Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Let's Get Weak

Life-affirming pregnancy help ministry is an outworking of our faith. Yes? And that faith is informed by the Bible. The call to rescue in Psalm 82:4 emboldens us. The Good Samaritan parable serves as a paradigm for how we rescue— providing personal, practical, generous intervention, as neighbors loving neighbors. Less talked about, but also applicable, is the apostle Paul's testimony: 

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Cor 9:22-23).

This is Paul's missiological strategy for effectively sharing the truth of the gospel with people who have a different culture and worldview. Paul knows that only "some" will say yes to his message. But he removes every other barrier that may hinder them from hearing that one message. He adapts his appearance, language, and approach to fit the people he serves, lest they say no to him before the main truth itself is presented.      

In our context, we have one central message to present: The unborn is human and while your circumstances are difficult, they do not justify killing a human being. Let us help you find a better way. This is the one truth upon which everything turns. When received, a mother will loosen her white-knuckle grip on abortion and begin looking for a solution she can live with. 

The missiological work before us is to remove every other barrier that might cause a women in pregnancy crisis to turn away from us before we can present this one truth.  

Tweet This: The work before us to is to remove barriers before we can present one truth. @passionlifemin

Our center name, logo, marketing and decor, are they about her, or about us? Almost every PHC start-up team fails to think missiologically. They do not ask,"Who are we trying to reach and how can we speak their language? Without reflection, they default to a marketing and presentation that communicates their arrival point, not the mother's starting point. "We are Christians and prolife. Come in."  

Since new board members, volunteers and staff are always trickling in, and they all default in the same way, here we are 40 plus years later, and still, so many of our PHC's lead with their strengths. Religious pictures, crosses, stenciled scripture, saints and precious baby pictures are about us, not the people we seek to serve.

They do not communicate what we think. They make us feel more comfortable but they make our target audience less comfortable, and thus, less likely to hear the one truth we are sent to share. Away with them all! Follow the Bible's approach. To reach the weak, get weak!

At this moment, she sees the baby like a cancer, something invasive and growing that threatens her life. With her boyfriend hemming and hawing, she feels abandoned, angry, full of self doubt and loathing. She wants to fix things fast. She hears two voices in her head ("do it/don't do it").

But the voice pushing her toward abortion is loud. The other, a mere whisper. With her normal support system gone, she sees the abortionist as her great savior, who will restore things to normal. 

Tweet This: The voice pushing her toward abortion is loud. @passionlifemin

From your name to your logo to your pictures to your use of language, make it all about her and her future well-being. Help her slow down and think. Listen and she will express her heart values ("I don't really like abortion, but..."). Show her why these values are worth fighting for, in spite of her current difficult circumstances. This is where the one truth comes in. 

If you are willing to think like her at the beginning of your outreach, more will leave thinking like you, or at least moving in your direction.     

John Ensor is the author of Answering the Call, a standard read among PHOs and is the president of PassionLife. He helped development nine pregnancy help centers in Boston and Miami and is currently helping PHOs get established in China. 

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