is a complex issue and should be the focus of all our counseling at a pregnancy care center. To focus just on feelings and experience is not getting to the root of the issue with our clients, even though this is a common approach within many centers, much like we see in pop psychology. According to Scripture, only God can know and have an understanding of it (I Samuel 16:7; Psalm 7:9; Jeremiah 17:9). Focus on , a wonderful biblical training resource by Jim Dundas for new volunteers, approaches counseling from a purely biblical background: no feelings, no experiences, no passing the blame, no gimmicks—just a look inside .*
There are two varieties of hearts, 'the unbelieving, unregenerate heart' (Hebrews 3:12) and 'the believing, regenerate heart' (Romans 10:9). Ezekiel 36:26 describes the former as a 'heart of stone' and the latter as a 'heart of flesh.' s of our clients will respond one of two ways. They will either hear scriptural truths and believe or will be blinded and simply not respond (Dundas 19-20).
In the book of Romans, Paul teaches us that God's wrath is on the unrighteous. I like the way Jonathan Edwards puts it in his famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." He gives us a visual of man being suspended over the fires of hell like a spider hanging by a slender thread. At any moment, that thread may begin to singe and burn all the way through. Only by His grace do we not fall into the flames.
When I know the client across from me has an unregenerate heart, I think of this visual provided to us by Edwards. Since she has not been born again, she is in the hands of an angry God. Her greatest need at the moment is to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She may think her greatest need is a pregnancy test or package of diapers, but that simply is not the case. Her needs are not horizontal, but vertical. She really just needs Jesus! If we fail to give her the Gospel, we have failed not only her, but God as well.
Exposing the idols in our clients' lives is vitally important. Both believers and unbelievers wrestle with this problem, but according to Dundas, "God is the only one who can redeem and change ." Suddenly, as that idol is cast aside, our clients will instead focus on making decisions based on scriptural truth. When we see a young woman who professes to be a Christian yet is living with her boyfriend and fearing a positive pregnancy test, we need to address this lifestyle. It is important to help her see that her sins have consequences. Her pattern of sins may well have been escalating to the point that she is experiencing an entire lifestyle of sinful behaviors. When we open up Scripture and take this client to 1 John 2:1-15 and have her read it aloud, she will often see herself and her need to repent.
Focus on , pages 20-21 reads:
Whether Christian or unsaved, the issue of is a critical one. It is out of that the woman makes all the decisions related to how she is going to respond to the unborn child who is totally at her mercy! of the woman is ground zero for the battle for life. It will eventually decide if the child is to survive. The sad fact is that this internal and ever losing struggle has been a recurring battle with many women, as seen in the high rate of repeat abortions that cover our national and church landscapes. We have failed to speak to and reach of too many women in the midst of such costly behavior patterns and irreversible decision-making. It is only through the message of the Gospel that God opens of clients to respond to Him (Acts 16:14; Romans 10:13-17; Ephesians 2:4-9). Without Christ cleansing , the unsaved client has no hope in this life or in the one to come (Ephesians 2:12; 1 Timothy 1:1; Hebrews 10:22).
It is God who has the power to test, influence, and direct the client's heart in her response to the Gospel and to the critical issues of choosing life for her child (1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Chronicles 29:17; Ezra 7:27; Proverbs 21:1). It is essential that counselors pray to the Lord for 'great boldness' in speaking His truth to the client and to be persistent in prayer (1 John 5:14-15; Luke 18:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17) seeking God's help and mercy in the struggle for the spiritual and physical life of the mother and child.
As counselors in pregnancy care centers, we need to remember this basic foundational and biblical truth: God's power of influencing and changing a client's heart is crucial. When we erroneously counsel all our clients in the same manner, utilizing psychological methods, and focus on unbiblical feelings and experiences, we are not helping them. We are to "take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5) and "to have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16).
If we claim to be Christians and serve in a Christian ministry, we are constrained to minister to clients according to God's holy standards in His Word, not by using a Psychology 101 textbook! We are not to bring the world into our centers, but rather to have our centers be God-focused.
Furthermore, if we are going to seek 'missions funds' from our local churches, then we need be functioning in a biblical fashion. Everyone and everything in our center—volunteers, staff, our training programs, and the materials we give to clients—should all reflect God's Truths. If our focus is not on of our clients, we need to repent and turn our centers around to solid biblical counseling models, relying totally upon the Word of God. Many of us need to turn away from the idols of psychology and other man-centered, worldly concepts.
Perhaps before we counsel anyone else, we need to counsel ourselves. I have personally spent at least two years turning my focus for the ministry around to reflect what I know God would want for our center. I discovered that my own heart was not right before God, because I had allowed worldly, unbiblical thoughts to enter my mind through ungodly teachings. Once I began the journey to change, I discovered, in addition to God's Word, Hope National's counsel to me. Their training manual, Focus on , was a driving force in making significant ministry changes.
Now that my heart is right with God, I have passed this on to my board and volunteers. We are all more effectively ministering to our clients to help them see inside their own hearts and to make lifestyle changes that last an eternity.
Contact Hope National of Lincoln, Delaware, for more information on their Focus on biblical training by calling 302-424-2166.
*See http://www.atcmag.com/v9n3/article8.asp for more information about Focus on .
Dianne Pomon, R.N., is Executive Director of Genesis Pregnancy Care Center in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.