Wednesday, 04 October 2023
Unlikely heroes Johann Walter Bantz/Unsplash

Unlikely heroes

My wife Jenn and I talk a lot in the mornings over coffee. A lot. A whole lot. Did I say we talk a lot over coffee? 

While we were getting our caffeine fix the other day (I can stop anytime, I promise), we talked about our tribe, the pregnancy help community. 

Honestly, there have been times (not often, but it’s happened) over the past 30 years when I’ve wanted another tribe. Why can’t I be part of a less-controversial group? Can’t I do something easy—where everyone likes me?

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The truth? I’m not into controversy. Not my thing. Some people I’ve known relish in debating everything from theological points to social issues. At one time, that was me. No more. 

Yet, we’re part of the pregnancy help community where controversy and rancor find us. But as we say in the South, we ain’t going anywhere. 

This fall I’ve been involved in 27 fundraising events for pregnancy help ministries, most virtual, some live. Jenn is now all in, too, recently speaking for a pregnancy help center’s virtual event. In a few weeks we’ll travel together to a live event. 

Here’s the question I ask myself: Why this tribe? There are plenty of opportunities with other groups. We can do the Christian thing and stay away from any uproars, right?

No, we can’t. Because to us at least, the pregnancy help community best represents how God uses unlikely heroes to change lives, shift narratives and revive a culture.

For proof of who God chooses, we can go to the Old Testament and find a harlot (Rahab) whom God called on to make a courageous decision which led to Israel’s first big conquest—that of Jericho. God didn’t use some courageous man to hide the Jewish spies, he offered the opportunity to a lady of the evening.

Rahab seized her opportunity, sheltering the spies. The result? Israel conquered Jericho; Rahab married a guy named Salmon. They produced Boaz, who married Ruth. Ruth gave birth to Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of King David. The line led directly to Jesus. Rahab, the unlikely hero in Jesus’ story.

New Testament examples? Let’s talk about a tax collector named Matthew who left his job after Jesus simply said, “Follow me.” This tax collector, this “sinner,” would write one of the four narratives we read today to show us how to follow Jesus. Again, unlikely.

Another? A Samaritan woman at a well, married five times and “shacking up” with some guy we never meet. Within minutes of beginning a conversation with this woman, Jesus tells her he is the promised messiah. She, like Rahab, seizes her opportunity and tells anyone who will listen. Several of her listeners choose to follow this man, Jesus. Jesus hangs around a couple of more days and even more follow. Simply put, this woman at the well—with a checkered past and an unsure present—went from skeptic to becoming one of Jesus’ first evangelists. Amazing. Another hero.

What about the pregnancy help community? Friends, we are full of unlikely heroes. We have staff, executive directors, board members and numerous leaders who once chose abortion—people who, if we want to throw stones, should never be close to a “pro-life” ministry. But this isn’t how God works. He chooses the unlikely and changes the world through them.

Tweet This: The pregnancy help community is full of unlikely heroes. God chooses the unlikely and changes the world through them.

In my work with pregnancy help organizations, I’ve talked to former drug addicts, alcoholics, those who made past decisions they tearfully regret. And again, I’m not talking about clients, I’m talking about our leaders. God works through these very people to reach others facing those same challenges and decisions. 

Me? I’m in “Unlikely Boat,” too. Forty-three years ago, I can remember—all too clearly—telling God, “If you are there, I do not want you to be part of my life.” Really. The story behind that is a long one, but trust me, I said it. Why would God give me an opportunity? But He did.

Today, I get to connect with thousands through email, phone, Zoom (can’t forget Zoom, right?), video and live events to share the hope I’ve found and how it relates to our mission to reach those facing unexpected pregnancies. Go figure. You want unlikely? Call me. I’m right here.

Our tribe is chock full of unlikely people. Because it seems God loves working through those who are discarded, wounded, struggling, challenged and . . . unlikely. 

While all of us carry our own giftings, we’re smart enough to realize, we’re not smart enough to do this work on our own. And though giftings are important, it’s things like love and vulnerability which truly move the needle. And these two characteristics define us better than anything else.

For Jenn and me, “Morning Coffee” always leads to interesting conversations and fascinating conclusions. One conclusion? Our tribe is the Pregnancy Help Community. It’s sometimes challenging, right? But like you, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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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