Church members learn to counsel pregnant women, partners

By Patrick Foose
Life Issues Institute

Sometimes church members don’t have to go on marches or lobby lawmakers to promote a culture of life.

The greatest opportunity to save babies might be found in their own church pews.

A recent survey of women who had abortions found that 40 percent of them were attending a church at the time of their pregnancy.

Life Issues Institute President Bradley Mattes said this presents a great opportunity for churches to stand in the gap to help women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy.

“We must mobilize the church to help us end abortion,” Mattes said. “Engaging churches in the day of the abolitionist movement helped them turn the corner to victory. This is an exciting time for churches to make a difference.”

One program doing just that is Care Net’s “Making Life Disciples.” It trains church members to help women and their partners through unexpected or difficult pregnancies by providing practical information and reassuring counsel.

Mattes said Life Issues Institute endorses “Making Life Disciples” and encourages more churches to adopt it or similar programs.

“It’s an opportunity not only to save the lives of unborn babies and help grieving mothers and fathers who’ve chosen abortion; but it’s an opportunity for the church to mobilize an effective ministry to young people,” Mattes said.

“Those who face a crisis are most open to the message of salvation and churches must realize this can effectively be used to advance the kingdom.”

Vincent DiCaro, Care Net’s Chief Outreach Officer, said “Making Life Disciples’” focuses on compassion, hope and help.

“‘Making Life Disciples’ educates and inspires life disciples to truly ‘walk alongside’ women and men making a pregnancy decision,” DiCaro said. “It helps them become good listeners who can understand the stories and circumstances of the people they are serving.”

“It helps them understand the unique ways to approach pregnant women with love and understanding, and to approach the man who got her pregnant with the same love and understanding.”

This booklet in the “Making Life Disciples” program helps men play a role in responding to an unplanned pregnancy. “This is the time to speak up — and team up — with her, otherwise you could end up getting shut out,” the book says.

“Making Life Disciples” counselors learn about abortion procedures, fetal development, and the effects of abortion. They also are equipped to discuss details about the life-affirming choices that could be made by those they serve — adoption, parenting, and marriage.

The curriculum recognizes urban and more rural communities might require different approaches.

“For example, in an urban area, access to affordable prenatal care may be a big issue. In a rural area, maybe it’s challenges around reliable transportation,” DiCaro said.

“‘Making Life Disciples’ equips caring people in the church to compassionately identify those specific needs and then how to locate the resources within and outside the church to help meet those needs.”

Care Net President and CEO Roland Warren said getting churches involved in promoting pro-life choices on a personal level is long overdue.

“The reality is that when it comes to the abortion issue… the church has not been using the transformative power that it has around this issue,” Warren said in a course video introduction. “It has been an issue that has been outside of the church, when the problem is inside the church and the church has a call to the broader culture.”

The program can be purchased at store.care-net.org/for-churches.

DiCaro said response from churches has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Churches are catching the vision that ‘Making Life Disciples’ is the first program that will equip Christ’s Church to take a leadership role in offering compassion, hope, and help to women and men considering abortion,” he said.

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