There are some in our society that would like to resurrect the late Friedrich Nietzsche’s phrase, “God is dead.” Many would like to claim that the Church is simply a remnant of days gone by. I will admit that our current society and makeup is vastly different than days of old, but there is still much to celebrate and appreciate about the Church and its impact on communities far and wide.
We see this when tragedy strikes as it did this past weekend on the East Coast. Churches line up, fill trucks, and make a pilgrimage into the storm to offer support and relief. They are not questioning the political leaning or the theological leaning of those in need. Instead, they act out of love for their neighbor. It warms my heart to see the love of Christ drive people to act.
There are some non-profit ministries that choose to join the cries of disdain from our society towards the local church. This is dangerous and can cause us to misunderstand our role in Gospel work. We as non-profits are an arm of the Bride; we are not the Bride herself. Understanding this truth helps us with our priorities and our work.
We in the pregnancy help community need to try very hard to keep this understanding in check. We do not wish to muddy the waters and flip truth upside down. Instead, we desire deep relationship with the local church and appreciate their willingness to walk with us into the storm.
At HOPE Resource Center in Knoxville, Tenn., where I serve as executive director, we have a relationship with around 40 local churches in this community. It is through these relationships we are able to love and serve our patients. These churches understand the need facing many in our society. They understand that there are men and women in crisis in need of a life raft. They do not wish to reinvent the wheel; they simply want to love and serve.
As I write this, I am thumbing through our mail and, just like most days, we have a few checks from churches. Churches that care about that young mom that is facing an unplanned pregnancy, that young man in need of an STD test, or that young family who recently moved to Knoxville seeking assistance.
These churches and their members may never meet our patients, but meeting them isn’t the driver of their actions. They believe, as we do, that these patients were created in the image of God and are deserving of love, respect, and care. This is why they continue to show up, place HOPE in their budgets, and add us to their prayer lists.
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Some in our society may delight in or agree with Nietzsche, but here at HOPE, we can see and truly understand that God is certainly alive and using His people to impact the most vulnerable. We know that the church isn’t perfect. We know that we are fallen and in need of Savior. It is this truth that pushes us to act in times of need and to run toward the storm and not away from it.
I am in awe of what God continues to do at HOPE. I cannot believe that He chose us to lead and serve in this manner, but I am honored He allows us to do this work alongside of His bride…the Church!
Andrew Wood is executive director of HOPE Resource Center, a life-affirming medical clinic in Knoxville, Tenn.