This article was written by Bruce Trice. Bruce and Janice Trice have served on the board of Caring Hearts Pregnancy Center in North Little Rock, Bruce for seven years and Janice for three. Bruce spent two years as Development Director for Caring Hearts. The couple have been married for 34 years and have five adult children, three sons in law, and five grandchildren. Part of the process of healing included sharing their story with their own children, and today they are a family of staunch and vocal pro-life advocates who have worked to expose the horrible nature of abortion and its after effects.
1. Awareness in each congregation of the pregnancy center(s) in their area. Does the staff and/or church know the director of their local pregnancy center? Do they know the work of the pregnancy care center? Unfortunately, much of the information the public sees about pregnancy care centers is produced by entities whose very goal is to misinform and confuse the public about them.
Take the initiative to go and meet the staff of your local pregnancy center. 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 pregnancy center.
2. For each pastor to be unabashed in speaking about abortion from the pulpit. And not just once a year. This needs to be an ongoing conversation from both proactive and reactive standpoints. Nearly one in four women in the United States (23.7%) will have an abortion by age 45, according to analysis by Guttmacher Institute researchers Rachel Jones and Jenna Jerman, published in the American Journal of Public Health. By age 20, 4.6% of women will have had an abortion, and 19% will have done so by age 30.
Also, according to a study done by Lifeway Research, a total of 43% of women who have had an abortion were attending a Christian church once a month or more at the time of one of their abortions. So, it may be fair to say that the likelihood that we all know someone who has directly or indirectly been touched by abortion is very high.
Be sure to affirm the Gospel while preaching against the issue of abortion. 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. Make your church an equally safe place for ALL sinners. There are people in your midst who have been involved in, or have been affected by, an abortion.
3. Each congregation should share a strategic mission with their local pregnancy center. Find out if your local pregnancy care center is sharing the Gospel with their clients. If not, ask why and explain the need. If so, ask how you can step in and help.
4. Think more than money. Baby bottle and diaper drives are critical, but pregnancy centers also need talented people in various areas such as 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.
5. Pregnancy care centers need God’s church to help turn the tide of abortion in our nation. There are approximately 2,500 pregnancy centers nationally and 350,000 churches. The largest players in the pro-life movement are you and the congregation of your church. Currently, pregnancy care centers are doing the hard work of saving lives on the front lines. 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.
Pregnancy centers are limited in their abilities due to sheer numbers. What might happen if the church awakened 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? Generally speaking, where you see an abortion minded woman, there is hurt and distrust which prompts her thoughts and behavior.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Arkansas Baptists give financially to support several pregnancy care centers in the state through your gifts to the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering. Many of the people who serve at these centers have been personally impacted by abortion. As part of our Sanctity of Human Life emphasis, in this week’s eMagazine we will feature their personal stories of hope and healing and share some practical ways that you can get involved in this life-changing ministry.
For part one of this article, click here.