As we saw in Part 1, the disconnect is real.
The Body of Christ and life affirming ministry haven’t been connected as God wants them to be for a long, long time. Many center directors at the Missouri conference told me of their hearts’ desire to see the Body of Christ more closely connected to life-affirming ministry. Let’s sum up:
- God calls the shedding of innocent blood an abomination—a thing that causes Him disgust (Ezekiel 22)
- The expectation is explicit that God people will be fore-runners (not by-standers) in defending innocent human life (Leviticus 20)
FEATURES OF THIS DISCONNECT
Before transitioning from the “why” to “how” we can reconnect, let’s look at three features of the disconnect that you may have noticed and/or experienced.
Acts 19:32 says, “some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion and the majority did not know for what reason they had come together.”
In May of 2019, Christianity Today reported, “Abortion remains a contentious issue among U.S. Christians.”1 Other research shows:
- Seventy percent of people choosing abortion say they are Christians, and
- While half of them are regular church attenders, few turn to their churches for help when in need of life affirming ministry
- Their most common concerns include being judged and condemned by churches and
- Most don’t believe their churches are prepared to help them.2
Life-affirming ministry is regarded by many as a “para-church ministry,” a ministry that is not the church but that comes alongside the church. Some go so far as to say that para-church ministries specialize in things that churches may not be able to specialize in. Let that sink in.
In a stunningly humble statement, David Platt, current president of the International Mission Board, and the author of the New York Times best seller Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream, recently said this about the state of the church and abortion:
“On the subject of abortion, on a whole, the Church is shamefully silent and appallingly passive. I say that because that what I was just a few years ago. For the majority of my life as a Christian and my ministry as a pastor, I looked at abortion as political, therefore I didn’t need to deal with it. For most Christians, we know it’s out there, we hear about it, but we are not saying, ‘Okay, what do I need to do about that?’ We need to ask that question. This is not a political issue, a women’s issue or a children’s issue, this is a God issue! We need to act on this issue! Moral or political neutrality is not an option for those who truly believe the Bible.” (watch video)
“My people have become lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray.” Jeremiah 50:6
Jes Kast, pastor of Faith United Church of Christ in State College, Pennsylvania, says you have “reproductive rights” and “bodily autonomy.” Pastor Kast openly proclaims, “I believe in access to safe and legal abortions.”3
Now let’s consider “how” to connect the Body of Christ to life-affirming ministry.
While there are many ways that might be done, right now I am going to share one way that also happens to be the best way, the way God wants them to be connected.
Reviving biblical manhood, husbandry, and fatherhood is the best way to connect the Body of Christ and life affirming ministry.
A quick look inside virtually any pregnancy resource center immediately reveals a very beautiful feature. Women. Throughout its sixty-year history in the United States, pregnancy resource centers have largely been ministries to women operated by women. As a result, women have been God’s primary instruments in making life-affirming ministry so strong, so poised, and so cohesive. Never in all of history has the world witnessed champions for life on this grand scale. And to all of you, I am deeply and humbly grateful.
Men are the missing piece. Not only are men the missing piece, but they are by far, the biggest problem. The categoric root causes of threats to pre-born life are men.
Therefore: reviving Biblical manhood, husbandry, and fatherhood is:
- What God wants
- The fastest, most comprehensive way to prevent pre-born lives from being at risk of abortion
- The reason it’s the best way to connect the Body of Christ and life-affirming ministry is because it’s the way God wants them to be connected.
Let me offer three reasons that a revival of biblical manhood, husbandry, and fatherhood is the best way to connect the Body of Christ and life-affirming ministry and is the way God wants them to be connected:
1. Reviving Biblical manhood, husbandry, and fatherhood is what God wants.
“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and strike the land with complete destruction.” (Malachi 4:5-6)
- God dispatches the spirit of Elijah with a primary purpose: turning the hearts of fathers toward their children (Luke 1:5-17)
- God connects this turning away of fathers from their children to a globally devastating curse (Malachi 4:5-6)
- God wants fathers’ hearts to be turned toward their children because when they are not children are detestably destroyed (2 Chronicles 28:1-4)
2. Reviving biblical manhood, husbandry, and fatherhood is the fastest, most comprehensive way to prevent pre-born lives from being vulnerable to abortion. Attitudes of fathers toward their pre-born children is the leading root cause of abortion. Is it reasonable to expect that threats to pre-born lives can be eliminated without reviving biblical manhood, husbandry, and fatherhood?
