of the LGBT community that Trinity Works was able to convince to leave their friends, partners, and families. “Many of these that are in this lifestyle have experienced brokenness in their families and we believe the lord wants to bring them back into families to release healings. So if you have an extra bedroom in your home and you’d be open to hosting someone who is coming out of that lifestyle — a lot of times when they make a decision to come out of the lifestyle, it’s like a radical Muslim telling, you know, telling their parents, ‘I’m leaving Islam.’ I mean there’s a very high cost of exiting that lifestyle. All their support system is rooted in that lifestyle. We want to have homes that are open to taking these lost ones in so they can be restored and recovered.”
The group has teamed up with Outpost Ministries, one of the last remaining “ex-gay” groups in Minnesota. The group’s Youth and College Age Director Nate Oyloe spoke at Bethany Church alongside Uggen in late April. Outpost has been promoting Trinity Works heavily.
And Trinity Works is promoting a series of videos of people who say they are no longer LGBT.
Over the last few years, TrinityWorks has been attending LGBT events and doing “recon.” The 2012 efforts were called Love Minneapolis (rainbow remix).
“In the last month we have sensed God encouraging us to move forward with a bold plan to have a worship and prayer night at a well known gay nightclub early this summer,” the group wrote in an email in April 2012. “We will also be doing recon at the Pride Festival (this year on June 23rd and 24th) in preparation for a major outreach next year.”
In a “mission briefing” dated April 2012, the group laid out its plan for LGBT Pride, and that God continues to tell them that infiltrating LGBT spaces is in his plan.
“This Spring we have been taking 75 messengers through an intense training called messenger boot camp. As we have been praying about their final outreach we have felt the Lord bringing up this vision again. We took this before the Lord and felt the Holy Spirit confirm God’s desire that we begin to reach out to the homosexual community with the gospel. That same week we had an email come in from a woman who is a devout believer but whose son has been overtaken by the homosexual lifestyle. This mother was searching for someone who would go out witnessing with her in front of the Gay 90s. We took this as a powerful confirmation of the Lord to move forward.”
It seems that Uggen and Trinity Works are fixated on the Gay 90s, including plan to rent it out and turn it into a church.
“we would like to rent out the Gay 90s a week before the pride festival on Friday, June 15th. that entire day we would have messengers on the streets of downtown that promoting the worship night and cd release party during the evening. that night we would have an evening of worship, repentance (for the sins of the church against the homosexual community), testimonies and intercession.” (Editor’s note: capitalization errors are Trinity Works’)
Another mission report told of outreach at LGBT bars in St. Paul and again at the Gay 90s.
“Greg Witt and I went into the bars that night. We started at Townhouse Bar (which is a gay bar) on University. We were looking for someone specific but ended up talking with Jen who grew up in a Christian home and had given her life to Jesus when she was 18 but was now in a lesbian relationship and thought her family was judgmental. Jen is in deception. Please pray that God will bring Jen into a revelation of her sin so she can turn to the Lord and be healed and delivered.”
That report also mentioned a trip to the Gay 90s were they “had an encounter with Sean and Dominick”: “They both work at the Gay 90s (awesome). Dominick had cancer and just had a stint put in his head… I told him I wasn’t going to pray to Mary but to Jesus to ask Him to heal Dominick. He said he was fine with that. As soon as I started to pray Holy Spirit came in power on Dominick… Praise God from whom all blessings flow. (God willing many of us will be visiting the Gay 90s to minister to new converts and maybe even start a church there)”
Though that plan to rent out the Gay 90s clearly did not pan out in 2012, but it’s one the group continues to discuss for 2014.
During the group’s Messenger Boot Camp in early May, Uggen told the students, “We want to get witnesses in the spirit about what the spirit is saying and obviously the more dangerous potentially it is the more we really want to make sure it’s Jesus. Amen! I mean when we go to rent out the Gay 90s, we need to know that God is actually sending us.”
