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November 12, 2017 is
Orphan Sunday

 

Community Clergy Training
from the VA -
Pastoral care for rural
veterans and families.
Various locations/dates.

 

 

 

 

 

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Abortion

Many Americans can recall exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Over 2,700 people who boarded airplanes or went to work that morning did not make it home.

What if an event of that magnitude happened every day in the United States? Following 9/11, volunteers and extra rescue personnel were on hand to help. Church attendance increased, and prayer vigils were held. If that many people were being killed each day, would the Church want to find ways to intervene?

The reality is that over 2,000 Americans are being killed each day. In the nation's abortion clinics, over 2,000 people each day are deprived of the chance to live, love, and contribute productively to society. Equally tragic, a corresponding number of women live with the emotional and physical consequences, often with very minimal information and support as they make the decision of how to handle an unintended pregnancy.

Isn't it time for the Church to act?

 

Are you facing a pregnancy decision? Do you need information about your options?

A pregnancy care/pregnancy help center is a great place to start. Most offer a free pregnancy test, free ultrasound screening, and confidential counseling to help you understand your options. Visit Ramah International's "Help in Your Area" map to find a center near you.

Option Line from Heartbeat International - Talk to a caring counselor via live chat, text, email, or phone to learn more about your options for an unintended pregnancy and get a referral to a pregnancy help center near you. Text HELPLINE to 313131 or call 1-800-712-4357. You can also read privately about how to find out for sure if you're pregnant, what to do if someone is pressuring you to have an abortion, and other questions you may have.

Pregnancy Decision Line from Care Net - Browse this informative site privately for answers to things like "How do I know if I'm pregnant?" or "How can I get care if I don't have insurance?" Or call 877-791-5475 to talk with someone who can explain your options, send you information, and help you find care in your local area.

Has someone you know taken the first dose of the abortion pill and is now regretting their decision? It may not be too late! Talk to an experienced nurse about abortion pill reversal at 877-558-0333.

Do you, or someone you know, need a supportive environment during a pregnancy? Highlands Maternity Home, an Assemblies of God ministry located in the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks, provides a supportive Christian environment to plan for the future with life skills, educational opportunities, parenting classes, and adoption resources. If leaving your current home or school is not an option, you can access the training and support online with Highlands Connect.

 

Statistics and FAQs

Who is having abortions, and why? How many women, of what ages? Are they mostly single or married? Have they experienced assault or domestic violence? Knowing the facts and statistics for your community can help you decide how to best get involved.

Care Net's Top 40 Abortion Statistics - Compiled by the pro-life pregnancy help center coalition Care Net, this free downloadable is a thorough reference tool, with links to the primary sources.

Abortion Surveillance from the national Centers for Disease Control - Data compiled by the CDC from 49 reporting areas (most states plus New York City and the District of Columbia) helps provide a picture of what is going on in various communities or parts of the country.

Guttmacher Institute - Originally founded as the Center for Family Planning Development in response to concerns about overpopulation and unwanted pregnancy, this pro-choice institute provides accurate statistics along with an interesting look at pro-choice analysis of state and federal policies relating to reproduction and family planning.

 

How can the Church help?

U.S. Missions, as a division of the Assemblies of God, holds a strongly pro-life position in agreement with the Assemblies of God position paper, "Sanctity of Human Life: Abortion." We believe there are many ways concerned Christians and churches can be actively pro-life in their communities:

- Practical and emotional support for women facing a difficult or unexpected pregnancy.

- Healing support for post-abortive women, as well as for the men involved. 

- Loving but truthful sermons and educational materials about what an abortion entails.

- Preventative programs such as relationship skills, finances, and fatherhood, to address circumstances contributing to abortion.

- Adoption education and support. (See more about this topic here.)

- