The leader of the world’s largest ‘ex-gay’ ministry has said he wishes to “start a conversation” with the gay people who have been hurt over the years, after admitting he has same-sex attractions, and announcing that he is closing down the organisation, earlier this week.

Exodus International called itself “the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality” – but announced this week that it is to shut down after 37 years.

Its leader, Alan Chambers, also announced that he experiences same-sex attractions, but said he was happy with his wife.

Now the 41-year-old has said that Christianity is evolving, and that “we’ve got to adapt to our culture that’s changing too. We’ve had a war mentality, and there are times when the church is a difficult place to be but there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. And to be here to start a conversation and listen to other stories.

“We like to put God and people in a neat and tidy box, so as long as your story is like that, you fit. But life is not like that,” he continued. “I’m married. I have children. I have same-sex attraction. But at the same time, I’m thrilled with my life and I’m thrilled with my wife.”

The adoptive father of two went on to say: “I feel tension – but I’m comfortable with that tension. My tension will serve the church. Hey, the church is here for all of us and I think there are amazing churches who are already helping people” within the LGBT community.

Last June he said homosexuality cannot be “cured” and that people can be damaged by therapy designed to turn them heterosexual. That announcement cost Exodus around a third of its partners.

The organisation, which expects to close its doors by the end of june will reinvent itself, beginning with the website reducefear.org.

Chambers went on to say that the reinvention was needed because the organisation had become “a lightning rod because we’re known as an organization that’s anti-gay… no matter what good we do, it would be overshadowed. We have to get past the opinion and actually just talk to each other.”