Struggling to know how to address abortion, many pastors decide to ignore it altogether. Yet getting engaged is not as difficult as one might think.
I personally know many pastors who have distanced themselves from the pro-life issue. Struggling to know how to address the issue, they decide to ignore it altogether. Yet getting engaged is often not as difficult as many pastors might think. A great first step is to reach out to your local pregnancy center and initiate a relationship. I guarantee pastors will be encouraged by the great faith of the women and men that serve at these centers. So here are five things pastors should know about pregnancy centers:
- The Local Care Net Affiliate and Your Church Share A Strategic Mission:
An often overlooked mission field that is ripe for harvest is found at your local pregnancy center (PC). Many pastors pray earnestly for God to seek and save the lost in their communities, yet overlook this strategic missional opportunity. Consider this statistic: since 2008 over 1.8 million people heard the Gospel in a Care Net pregnancy center. Jesus said the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. Who wouldn’t want to be part of the great and glorious work of sharing the Gospel and providing ongoing discipleship to those choosing life, which is, after all, the work of the church?
- Your Church Needs to Think Bigger
Think more than money. When you think of “helping” at a pregnancy center, think beyond a baby bottle or diaper drive. PCs need graphic designers, photographers, and IT specialists. They need administrators and interior designers to assist with creative concepts within their centers. Do you have a gifted worship team? Host a night of worship and prayer where you pray specifically for the issue of life and your local center. Are you an influential leader in your community? Consider networking and building connections on your local center’s behalf. While traditional methods of partnership are good and needed, there is another level of partnership with the local church that can maximize the impact that these pregnancy centers are having in your community.
- Pregnancy Centers Need the Church.
Every parachurch ministry is birthed from the Word. PCs almost always exist because of a conviction from the Word of God that every life begins at conception, is worthy of protection, is created in the image of God and deserves a right to life. I have traveled the country and met with directors of PCs and a resounding refrain has been a desire for more pastors to boldly preach and teach the truth of the Word as it pertains to the issue of life and abortion. And for those who think directors of PRCs are single issue Christians, I would point you to the words of very influential pastors who would affirm the need for powerful gospel preaching on the issue of abortion (Check out: voxproject.org/watch). When the conscience of your community is awakened by the Word, there is no telling what powerful Gospel impact your congregation can make. Preach the truth with grace and radical compassion and call your people to engage on this vitally important issue.
- Only Christ’s Church Can Turn the Tide of Abortion in Our Nation
There are approximately 2,500 pregnancy centers nationally and 350,000 churches. The largest player in the pro-life movement is you and the congregation of your church. Currently, PCs are doing the hard work of saving lives on the front lines, but if we are ever going to see an end to abortion, it will happen when the church awakens to her calling to stand for justice and the glory of God for every single life. PCs are limited in their abilities due to sheer numbers. What might happen if the church awoke and began doing the heavy lifting of caring for those new mothers and fathers? What might it look like if the church saw the issue of unwanted pregnancies as an issue of discipleship and evangelism, instead of social services? If you are interested in implementing a new pro-life ministry in your church, Care Net has developed a first-of-its-kind church curriculum that facilitates training lay persons in the church to respond to those facing an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy in your church and community. (Check out: https://www.care-net.org/about-the-church-initiative).
- The Church Must Learn the Truth About Pregnancy Centers
Do you know the director of your local pregnancy center? They would love to meet you! Take the initiative to go and meet the staff of your local PC. Go and take a tour and familiarize yourself with the ministry. Have your church staff and lay leaders bring lunch one day, or offer to pray regularly for the ministry. Move beyond an email and become a real person and a real friend to your local PC. To find your local PC go to: https://www.care-net.org/find-a-pregnancy-center
Despite the longstanding work of pregnancy centers in thousands of communities across North America, there is a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding about what pregnancy centers actually do. Unfortunately, much of the information the public sees about pregnancy centers is produced by entities whose very goal is to misinform the public about them.
So check out Care Net’s report, “The Truth About Crisis Pregnancy Centers”, that provides factual information, understanding, and context. Be equipped to share these truths with those in your sphere of influence so that they can be fully informed about the types of services and support pregnancy centers provide and can then decide how to best support them as they stand for life.
Mark serves as the Pastoral Consultant for Making Life Disciples. In 2014, he founded the Vox Project. Mark was a church planter in the Washington DC area, and served as a pastor in various roles for over ten years, before moving to Louisville, KY. Mark and his wife Jaime are members of Sojourn Community Church. http://www.voxproject.