(The Gay 90s appears unaware of the plan and is already engaged in planning for Pride activities, including a Pride pub crawl. There is no indication that Trinity Works has actually approached the Gay 90s about renting that establishment during Pride)
The plan to convert members of the LGBT community also includes “recon.”
“this year we would like to set up an operations center somewhere in downtown Minneapolis and recon the pride festival,” one Trinity Works document from 2012 reads. “our goal would not be to engage in witnessing but to establish worship and prayer over the event and send out recon teams to listen to God’s heart and ask Him to reveal strategies to reach this community. the goal of this recon is to build a battle plan for engaging the pride festival with the Kingdom of God.” (Editor’s note: capitalization errors are Trinity Works’)
In a sermon at Bethany Church, Uggen explained the idea behind the recon missions which came out of a series of prayer meetings. “We felt out of these prayer meetings that we were supposed to go and just listen and watch you know not to evangelize but just to go and listen and watch. and take a posture of humility and just say god… would you show us how are we supposed to partner with you to reach this community and so we set up three different recon events… a Friday night, a Saturday and a Sunday.”
On Friday night of Twin Cities Pride in 2013, they were supposed to go into the LGBT bars, but some questioned whether that was the right thing to do.
“Do we really need to go into the nightclubs to really catch God’s heart for this?” Uggen recalled. “We had a number of conversations internally as a team.” After a conversation with a fellow pastor, Uggen said he felt the Holy Spirit when he envisioned his own children in a gay bar.
In a vision, Uggen said, “I saw my own son in the nightclub and I heard the spirit of God say, ‘My children are in there.’ I said, ‘That settles it. We are going to go in the clubs.’” The team also did recon at the Pride Festival and the Pride Parade.
Uggen continued, “Out of these three events the Lord began to give us a lot of different strategies to reach this community. In fact, we have a 20-page report about what God had to say to us as a church… If you want to hear what God’s heart is for this community to check out that report. After the recon, I felt God was calling us to to a city-wide outreach to the gay pride, after we had done the recon event which was basically about scouting the land.”
(TheColu.mn has requested that report as well as further details about Humility 2014, but Trinity Works hasn’t responded to that request.)
Uggen put that report into practice at his Messenger Boot Camp, an intensive training on how to convert people, especially members of the LGBT community.
Messenger boot camp
The Messenger Boot Camp teaches evangelicals the tools of “radical Christianity.” Believers learn how to “get free from demonic strongholds” which is how Uggen views the LGBT community. The recruits learn how to do “healing” even hoping that Trinity Works can see “someone to go get healed of HIV or AIDS down at the LGBT community,” as Uggen said during one of the boot camp courses. The group engages in “spiritual warfare” and “tactical deliverance” all concepts Messenger Boot Camp attendees learn about.
The boot camp runs from the beginning of April to early-June at Way of the Lord Church, a non-denominational church in Blaine, in the northern Twin Cities suburbs.
In order for budding evangelicals to graduate from TrinityWorks’ Messenger Boot Camp, they have to complete the outreach at Twin cities Pride
The handbook for Messenger Boot Camp describes that “graduation project”:
“HUMILITY 2014 (Spring) the graduation project for the Spring Messenger Boot Camp will be an outreach to the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender (GLBT) community during the Gay Pride event in Minneapolis.”
Uggen used his group’s recon information at the boot camp.
“We are,” Uggen said, “learning how to reach this people group in the midst of their environment, you know the Pride Festival where it’s all about celebrating and elevating this lifestyle and not about challenging it with truth and love. I think its important that we understand some of the causes of homosexuality and how does the enemy get in-roads to their hearts to bring them to a place where they are given over to that lifestyle.”
Uggen said he’d learned a lot about why LGBT people are “same-sex attracted.” He pointed to generational sin: “This is a real explanation for early childhood homosexual desires, same-sex desires. For example if the parents or the grandparents get divorced, commit adultery, watch internet porn, the enemy [Satan] gets to decide if he is going to afflict your children with same-sex attraction.”
