This is a guest post by Marcia Buterakos Marron, Executive Director for Life's Choices Women's Clinic in Eustis, Florida. It is the second in a two-part series on Marcia’s experience finding and implementing Making Life Disciples in her Center. Read the first part here.
In 2017, I realized my center had suffered mission drift. We were serving more and more parents while the number of abortion-vulnerable and abortion-minded clients we saw continued to drop.
With the board’s full support, we implemented Making Life Disciples, and it has transformed our center ministry. Our abortion-minded clients are our focus now and their numbers have increased drastically. In the last year, with conversion to a clinic model, we performed 325 pregnancy tests, along with 216 ultrasounds. Of the tests performed 270 were positive and 252 were abortion vulnerable/minded. Of those, 164 babies were saved from abortion.
We have also had the opportunity to connect numerous clients with Life Coaches - our term for local church members who complete Making Life Disciples training and indicate interest in mentoring/discipling our clients.
While each center’s practices are slightly different, I wanted to outline the system we’ve found that works best for connecting interested clients with a Life Coach.
At the end of each client’s appointment, during the phase when we help them develop an ongoing care plan, the client advocate asks if the client would like to be connected with a Life Coach - a person in the community who has been trained to “walk” with her through life - to offer a listening ear, support, etc. Our client advocates make sure the client knows these Life Coaches are not part of the center, but are simply community members who care about the clients.
If the client says yes, we present her with a consent form to list whether she has a denominational preference (currently we work with Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Pentecostal churches) and to affirm she gives consent to be contacted by a Life Coach. Part of the consent form is also acknowledging her understanding that the Life Coaches are not center personnel.
Once a client signs the consent form, I reach out to the church to find out if any of their Life Coaches are free to meet at a certain time that works for the client. For the first few visits, we let the Life Coach and the client meet in a room in our center since the client is already comfortable here. After that, they can choose to meet elsewhere.
We try our best to have a Life Coach contact a client on the same day they initially request a Life Coach, to ensure the most connections possible are made. However the Life Coaches also have their own personal lives, so it’s important to be considerate of that too. Life Coaches know it’s important to spend a few meetings getting to know the clients before inviting them to attend church.
We’ve been able to make some incredible connections through MLD. One client who is a new believer told us she didn’t feel she had anybody, until she met with her Life Coach.
I am so excited to see how God continues to work through the partnership between our center and our local churches. He has faithfully led us this far, and I know He will continue to lead us in the future.
To find out more about Making Life Disciples, and how to introduce it to your local churches, click here.