Saturday, 24 February 2024

The Hidden Recipe for Success in Pregnancy Help Ministry

We hear a lot about recipes this time of year. Anytime I turn on a Hallmark Christmas movie (which is far too often), one of the characters has a traditional family recipe for cookies or some other holiday treat which plays a role in the plot.

And if we browse through any bookstore, there is an entire shelf of “success” books to tell us the hidden secrets of making more money, getting the right job, persuading people to our point of view—you name it.

Yet, the more I spend time in the pregnancy help community (27 years and counting), I find the hidden recipe for success in our ministries is so simple it is often overlooked.

Sitting down to write this column, I found one piece of this “hidden” recipe in Gayle Irwin’s article on Jim and Ruth Heckman, a fabulous couple from Indiana with a heart for this work. This fall I was in Decatur and Berne, Indiana for Hope Clinic’s fundraising dinners and spent time with Jim finding out more about why he got involved in this work.

In short, his and Ruth’s story of adoption and their hearts for women in an unplanned pregnancy began a chain of events which brought him to Hope.

If someone can spend just 15 minutes with Jim and not see his heart for people and for God, they need professional help. This is a man of humility and transparency. If my heart ever comes close to his devotion, I’ll be thrilled.

And guess what? In two small, rural Indiana towns where you’ll still find horses and buggies sharing US-27 with cars and trucks, Hope Clinic is a thriving ministry an amazing team of client advocates, nurses, and even a social worker. They are a model of what we can do when we combine heart and vision. 

At Hope, they are not shackled by the “we’re just a small town with limited resources” mentality. Instead, Hope Clinic is crazy enough to believe that when we have a heart to meet a need, and the vision to get the job done, God has room to work. It works. And I love it.

Just after reading the article about Jim and Ruth, I checked my email to find a message from a board member with a pregnancy help clinic in the South, updating me on their search for a new home for the ministry. They’ve found a 4,000+ square foot facility within blocks of their target clientele (a major university), and are working toward a purchase.

I’m not naming the town because nothing is confirmed yet, but they are close. The ministry is quite new, maybe six years old. I happened to be there for their first fundraising dinner, before they opened their doors, and was struck by their seemingly outlandish goal of raising enough funds to open a medical clinic on day one.

That night they raised about $180,000—with no stories, no building, and no ultrasound machine. That’s vision. They shared the vision and their guests caught on.

Since then, we’ve all stayed in touch and I’ve seen incredible growth because their heart for outreach and their vision to do whatever it takes to change a culture, never wavers.

They too, have the recipe for success. Heart. And Vision.

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As I’ve learned over the years, I’m not complicated. For instance, if it takes more than one wire or cord to hook up a device (like my office phone), I’m out of luck without a YouTube video and someone walking me through the process. Slowly. Thank God for an 11-year-old son who figured it out.

As we close out 2018, we are finalizing budgets, creating goals and objectives, preparing for a New Year. If we’re not careful, we can make this complicated.

Call me simple, but perhaps with every idea and line item we should ask two questions: 

“Does this reflect a heart to change the world around us?”

“Does this reflect a vision so big that we must trust God to bring it to fruition?”

Tweet This: For success, we need 1.) a heart to change the world and 2.) a vision so big we have to trust God to bring it to fruition. @KirkWalden

If we answer both questions with a resounding “Yes,” we’re on track for 2019. It’s not complicated. And perhaps this is the way it ought to be.

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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