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At the Rural Center: Become an Asset in Your Local Church Community

October 2003
By: Dinah Monahan
This column is dedicated to smaller centers and will offer insight and ideas that work in a rural setting.

In small towns, churches should be the backbone of support for their local pregnancy care center, but the nature of a small town can make it easier or more difficult for rural churches to fill that role. On the positive side, the pastor of a rural church is more accessible, and the director's path will cross his more often. On the flip side, churches in small towns have limited resources for supporting worthy causes. So pregnancy centers must be careful not to create the appearance that they are always holding their hands out.

In an effort to counter this impression, our center brainstormed for ideas about what we could do for our churches. We assigned a staff member to call a church each week and ask the pastor how we could pray specifically for his church. Our staffer explains that we will pray for the church's needs at our weekly staff meeting and throughout the week. After the weekly staff meeting, we send the pastor a card telling him that we prayed. We make sure to include the specifics of our prayer and thank him for his support for our ministry.

When we first call, the pastor's surprise is as evident as his gratitude. This small gesture on our part has done a great deal to strengthen our relationships with our local pastors and churches.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dinah Monahan is the Heartbeat International Consultant for Rural and Small Centers and the founder and Executive Director of Women's Choice Pregnancy Clinic and Hope House Maternity Home.

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