What is it that makes pregnancy care center ministry so vital and indispensible? How does a center impact people's lives in the midst of crisis and uncertainty? When I think of the ministry of pregnancy centers around the country, I am always reminded of the scriptural account of the father who brought his child to Jesus in Mark 9:14-29. After Jesus and three of His closest disciples had a mountaintop experience, they returned to a scene of chaos and confusion. A father had brought his demon-possessed son to the other disciples, and they did all that they could, but the boy remained possessed. As Jesus came on the scene, people ran to Him and explained the family problem that could not be fixed. Jesus stated in verse 19, "Bring him to me."
Every day, people enter the doors of pregnancy centers with problems that we cannot fix. We do not have the ability, authority, or enough resources to truly fix people's problems. So what do we do? We introduce them to Someone who can take a seemingly impossible situation or disaster and turn it around into a blessing. We introduce them to Someone who will never leave them or forsake them, and who loves them unconditionally. His name is Jesus! That is the main mission of PCCs—to bring people to Jesus so that lives might be saved and changed.
What took place next in the biblical account always amazes me. When the boy was brought to Jesus, the demon threw the boy into a convulsion. As the boy was flailing about and foaming at the mouth, Jesus calmly asked the father, "How long has this been happening to him?" One thing that you never find Jesus doing in Scripture is rushing or reacting to a situation out of surprise or panic. He always acts with purpose and control. No matter what circumstance or situation we are confronted with, Jesus is not shocked or taken off guard. He never says, "Oops!" or asks, "What do we do now?" The boy's father answered Jesus by saying that the demon has possessed his son since childhood. He then added that the demon would often throw the boy into fire or water to kill him. It is important to note that the demon was not there simply to frustrate the family's plans for their child or to make his life difficult, but rather destruction was the goal. Satan is out to steal, kill, and destroy. Satan is out to destroy our youth, and every person that walks through the doors of a pregnancy center has been his prey.
As I have served in pregnancy center ministry, I have seen the tactics of the Enemy, and he always uses the same approach. Ever since Genesis 3:4, Satan has used the same lie to deceive and trap people into bondage and death. When Eve told the serpent that they were not to eat of the forbidden fruit in the middle of the garden or they would die, Satan told them, "You will not surely die." What was Satan saying? "You can violate God's laws and disobey His commands and get away with it. You will not suffer any consequences." That basic lie is still being told today. Unfortunately, people come to pregnancy centers suffering the backwash of that deception. The promise of 'safer sex' outside of marriage only brings about unplanned pregnancies, STDs, broken hearts, and severed relationships. There are consequences. The work of PCCs is to share the truth about life, choices, and consequences.
In desperation, the boy's father said to Jesus, "If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." Jesus said, "If you can! All things are possible for one who believes." If you are facing a situation beyond your ability, be encouraged that Jesus isn't wondering what to do. He isn't surprised and perplexed. He can handle whatever you are facing, and He is with you. Why will He be involved in your situation? Not because of pity, but because of compassion. When someone has pity, they can look at a situation and say, "That is awful, or that is wrong, and someone should do something about that." Then they walk away. Jesus never had pity, but love and compassion. It was compassion that led Him to touch leapers, eat with tax collectors and sinners, and write in the dirt to save a wayward woman's life. And when Jesus gets involved, nothing is impossible. I once heard Pastor Rick Warren say that the word 'impossible' is not in his dictionary behind his desk, because he cut it out. If Jesus said that nothing is impossible, then the word 'impossible' should not be in a Christian's vocabulary.
Following this exchange between Jesus and the father, the demon was cast out, and later the disciples asked why they couldn't drive it out. In the most telling response, Jesus said that this kind can only come out by prayer and fasting. What was Jesus saying? When Satan has such control or a strong foothold, it will take more than what has been done in the past to remove his grip and influence. Satan seems to have a strangle hold on our youth culture and society today, but it is not a lost cause. If we are willing to pray more fervently than before, and if we are willing to make sacrifices beyond those of the past, victory can be won. Remember, "Everything is possible for him who believes." The reward of PCC ministry is holding lives that are saved and witnessing lives that are changed. Don't give up!
Rev. Mark Hiehle directs a pregnancy center in Norman, Oklahoma. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.