3. The Body of Christ has been uniquely equipped by God to revive Biblical manhood, husbandry, and fatherhood. (Matthew 28:19-20)
- The Body of Christ has been uniquely appointed and anointed to revive biblical manhood, husbandry and fatherhood through teaching and discipleship
- God has given the Body of Christ unique access to the vast numbers of people needed to revive biblical manhood, husbandry and fatherhood
- God has given the Body of Christ the vast resources that will be required to revive biblical manhood, husbandry, and fatherhood.
Connecting the Body for life
One proven connector between the Body of Christ and life-affirming ministry is Birth of a Family. It reaches the leading root cause of threats to pre-born lives. It is…
- Designed especially for life-affirming ministries
- Sustained relational discipleship with the clients of life-affirming ministries as carried out by the Body of Christ
- Proven to revive biblical manhood, husbandry, and fatherhood. In a four-year study from 2007 to 2011, 52% of participants said their experiences with Birth of a Family turned them toward God and His ways concerning their relationships and families.
Why it Works
Birth of a Family creates sustained relational discipleship involving the clients of life-affirming ministries and equipped people of the Body of Christ. Through this innovational connector, pregnancy resource center clients experience role-modeling, mentoring, and support from the Body of Christ—often for the first time in their lives.
Birth of a Family is a relational discipleship approach that doesn’t just connect the Body of Christ with life-affirming ministry, but it engages the Body of Christ in life-affirming ministry. Threats to pre-born life are reduced and benefits to future generations are cultivated.
True Case Study: One client’s story
The Brandon Care Pregnancy Center implemented Birth of a Family in 2007. Christy had become their client in 2006. A sonogram revealed she was carrying twins. Jordan, their father, was addicted, unemployed, and absent. Had Christy visited BCPC before they implemented Birth of a Family, she would have been…
- Encouraged to choose life for her babies
- Evaluated and then directed to a network of services to meet some of the harsh needs of single motherhood
- Invited to various support groups and Bible studies
- Provided material support
Statistically, Christy would have become a repeat client within two years, facing a similar crisis caused by a different “baby daddy.” Yet because she visited the center after it implemented Birth of a Family, in addition to their valuable life-affirming ministry, much more help was available to her. Here’s what was different:
- The Body of Christ—including men, couples, and families—had been enlisted, equipped, and engaged in innovative Birth of a Family roles
- These new volunteers had been given access to innovative Birth of a Family resources created specifically for situations like Christy’s
- Weekly Birth of a Family groups were meeting on Wednesday nights at the church behind the pregnancy center
- The church nursery was available to care for the children of Birth of a Family participants
- The twins’ father Jordan was invited to participate alongside Christie.
They showed up for a meeting when their twins were about six weeks old. They were welcomed by trained family coaches from several local churches. While no one knew it at the time of their first visit, this was the beginning of relational discipleship that would last decades and facilitate God’s transformation of these precious lives and their future children.
While it was a rough climb out of chronic unemployability, addiction, dysfunction, and poverty, Christie and Jordan consistently participated in Birth of a Family activities. This gave many members of Christ’s Body opportunities to invest in their lives.
What were the results?
- Jordan transformed into a loving husband and father
- I performed their wedding four years after they began participating in Birth of a Family
- Their twins grew up with both parents
- Two future children were never at risk of abortion
At first, it was hard to believe all this could happen, but now I’ve witnessed similar miraculous transformations hundreds of times. Connecting the Body of Christ and life-affirming ministry was the game changer.
1. “How Can Today’s Pro-Life Christians Build Trust in the Movement?” Kate Shellnut, Christianity Today, May 24, 2019, https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/may-web-only/under-discussion-pro-life-christians-build-trust.html
2. Groundbreaking Care Net Research on Abortion and the Church, Care Net, November 23, 2015, https://www.care-net.org/churches-blog/church-abortion-survey
3. “A Pastor’s Case for the Morality of Abortion,” Emma Green, The Atlantic, May 26, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/05/progressive-christians-abortion-jes-kast/590293/
Photo credit: Etienne Girardet, Unsplash.com
©2020 Stuart Carver. Stuart serves the Family God’s Way movement where people connect with people in relational discipleship. Stuart’s role in the movement includes: finding opportunities to connect people in relational discipleship, creating innovative relational discipleship resources, and connecting the Body of Christ to life affirming ministry. Email: SCarver@FamilyGodsWay.com