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AT THE RURAL CENTER: Mission Creep

January 2008
By: Dinah Monahan
"Mission Creep." No, it's not a creep on a mission! It is the term that is being used to convince centers that we should do nothing but pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. Mission creep is a gradual process in which a mission's objectives change over time and reach too far, like creeping ivy in a backyard. In other words, we are creeping from our original mission by having Earn While You Learn, post-abortion ministries, fatherhood programs, etc. If I were the director of a center next to an abortion clinic in the city, I would agree that pregnancy tests and ultrasounds would be a main mission, and I probably would not have the other services. However, in rural areas this is certainly not the case.



When we started our center ten years ago, it was our dream to touch the lives of the young women we served both for eternity and for posterity. We needed a way to share the Gospel in the context of relationships. We wanted a way to help them work through their pain and problems and learn better parenting skills. As we grew, both in client numbers and support, we developed Earn While You Learn and implemented post-abortion counseling, life trauma counseling, a fatherhood program, adoption assistance, a maternity home, and other programs that allowed us to do just that. We saw amazing things happen. First, our pregnancy test numbers increased dramatically, which means that we now see many more abortion vulnerable clients. Second, our client numbers overall increased more than ten fold. Third, we saw lives impacted in dramatic ways from decisions for Christ to the reversal of generational abuse and neglect. We felt that finally we were fulfilling our mission, and it felt good!

Now I watch in dismay as center after center dismantles all of these wonderful programs because they have been told they have "mission creep." However, is it a creep from something good or an expansion to something better? I was there when crisis pregnancy centers started under the Christian Action Council. They were very unsophisticated by today's standards, offering only pregnancy tests. As time went on, centers evolved into an amazing source of education and relationships for young women who are hungry for something meaningful and real. Centers today are a place where young women, living in a crazy, postmodern world can find straight answers from women who genuinely care about them. Our secular counterparts shoot them up with Depo Provera and hand them condoms or pills-offering them "protection" from pregnancy but not from broken hearts and devastating consequences. Pregnancy care centers are the only other voice out there! We have the unique opportunity to see them when they are vulnerable and continue that relationship to share Truth with them. We are the only voice of sanity, reason, and hope in a hopeless world!

I believe that far from creeping away from our mission, we are fulfilling our mission and our heart's desire—to make a life long difference in a young woman's life through relationship, truth and love.

Dinah Monahan is Executive Director of Living Hope Women's Centers in Arizona. For more information, go to www.womenscpc.org.


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