Wednesday, 02 December 2020

A Brand-New, Excellent Resource for Pregnancy Help Centers (and Others Helping in a Pregnancy Crisis)

I’m a voracious reader. I consume books the way the Cookie Monster inhales snickerdoodles (or plates and cups). While my taste in books is more discriminating than Cookie’s is in terms of food, my appetite is equally insatiable.

That’s why, when I began volunteering at a pregnancy center years ago, I came home every week with a fresh stack of pro-life books to read. Whether the topic was prenatal development or counseling tips or pro-life apologetics, my husband, Scott, became accustomed to me excitedly sharing what I was learning.

One of my favorite books back then was John Ensor’s Answering the Call (he also co-authored Stand for Life with Scott Klusendorf). When I joined our center’s staff as client services director, and later as counseling director, I asked every new volunteer to read Answering the Call as part of their training process.

Exciting news: On January 1, Hendrickson Publishers released John Ensor’s new book, Pregnancy Crisis Intervention: What to Do and Say When it Matters Most. I’m confident this book will be the new go-to for pregnancy help centers when it comes to educating peer counselors for conversations in the client room.

First, a bit about the author. 

John Ensor, an ordained pastor, is a trusted pro-life leader who serves as speaker, mentor, and collaborator in the movement. John has served on the board and staff of Heartbeat International where he piloted Heartbeat of Miami, an urban initiative which now operates four pregnancy help medical clinics in South Florida. He is the president of PassionLife, a ministry which helps missionaries and indigenous Christian leaders equip their churches with pregnancy crisis intervention services.

John’s gracious spirit and servant heart are evident in the pages of Pregnancy Crisis Intervention. He gently guides the reader through practical steps, helpful counseling techniques, and biblical principles, offering confidence and wisdom for critical conversations with women facing unplanned pregnancies. 

The central challenge which pregnancy center staff and volunteers face every time they walk into the client room is this: “How can we uphold the humanity of the unborn, affirm the woman in crisis, and eventually find a life-affirming solution for both?”

Pregnancy Crisis Intervention answers this vital question. 

Beginning with a description of human crisis in general, Ensor explains seven characteristics of the woman in a pregnancy crisis, culminating in her feeling of hopelessness, and the seven corresponding goals of the peer counselor. Incorporating the all-important “LOVE Approach,” he boosts the reader’s confidence and competence to help the woman in crisis.

Ensor outlines seven phases in the process of intervention, offering the counselor a pathway to follow, as well as eight basic counseling skills important for interpreting a client’s verbal and non-verbal communication.

Chapter 8 contains one of my favorite quotes:

Encouragement is not about saying complimentary things. It is about strengthening weak knees. It’s helping people see that they have more power than they sense in the moment.

Tweet This: "Encouragement is not about saying complimentary things. It is about strengthening weak knees." - John Ensor @SusanneMaynes #prolife

Throughout the book, the author includes anecdotes and insights from “voices in the field,” directors of pregnancy help centers who have lived out the principles of pregnancy crisis intervention. These inspiring vignettes engage the reader’s right brain by fleshing out information and education with real-life examples of what the author is explaining.

The process of helping a woman or couple through the dark and difficult valley of a pregnancy crisis is complex and intricate. Pregnancy Crisis Intervention gives lay counselors the tools they need so they can help clients reach the light at the other side.

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When I started bringing home pro-life books from our clinic to read and share with my husband back in the day, something powerful happened. We both became gripped by a passion for the cause of life. It wasn’t long before Scott joined me to serve as our clinic’s executive director.

You never know what a book might do.

Tweet This: "Pregnancy Crisis Intervention gives lay counselors the tools they need so they can help clients reach the light at the other side."

Susanne Maynes

Susanne Maynes is an author, speaker, and biblical counselor who served at a pregnancy help center for ten years. She blogs about church & culture and spiritual growth at SusanneMaynes.comHer educational devotional, Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion: 40 Reflections on Rescuing the Unborn, uplifts and strengthens the pregnancy help community. Susanne is currently pursuing a Master of Theological Studies degree at Regent University.


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