How this Pastor Walked with a Man Struggling with Gender Dysphoria


John Harding

“That’s the adventure of life with God,” said Pastor Jeff Farrar, “He’s forever walking us into things we are completely unqualified to master.”

Pastor Jeff was accustomed to struggling people; helping them was very much part of his everyday life. But this was a different challenge: a man who had changed his name to Laura.

The man’s true name was Walt Heyer. His broken past had led him to make the life-altering decision to undergo what the doctors called sex-reassignment surgery. But the surgery didn’t “fix” everything as he had hoped. Eventually, he came to the horrifying conclusion that he had made a huge mistake.

How does a pastor minister to someone like Walt? Certainly there is no proven formula, but we should be greatly encouraged by Pastor Jeff’s willingness to engage when Walt was searching so intently for Truth. His reliance on Scripture and the practical wisdom of his peers were the solid foundation that informed his relationship with Walt.

Jeff and Walt recount their story in three short videos. Watch and learn how Jeff became a friend, counselor, and advisor to Walt through his struggles with gender dysphoria—and how Walt found peace with himself at last.

Walt Heyer’s story is a story of redemption. After identifying as a woman for nearly 8 years, the friendship and Christian witness of Pastor Jeff and leaders at his church helped him to regain his life.

Pastor Jeff’s heart for ministering to broken people reflects so many pastors’ hearts in America today. Even in the midst of difficult and uncharted territory, he sought to bring clarity and healing to a friend in need.

As we celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month this October, we remember the pastors who have had positive impacts on our lives. Pastor Jeff certainly had an important impact on Walt.

And now, Walt is having an impact on others. Walt and his wife minister to people who experience gender dysphoria. The ministry is an overflow of the love he received from his pastor more than 25 years ago.

In a culture that regularly affirms falsehoods about what it means to be human, this story shows us the truth about how God transforms people for His glory. And it shows us how God can use pastors like Pastor Jeff to bring about healing.

From all of us at Alliance Defending Freedom—thank you to the pastors who engage in the messiness of ministry, and remind us of the Truth of the Gospel. A special thanks to Walt Heyer and Pastor Jeff Farrar for their willingness to share this story with the world.


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