Uggen also blamed the same factors that the “ex-gay” movement often brings up: childhood sexual abuse or poor relationships with a parents,
He also said bullying can cause someone to become LGBT. “Trying to say your different, you’re weird, you know, your gay, you’re a lesbian, you’re a dyke. They begin to literally prophesy over them and that person begins to accept those labels over themselves and come into agreement with the enemy’s lies.”
And heterosexuals who have a relationship fail can become homosexual. “Rejection by opposite sex partners whether a girlfriend that you were in a deep relationship with or even a spouse. We’ve come across numerous stories of people who were married and then when their spouse left them for another person the severity of the rejection actually caused them to go off and experiment in the same-sex community.”
And experimentation with the “lifestyle” is how demons invade. “When you open yourself up to homosexual sex, you are actually opening the door to demonic spirits to come and strengthen that identity. So, you can start off as experimentation — in fact, often times, it does and then it leads into full blown gender identity. I’m gay. I’m same-sex attracted. Because now you have demons on the inside telling you that what you are.”
Trinity Works’ boot camp trains its students to learn about weak points in a LGBT person’s life, be it family, rejection by a church, or bullying by a peer group, and use that to convert them.
For example, those who have left religion because of the way it treats LGBT people:
“They’ve been shamed or condemned. ‘God doesn’t like me. God doesn’t love me. Therefore its easier if I just reject everything that Christianity is all about because I’ve been wounded by people who say they love Jesus or are religious Christians.’ We don’t’ really know so that’s a real issue. There’s tons of prodigals who grew up in the church. You are going to be amazed. I’d say 30-40 percent have some sort of church background so the seeds of the gospel are there. They just need to be watered. They just need to be watered with love and with grace.”
Sometimes that weakness is a health issue:
“When they’ve got HIV or AIDS and the living God comes and heals them, guess what? They have a radical — they’re being called to define the relationship moment with the living God: ‘You can’t avoid me anymore.’ And we have a rhema word [voice of the Holy Spirit] over this outreach. God wants to heal people of HIV and AIDS. I’ve got so much faith I can’t stand it. I can’t wait to pray. I can’t wait to pray for people because I know God’s going to heal HIV and AIDS, the very fruit of this lifestyle. He wants to heal to show them his goodness and bring them to repentance.”
The boot camp has drawn about 75 people this spring and Trinity Works has been holding it for several years. “We are convinced that thousands will be trained and released into the harvest here in the Twin Cities and the nations through this training,” read an “end of season report” late last year.
The trainees all post videos about their experiences with Messenger Boot Camp, some of them “ex-gays” but mostly young Christians looking to convert:
Trinity Works’ plan for the three days of Twin Cities Pride includes a lot of prayer.
“Are you willing to be a strategic intercessor for this outreach?” Uggen said during his sermon at Bethany Church. “We need prayer, serious prayer over this effort. We are dealing with some of the strongest strongholds in our city and our culture… When the outreach itself happens — that’s June 26-29th — we’ll send out prayer points and reports from the front line every 4 to 6 hours with testimony just engaging your heart about what’s happening on the ground. The second is on site worship and prayer we’re going to have a ‘firebase,’ a night and day worship and prayer center at First Baptist Church in downtown. We really want to encourage you if you are a worship leader to come down on location and be there where continuous worship and prayer are going to go on during the Pride event.”
First Baptist Church is on the corner of Hennepin Avenue and 10th Street, a very popular viewing point on the Pride Parade route.
Uggen is convinced his group will be able to bring LGBT people to Jesus.
“I have a feeling we are going to see some people encounter Jesus,” he told his assembled students in May. “How many people believe God is going to speak when you pray that over somebody?” the crowd shouted “Amen!”
“Oh! [God] can’t wait. He’s so excited about Pride.”
(Colu.mn Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that Trinity Works has not rented the Gay 90s for Twin Cities Pride, but instead has indicated that renting it part of its outreach plan.)