I was interview by Glynis Ratcliffe for an article in Broadview magazine:
When Aaron Bailey, 43, a gay entrepreneur, discovered Highlands Church in Denver, he says it profoundly changed his life. Highlands is progressive with a worship style rooted in evangelical traditions. “The ability to worship along- side young and old, gay and straight, lesbian families, trans individuals, and to be completely accepted for who I was…it was remarkable,” he says.
Bailey wasn’t alone in his recognition of the unique house of worship. As he volunteered more for Highlands, he would take phone calls from people asking where they could find a similar church in their own city. “I started noticing that what I had at Highlands in Denver, Colo., wasn’t possible for my LGBTQ siblings in Omaha, [Neb.], or Michigan or Atlanta.”
After successfully selling his first business, Bailey realized he had the background that could help fix this problem, and soon developed Launchpad — a non-profit organization that helps plant LGBTQ2-affirming churches in the United States. “There’s a lot of interest out there in starting churches,” he says of Launchpad’s mentoring program, “but very few people know how to go about doing that, or they don’t know they have the permission to do that.”
The organization, which formed in 2019, is still in its infancy, but Bailey says they are working with about a dozen would-be churches in various capacities, and another couple of dozen groups are considering the idea of planting a church with their help. “We’re working with all sorts of churches and faith communities,” Bailey wrote in a text, “from post-evangelical churches to some mainline churches and purely online communities.”