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Thursday, 28 May 2020

One Impressive Bunch

This week I’m at Heartbeat International’s Pregnancy Help Institute at HBI headquarters; a four-day intensive training conference with 84 of my new closest friends. 

What is being taught is not nearly as important here as the who. Yep, there are four intensive tracks; Leadership, New Directors, Advancement and Ultrasound. All areas of study are full of vital information, certainly. And each attendee will likely return to his or her ministry with ideas, and a list of plans and projects.

But something else is taking place this week.

Bonds are being created around dinner tables, during breaks and even back at the hotels after a day is done. Friendships forged. Facebook groups are forming.

Tweet This: We are better together. #prolife #BetterTogether #ThursdayThoughts

Visiting with attendees I realize this event—and others like this—are so much more than “best practices” and “the newest innovations in . . . .”

Don’t misunderstand. Best practices and innovations are vitally important. The face of our clientele changes every few years and we must be prepared as shifts in marketing and services takes place.

Yet, unless we stick together, knowing how to use social media powerfully won’t matter much. And as one tasked with teaching advancement and development this week, I need to understand that raising funds more effectively pales in comparison to the process of building up each other and pouring into the lives of those who support our work.

Watching attendees interact, ask questions and share ideas is, in a word, impressive.

There is no “look what we are doing” this week. There is no judgment in the various rooms this week. There is no competition, no comparisons, no pecking order. In my group, I listen as one executive director of a $1.4 million ministry listens carefully as another in the room—with a budget of less than $100,000—shares an idea. We can all learn from each other, and it’s fascinating to observe.

Tweet This: We can all learn from each other #prolife #BetterTogether

The Pregnancy Help Community is strong because in so many ways, we are united. We encourage each other, just as Hebrews 3:13 tells us, “day after day, as long as it is till called today.”

Because we encourage, we remain engaged and focused on the tasks-at-hand. You find me a pregnancy help ministry leader who is encouraging others and being encouraged by others, and I’ll show you someone who will stand tall in the dark times. There are too many surrounding friends to hold up that person in the tough times; discouragement cannot gain a firm foothold. Burnout doesn’t stand a chance.

Friday, these leaders will get in their cars or board planes for home; places like California, Vermont, South Dakota and so many other states.

They will leave with new information, new ideas and new processes to fulfill their various missions.

But more important, they will leave knowing there are others who will stand with them. They will have new sounding boards to bounce thoughts off of, new fellow-travelers on this journey who will say at the appropriate time, “Get back up; you can do this!”

One cannot have too many friends, especially when the hard times come. Those at Pregnancy Help Institute this week added friends they will keep for years to come. Some they will see next year, as many return to jump into new learning tracks.

Others they may see again at conferences, online or contact via text and phone calls.

Because of this, 84 who spent time in Columbus this week are stronger. Because as I hear so often at Heartbeat functions, “We are better together.” We certainly are; and it’s fun to see “Better Together” in action.

Kirk Walden

Kirk Walden is a senior writer with Pregnancy Help News, an Advancement Specialist with Heartbeat International and author of The Wall. For banquet speaking engagements, contact Gloria Leyda at Ambassador Speakers Bureau. His new Faith Revolution Podcast is online at

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