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How God is Transforming the Church's Response to Abortion

Posted by Dr. Greg Austen on Nov 1, 2018, 5:00:00 AM

I have the privilege of leading a national ministry that’s intimately connected to the heart of God. In short, my job is to promote the use of a ministry tool called Making Life Disciples (MLD) that’s designed to equip a select group of individuals in a local church to offer compassion, hope, and help to women and men facing pregnancy decisions. We work hard every day to implement the vision of this resource in 1,000 churches by the end of 2020.

I want to give you a feel of what I’m starting to see God do nationally.

On February 1st I spoke at a pastor’s luncheon in Eustis, FL hosted by a pregnancy center director, Marcia Buterakos Marron. In August, I received this update from her:
“I am writing to let you know that we have successfully introduced Making Life Disciples to 38 pastors in our community! Of those 38, we have 8 that have taken the challenge to train a group of Life Disciples in their respective churches!In three weeks, I will visit the graduates of those classes to begin a stronger relationship with them so we can begin to introduce our clients to them for mentoring and discipleship.
The effort has taken almost a year; however, we believe we will begin to see the fruit of our labor and it will last a lifetime! We were caught in the web of trying to “be” the church [in its mission to make disciples], when we recognized the true calling for our center was to reach the abortion minded/abortion vulnerable…” [as domestic missionaries with a specialized focus].
As you can imagine, I was extremely heartened by these results and reminded of this wisdom: “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” (Eccl. 11:6, NIV)

The truth is, we don’t know the outcome of our efforts; however, we do know that as a general principle “success is when preparation meets opportunity.” On September 26th, I received a second note from Marcia that illustrates this adage. Additionally, it shows the role encouragement plays in keeping vision fresh and alive. Notice how Marcia, in meeting “with each class,” is very much like “Paul [who] went through the provinces of Syria and Cilicia and strengthened the churches” (Acts 15:41):

“I believe that I had mentioned to you at the [Care Net National] Conference that we had 3 churches that were graduating as soon as I returned. Upon their graduation, I went to meet with each class. Oh, they had so many questions! They of coursed wondered how soon it would be before they “got a girl”! Of course, I wondered the same thing!I cannot believe it myself, but as I am writing this, we have “the girl” right now across from my office meeting with a Life Disciple (We are calling them ‘Life Coaches’…)
This young woman… had an appointment for an abortion scheduled for next week, when she first came to us. During that appointment, she told our R.N. that she literally had nobody to help her during this difficult time. Marla, our R.N., knew immediately that we did have someone who could come alongside her! The call was made and they have connected! The abortion appointment has been cancelled, however, as we know a baby is not safe until it is born! Please feel free to share this to encourage others!
MLD works! We are watching it right now! And by the way, there is laughter coming from the room across the hall!”
The ministry I’ve been called to—ministry to the abortion-vulnerable—is very challenging: it is private and hidden; further, it has been politicized and disconnected from the gospel, discipleship, and grace. If things are going to change, the church must lead.

I know you too have difficulties related to what God has called you to; that is, what he’s placed in your path (Prov. 16:9). That’s why, while we all wait on him to do what only he can, we need the patience and perseverance of a seasoned farmer (2 Tim. 2:1-6). As the late A.W. Pink has well said:

“A lot of our so-called Christian work today reminds me of little children when they first witness father or mother doing some gardening. The ground is prepared and then the seed is sown, and every day the child goes into the garden and he looks around to see if the seed is beginning to sprout, and if it doesn’t show any signs and he wants to make sure that the seed is beginning to sprout, she just scratches around amongst the soil. She wants to SEE something. My friends, that is what a lot of us are doing… O we have so little confidence in the divine ‘seed’ to bring about the harvest that God has ordained it shall do.”[1]

May God give us all more confidence in his sovereign grace, and may the account above refresh your spirit and strengthen your faith!

[1] Iain Murray, The Life of Arthur W. Pink (Banner of Truth) 46. “He” has been changed to “she” in two places to go with the picture.

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