During the summers, most of my time is spent at my home office; doing some writing here and some planning there—but not this week.
This week is Pregnancy Help Institute at Heartbeat International in Columbus, Ohio, and as this column hits the Web, some 45-50 executive directors, ultrasonographers, development professionals and other leaders from pregnancy help organizations are wrapping up a week of intensive training in four different areas.
My role is the development track, where I have the honor of working with six true pros who are teaching me as much as I’m teaching them (if not more). What’s fascinating is the wide range of responsibilities we have in the room.
On one side of our conference table is a development director from a brand-new start up in the Midwest. She is only planning a budget and they are just getting off of the ground. Across from her? A development professional with some 20 years of experience, working with a ministry seeing hundreds of clients each month with a budget north of $1 million.
In between we have budgets of $900,000, just over $100,000 and a couple of ministries in the $200,000 range.
Different needs and approaches? Certainly. Yet, we are all working together and encouraging each other as we seek to be more effective in building relationships and reach out to those who support our work.
And as I look around the room each morning, I’m reminded of what makes this calling so different: It’s not about us.
When I see someone who has raised millions of dollars spend the time to help out someone just starting in this endeavor, I realize we are a team, with nothing more than a desire to serve each other.
When I sit at a dinner and hear one of the pregnancy help community’s most effective CEOs talking about what she is learning, I realize we are full of people like her, full of humility.
When I see a new director—still in her 20's—tell the group that she is here on her first day on the job, I listen to her heart and understand we have a bright future in the pregnancy help community.
Tweet This: We must, indeed, all hang together, or we shall hang separately. @KirkWalden #prolife #pregnancyhelp
A few hours after this column posts, this group will say its goodbyes. Friendships have been formed on the shuttle bus, during meals and various sessions, and just like last year, bonds will be created which will be renewed at future conferences and other events like this.
The pregnancy help community is a tight bunch. We lean on each other, we encourage each other and we find ways to pick each other up when times are tough.
I guess this makes sense; we’re dealing with some tough times. We’ve got a lot of politicians (in Illinois and California, for example), lobbyists and Hollywood celebrities aligned against us. The economy is tight, and those who need us most are being lured to the abortion industry through multi-million-dollar marketing campaigns. We need to stick close to each other.
Sitting down with Heartbeat International’s president, Jor-El Godsey, after lunch one day, he reminded me of Benjamin Franklin’s words to the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin supposedly told his fellow patriots, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or we shall most assuredly be hanged separately.”
This week, I had the joy of watching a group of men and women committed to the calling of life “hang together.” What does that mean for the future of pregnancy help organizations? I don’t know, but if the friends I spent time with are any indication, those who want to figuratively “hang” us are in for a big surprise.