Pregnancy centers are commonplace now in our cities and towns. These centers of hope of a life yet to be born have contributed to the steady decline of abortions in the past decade. Churches and evangelicals alike praise their existence, from a distance. The sad reality of pregnancy centers are they lack volunteer and church involvement to see the family in need through all stages of their life, not just a pregnancy.
On a recent trip the leaders of a local pregnancy center told us they desire to connect young mothers and families to the local church. These are Christian brothers and sisters on the front lines of saving lives, yet they feel alone in their battle. The sad irony of our pregnancy center leaders feeling isolated and alone as they reach out to mothers who feel the same should be heart-breaking to any Christ follower. Something has to change and it starts with each one of us. Nearly 40% of all families in our community are single parent families. Does your church reflect that statistic? To see single parent families connected to your church, here are some strategies for empowering our pregnancy centers beyond resources:
Connect with a Pregnancy Center
Not every church has a pregnancy center connection but they should. Establish that connection or find the one your congregation has and reach out to their leaders. While volunteering at the center may be where you feel led, we think everyone should be able to take the next step after connecting with a center.
Develop a Connection Pathway to Your Church
Pregnancy center leaders tell us that the amount of churches willing and committed to connecting these young mothers and families to a church is embarrassing. We simply are not doing enough as a church to empower these leaders with a pathway to a church home for their clients. Your church can distribute information about your congregation, but the most effective method is to go in person, meet the pregnancy center client with their permission, and greet them at your church when they come. We are talking about taking time to hold the hand of family and connect them to your church family, potentially changing changing their family lineage for generations to come.
So You Want to Grow Your Church?
Growth strategies for churches come and go, but the core messaging is the same. To reach people you have to go where people are! They will not come to you, and in our culture that is growing increasingly true as fewer Americans identify with church as a social norm. We propose this method of reaching into the lives of a mother and family in need is not only a Kingdom win, but one that will grow your church numerically as well. It may seem crass, but churches live in the reality of needing to add people to grow or they cease to be relevant. We think starting with pregnancy centers is a place where life change happens; would you want those lives in your church family?
In a generation when parachurch organizations can be very effective in reaching people where they are, churches have nothing to lose in extending an open hand. Worst case, the mother never visits your church but you shared God’s love and were welcoming. Potentially, one conversation and invitation could change generations of lives to follow Christ.