Welcome to Next Steps! The Making Life Disciples training has given you the background you need to offer compassion, hope, help, and discipleship to people facing pregnancy decisions. This can benefit you and your community in many ways, even if it simply allows you to help a family member or someone you are already discipling through a difficult time.
Strengthen preventative efforts in your church related to the pro-life cause. For example, how is your church training the next generation to embrace biblical sexuality? We recommend:
- Axis.com - A website and app for connecting parents, teens & Jesus in a disconnected world. Gives parents and mentors hope by being a guide through culture into a conversation around Jesus.
- Thewholesextalk.com - An online course that gives parents the motivation, confidence, and tools to talk to their kids about sex.
- God's Design for Sex Series - A parent’s guide, and four age-appropriate books that enable families to develop a healthy dialogue about sexuality.
Building a life team at your church takes prayer and perseverance. Don't worry if you only have a few people who want to join at first. God can multiply your efforts and provide the increase. Determine to meet regularly even if it is to just spend time in prayer seeking God's provisions. As He leads, make note of what resources are already in place to serve this mission field.
"Success is when preparation meets opportunity." This being the case, gather a list of resources in your community. Again, life decisions need life support. Consider needs that those facing an unplanned pregnancy might have: transportation, housing, counseling, job placement, food, finances, etc. Consult your local pregnancy center or other ministries as well so you don't have to reinvent the wheel.
One of the most important milestones in implementing Making Life Disciples is to have your team build a relational bridge between a church point person and a pregnancy center point person that is sufficiently focused and strong enough to implement systems and processes that connect center clients with local church discipleship. Your church and center can then work together to answer this question: How will you connect clients with the flourishing that comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ and discipleship in a local church? Again, ministry flows at the speed of trust and it may take you 1-2 years to get to this step but it will be well worth it!
Remember, you are not alone. Our support team is also here to help. Sign up at the bottom of the get involved page on this site and we will connect you with one of our regional coordinators.
FAQ's for a Making Life Disciples (MLD) Team
Question #1: Should an MLD team member ever refer to an abortion provider?
Answer: MLD ministries in churches must align with the values of Care Net-affiliated pregnancy centers, which do not refer for or provide abortions. If a client is transitioned to a church and someone from the MLD ministry assists them in getting an abortion, it will distort and destroy the integrity the ministry resource Making Life Disciples, as well as the church/pregnancy center partnership.
Question #2: Should an MLD team member ever accompany or encourage someone else to accompany a woman to an appointment with an abortion provider?
In the movie Bella, a friend accompanies a woman to an abortion clinic even though he is against what she is planning to do. In this fictitious account, the woman ends up not going through with the abortion. The scene implies that what that the friend did was wise and compassionate. Presumably, his thinking was that Christianity is about relationships and, above all else, he wanted to preserve the relationship with the woman; to say, "even if you make the wrong choice, I will not abandon you." Isn't it good that the friend was willing to do this and aren't his actions consistent with Jesus who ate with sinners (e.g. Matthew 9:10-13)?
Answer: No. The MLD ministry will be greatly damaged if someone takes a church member to get an abortion. Here's why:
• As Christians, we are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). In other words, love and truth must always go together. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 gives great guidance on this. It says that love is patient and kind (compassionate) and it rejoices with the truth. In the case of abortion, what is the truth? The child in the womb is created in the image of God and to kill the child rejects God's call to protect the vulnerable. And this is why Jesus' eating with sinners does not apply: eating is a morally neutral act; taking human life is not.
• Knowing the physical, emotional and spiritual consequences of sin, Jesus did not participate in sin or facilitate the sin of others. Instead, he actively encouraged others to avoid sin. Yet, when people denied him by their choices, he was there afterward, as he was with Peter (John 21:15-17), to lovingly restore them.
• Here's another way to think about it. A con man or woman is patient and kind. That is how he or she gains your confidence. (Con man actually stands for confidence man.) But, a con man is not loving because he (or she) does not rejoice with the truth.
• Or imagine a scenario where a "Life Disciple" takes someone else's daughter in the church to get an abortion and the parents find out. Given the commitment to confidentiality, this kind of thing could certainly happen. Moreover, since MLD is an extension of Care Net, the church, and the pastoral team, a "Life Disciple" should never do something that misrepresents or could damage these relationships.
• People have a tendency to blame others for the mistakes that they make, or not take responsibility for their own mistakes. If you think about it, that's something that is always part of an abortion decision: an unborn child dies to cover or get rid of "the mistakes" of another. Therefore, if someone has an abortion and an MLD team member—who is supposed to be against abortion—assists in some way, it is easy to see how he or she could be blamed rather than celebrated for being there.
