Talking to a pregnancy center director the other day, I heard something all too familiar: “Yes, a consultant told us some centers are getting rid of any religious affiliation.”
The reason, she was told, is that Christianity in the center—anywhere—turns off the abortion-minded and vulnerable clients. Thankfully, her center chose not to take the advice.
Hey, I understand the problem. But folks, this is not the solution. Thankfully, very few centers are taking this counsel. From one guy out here who has the honor of visiting dozens of pregnancy help ministries every year: let’s keep the ministry in ministry.
The challenge these few centers are attempting to address is real. Women facing unplanned pregnancies and thinking of abortion aren’t excited about running to what they might think is a “religious institution.” I get it. We must be wise.
If our lobbies are filled with Christian symbolism, some clients will be reticent to stay with us. If our advertising says—and I’m being facetious—“Jesus wants you to save your baby,” we’re not going to see many who are considering ending their pregnancies through abortion.
In truth, we’re not here to try and tell someone what to do. As Christians, we are here to do what Jesus did: He presented an opportunity and allowed those who heard him to make their own decision. In the book of John (chapter 6), we see Jesus saying some difficult things, and “because of this many of his disciples withdrew and were not walking with him anymore.”
Jesus didn’t chase after any of those leaving. He didn’t beg, plead or force. He let them go.
In our ministries, we offer hope and help. We don’t offer arguments and counter-arguments. In most of our clinics, a patient can see her child on an ultrasound screen. What she does with this information is up to her, not us.
I also understand why many potential clients are turned off by faith. For one, Christianity is mocked in the media every day. For another, some who call themselves Christians create misperceptions of the faith by their actions. This is wrong.
But this is exactly why we should be presenting our faith in a wise, positive and effective way. We shouldn’t do less, we should do more—and better.
This column is not about how we should blast “We’re Christian” to all potential clients, because there are misperceptions which create a fear of Christianity.
But throwing out our faith because of misunderstandings is not the answer.
I found the answer at one center, where one can walk in the lobby and sit down to calming music and read a wholesome, but not necessarily “Christian,” magazine. It’s a medical clinic, and this clinic embraces the positive perceptions of what a medical clinic should look like. This makes sense.
The client walks through a door and into the clinic, where several staff members meet her needs and reach out to her. They show her their Christianity. And when the opportunity arises—which is often—they talk of their faith, and let her know that if she wishes to further explore what it means to be a Christian, they are available and happy to help.
Ahhhh, no pressure. And the patient, seeing Christianity in action, is open to the possibilities offered to her. This is faith at its finest.
Tweet This: @KirkWalden on why "Keeping the faith" is always a good idea. #prolife
She returns to the lobby through the same door she entered. On the back of that door is something she never saw on the way in, a cross. The cross is a simple reminder that she has been in the presence of those who love Jesus Christ.
No pressure. No coercion. Just faith, and an offer of help in her journey.
A ministry that decides it doesn’t want to be a ministry misses these opportunities. The very thing we were placed on this Earth to do—to love God and bring this hope to others—is taken out of the hands of those who wish to serve the calling of life.
I’m sure there are those who disagree. Feel free to connect with me.
And I understand that saving the lives of children—whether under the banner of faith or without that banner—is always good.
But for this guy, without faith as my anchor and without the opportunity to share the hope that is within me, I wouldn’t last a month in this calling.
I’m thankful that faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation for the work I get to do. With a nod to a song by Billy Joel, “Keepin’ the Faith” sounds like a good idea.