When someone asks us, “What do you offer those who come in your door?,” there are a variety of responses we can give.
“Pregnancy screenings,” we might say. Or STD and STI testing. Ultrasound scans. Material goods. Education. Emotional and spiritual support. Housing. Adoption services. Fatherhood coaching. Post-abortion recovery. Prenatal care. Bible studies. We could go on.
This is a good list, and not exhaustive. Fact is, the pregnancy help community provides a lot of services to those who need us. A lot.
But a conversation one morning over coffee with the lovely Jennifer (who happens to be married to me) reminded me of another something we can give any client or patient we see: A piece of fruit. The good kind.
We know the bad kind of fruit. Going back a few generations, Adam and Eve tried a piece of fruit and things went downhill from there.
But a fellow named Paul, writing to Galatian Christians, outlined what good fruit looks like and how we can offer this to anyone—including those we see in our pregnancy help organizations. But before going further with this column, let’s stop and point out, this is not a devotional. It is a column for Pregnancy Help News, where we provide insight on the issues of the day, news regarding our work and the people involved, and practical information on how we can be more effective in changing our culture.
So no, this is not a Bible study. It’s just practical stuff we need to know.
But as we offer so many services, let’s remember we need to package these services with fruit—the kind Paul talked about. In his letter to the Galatians, he faced a challenge. Jewish Christians kept telling the new, Gentile converts they had to follow Jewish law to be Christians in good standing. Paul wanted to stop this practice, and his letter to the Galatians was his response.
Toward the end of his correspondence, Paul encouraged his Gentile readers to “walk by the spirit,” instead of focusing on Jewish law. The result of this, he said, would be fruit, with nine salient characteristics: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Again, practical stuff. It’s a reminder that every service we offer must be wrapped in a figurative “basket of fruit.” When we offer good fruit with our program or initiative, the service we provide works more effectively. It’s that simple.
Ultrasound is good. But offering ultrasound with kindness and joy builds our effectiveness. We often talk about telling the truth to our clients and patients, as we should. But truth doesn’t work without patience and love.
Reaching out to dads? They need to see in us peace, self-control, and faithfulness. And for those hurting from a past abortion, gentleness and goodness make all the difference.
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So then, as we offer these services, we need to consistently ask, “Which fruit do we offer with this initiative? Which of these adds exponentially to our effectiveness?
These aren’t questions only for a devotional or a Bible study, they are practical questions which—if answered correctly—build our bottom-line numbers and advance our mission. These are questions for those serious about things like branding, marketing, and patient outcomes.
And in a time when we face attacks from town councils, state legislatures and even Congress, Paul’s sound counsel regarding these fruits is especially instructive: “Against these things there is no law.”
He’s right, in the most practical sense. Some may try to thwart the “what” of our work, attempting to curb our marketing initiatives (we see you, Google) and in several states, trying to stifle our communication with clients (until NIFLA v. Becerra).
But one cannot legislate against the “how” of our work. Because when our “how” is filled with a basket of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, creating a law to stop these things is impossible.
Tweet This: When we fill our basket with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc., creating a law to stop us is impossible.
With everything we do then, let’s add fruit. Each time we do, our bottom line grows. And, it’s tasty, too.