• Finally and related to this, a person who takes a woman for an abortion may be haunted by guilt in the future. For all of us, even if our intention is to be "nice" or supportive, we need to be careful we don't fall into sin. Galatians 6:1 applies: "Dear brothers and sisters if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself." (NLT) An abortion is something we don't want to be part of or have on our conscience. In a scenario like that, Satan always tries to destroy hope in us by despair. In other words, we might easily be able to forgive the woman who had the abortion, but not ourselves.
If you are asked to accompany someone to an abortion appointment, a good response is: "I am here for you. And I would love to support you and the child growing inside of you in any way that I can. I just can't be a part of anything that would bring harm to either of you. I would love to be part of exploring any and every realistic alternative to the choice you are considering. I believe with all my heart that your unborn child is life worth sacrificing for, not a life worth sacrificing. Also, know that if you do decide to go through with your decision to have an abortion, I will not abandon you. I will still be here for you for whatever support you may need in the future. But I can't assist you with your abortion."
Question #3: Since adoption is always a better option than abortion, should MLD team members be open to referring children to same-sex couples?
Answer: No. Care Net upholds the biblical view of marriage, which is between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24). Additionally, since Care Net's pro-life ethic is tied to a larger Pro Abundant Life vision, the integrity of the MLD vision is linked to both the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage and family as God designed them. Again, for more on this, watch Care Net's President and CEO Roland Warren speak on Care Net's Pro Abundant Life vision.
Expand Your Ministry
MAKING LIFE DISCIPLES' LIFE-AFFIRMING PARTNERS
These ministry partners all have excellent resources that can educate, train, and further equip your team.
Healing Resources for Abortion Recovery
Forgiven and Set Free is a world-renowned Bible study by Linda Cochrane – Executive Director of Hopeline Women's Center in Danbury, Connecticut, Linda is associated with the term PACE (Post-Abortion Counseling and Education) that addresses post-abortion trauma and recovery.
My Ashes to Beauty is a ministry that integrates the Word of God, prayer, recovery tools, and a safe, loving environment for women to share their abortion stories. Their site hosts blogs to read and meditate on, resources, information about a weekly Sunday afternoon Christ-centered topical conference call, Bible studies, and individual support when needed. All inquiries are confidential. Ministry verses are Isa. 61:1-3
SaveOne offers help for men, women, and family members/friends, through group study, online study, or answering questions and giving encouragement through self-study. They have a Bible-based curriculum that was written by our founder Sheila Harper. Sheila chose abortion in 1985 for her first child and lived with mental and emotional anguish for seven years following that choice. Their book is written from her personal experience of healing after abortion. Check out their "Success Stories" to see what other people are saying about the help SaveOne gave them.
Building a Culture of Relational Apologetics Around MLD
Equal Rights Institute - Equal Rights Institute trains pro-life advocates to think clearly, reason honestly, and argue persuasively. They use speaking, writing, podcasts, campus outreach, and online courses to equip pro- life people in the areas of practical dialogue tips, pro-life philosophy, and relational apologetics. They believe that the pro-life movement becoming more loving and thoughtful is a necessary (although not sufficient) condition to change our culture enough to end legal abortion. This is why they speak so often on relational apologetics, which they define as “cultivating relationships with people who have different beliefs, for the sake of genuine friendship and for discovering truth together.”
Building a Gospel-Centered Team Around MLD
Churches for Life - The mission of Churches for Life is to nourish churches as gospel-driven champions of life. Their distinctive focus is to start Life Teams in churches who work with the church leadership to equip their congregation to honor and dignify all life from conception to natural death. Churches for Life trains Life Teams and then provides support and encouragement through ongoing coaching. Their three passions are 1) The gospel of Jesus Christ 2) the local church and 3) championing life.
Discipleship Content/Event for the End-User
Embrace Grace - Embrace Grace is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed to provide emotional, practical and spiritual support for single, young women who find themselves in an unintended pregnancy. The primary goal of Embrace Grace is to empower churches across the nation to be a safe and non-judging place for the girls to run to when they find out they are pregnant, instead of the last place they are welcomed because of shame and guilt.
The Vox Project wants to inspire and equip pastors and ministry leaders to lead the way in speaking the truth about abortion with grace and compassion. Through prayer and fasting, compelling videos from prominent Christian leaders, a film, and other resources, Vox seeks to get churches engaged in the life issue.