USA (MNN) — Many churches are pro-life and even donate to pro-life organizations. But what does it mean to be holistically pro-life? And is simply giving money what it looks like to engage with life-honoring ministries?
Eric Verstraete, President and CEO of Life Matters Worldwide, says, “There’s a difference between the church being anti-abortion and actually being pro-life.” Caring for mothers and fathers facing unplanned pregnancies, providing tangible needs for struggling families, supporting adoption efforts — these are all just a few examples of what it means to champion life.
So how can believers better support these holistically pro-life efforts? Verstraete says it’s crucial for pro-life Christians to engage with pro-life ministries doing the work on the ground, and that’s often done best through your local church!
This year, Life Matters is rolling out a new church engagement model to better connect local churches with pregnancy care centers. Many of these churches already financially support their local pregnancy care center, but that may be it in terms of involvement and support.
Verstraete says a church that is fully engaged in supporting a ministry will do these five things:
- Pray for the ministry.
- Learn more about the ministry.
- Tell other people about the ministry.
- Serve alongside the ministry.
- Give financially to the ministry.
“Notice that four of those five have absolutely nothing to do with money,” Verstraete says. “I think that’s really important. Most churches, when nonprofits or ministries come to them and ask them to be involved, most churches believe that that ministry is coming and asking for their money.
“Now, do these nonprofits need money to survive? Absolutely. They need to keep the lights on. They need to pay their staff. They need to do programming. They need to have marketing material to let people know that they’re there. But this engagement model is so much bigger than just trying to get money in the door.”
Life Matters is piloting their new church engagement model by working with four pro-life ministries in West Michigan. They asked the ministry directors about local churches that already support their ministries and collected information on how those churches could get more involved. Then Life Matters will work to educate and strengthen those relationships.
Verstraete says, “With those five parts — pray, learn, tell, serve, give — we are creating binders for each one of these ministries [so] that they can individually say, ‘This is how you can pray for us very specifically. Here’s how you can learn more about us. Please come and have a tour of our buildings so you understand more of who we are and what we do. Here’s some very specific marketing material so you can tell other people about us. And would we be able to come and speak at your churches to educate people more? Here [are] service opportunities — specific things that you can do to serve alongside us. And then here [are] very specific needs that we have when it comes to giving financially.’”
Life Matters’ new church engagement model also takes the pressure off church staff and encourages congregants to step up.
“Church staff are already overworked and underpaid, just like the pregnancy resource center staff and we get that. So we’re going to be going to pastors and we’re going to be introducing this model to them…. Then we’re going to give them a specific binder to say, ‘Here’s what this looks like. But do you have…a champion within your church who we could talk to to really begin to champion this idea of engagement within your church?’”
If you want to learn more about this new church engagement model and how your church or pro-life ministry could get involved, contact Life Matters at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call 616-257-6800 and ask for Eric Verstraete. He says, “I’m happy to talk anybody through it!”
Also, please pray for Life Matters as they pilot this new church engagement model. This process, along with many other things, has been complicated by the current COVID-19 crisis. Ask God to provide for their financial and staffing needs as a ministry during this time. Pray for relationships between churches and pro-life ministries to be strengthened so they can serve like Jesus and ultimately proclaim the Gospel.
If you would like to support Life Matters’ ministry, click here!
Header graphic courtesy of johnhain via Pixabay.