(RNS) — Adam Evers created the app he’d been longing for. As a gay Christian, he felt caught between two worlds.
In LGBTQ spaces, his faith was often an obstacle, because so many in the community have been hurt by churches that believe same-sex relationships contradict Scripture.
In Christian spaces, on the other hand, he has been excluded because of many of those beliefs. In college, he said he was removed from membership at John Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis because of his sexuality.
These experiences can lead LGBTQ Christians to feel “either too gay for Christian spaces or too Christian for gay spaces or queer spaces,” Evers told Religion News Service. “I really felt that in my body and who I am.”
So on Thursday (June 3), Evers launched believr, an app that aims to facilitate “belonging, connection and love” for LGBTQ Christians, according to its website.
“We’re like the home for LGBTQ+ Christians,” he said.
Evers first had the idea for the app while attending a conference organizied by Q Christian Fellowship, a ministry serving LGBTQ Christians and allies. He was surprised to learn there was no app to connect with all the LGBTQ Christians around him and began working on believr with co-founder Brandon Flanery about two years ago.
It started out as a dating app — “I was like, ‘I need an app to find a husband. I’m building an app to find a husband,’” Evers said — but it transformed into a broader community as its earliest supporters gathered for weekly meetups on Zoom throughout the past pandemic year.
Believr still offers what it calls “values-based matching,” allowing users to choose the five values most important to them from a research-based list of 72. The app then uses those values to match users with potential partners.
It also features community spaces, reminiscent of AOL Instant Messenger, which was popular in the late 1990s and 2000s. Users can connect around different topics such as faith, where they live or how they identify.
The app also offers a paid membership, called spectrum, with additional features.
“At the end of the day, believr’s about connection, and whatever connection means to you — if that means friendship, that means romantic relationship, that means something else, great. But ultimately we want to connect people together,” Evers said.
Evers said he knows there’s a need for the app. He noted a 2020 study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law that found that nearly half of all LGBTQ adults in the United States identify as religious. More than 4.1 million of those adults report belonging to a Christian faith.
“I believe the LGBTQ+ Christian space is much bigger than people realize or think,” Evers said.
“It’s much bigger than myself. There’s a community, and there’s a need.”