A lifeguard warning sinking swimmers of their condition can only do so much good, says Andrew Wood, executive director at Hope Resource Center in Knoxville, Tenn., in a video clip released by the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission.
At some point, Wood points out, a lifeguard needs to get wet if he hopes to rescue someone overcome by the surf. All too often, Wood says, pro-life Christians have stopped short of doing the hard work of meeting women in unexpected pregnancies where they truly are.
“We are really good at being lifeguards on the shore, screaming while people are drowning,” Wood said. “We’re really good at screaming—not even in unison—‘How could you do this? How could you make that decision? You brought this on yourself. This isn’t a Christian thing to do.’”
“What we need to do is understand that people are drowning around us, and we need to get in there and get after them. To do that, we have to love.”
Wood, who presented a workshop entitled, “Why We Have to Change the Life Narrative” at the 2016 Care Net National Conference Sept. 9 in Orlando, Fla., was tabbed as Hope Resource Center’s executive director last May.
Having added free ultrasound services and STI testing and treatment in 2014—when it earned an ambulatory health care accreditation—Hope has reached over 20,000 women and men since it first opened its doors in 1997.
One video featuring Wood’s reflections on the church’s role in creating a culture of life and another on the overall mindset of reaching a woman considering abortion were filmed at the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission’s first-annual Evangelicals For Life, held in conjunction with the March for Life in Washington, D.C.
“So many of the women that come into our clinic, they’ve been given seconds and thirds all their life,” Wood said. “They’ve never been loved, never been respected, never been shown dignity.
“What we need to do is we need to reach that woman who’s in crisis, that man that’s in crisis, and sit down with them and love on them. Nine times out of 10, when we love mom, baby’s going to be okay.”
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Scheduled for Jan. 26-28, 2017, in Washington, D.C., the second-annual Evangelicals For Life has a speaker’s lineup that headlined by ERLC President Dr. Russell Moore, who also keynoted at Care Net’s conference last week.
Other speakers include Dr. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly and Kelly Rosati. Americans United for Life’s Charmaine Yoest, Life Training Institute’s Scott Klusendorf and Colson Center for Christian Worldview’s John Stonestreet.
Several prominent evangelical pastors are also scheduled to speak at the event, most notably Matt Chandler, lead teaching pastor of The Village Church in Dallas-Fort Worth.
In late August, Care Net announced the launch of its “Making Life Disciples” curriculum, intended to help churches build a culture of life in their congregations and communities.
The curriculum was published less than a year after Care Net and LifeWay Research released a study on church attendance and abortion that suggested that there is much work to do in building a culture of life, particularly in the evangelical church.
“If the church isn’t creating a culture of life, then no one is,” Wood said. “We need to be driving that train.”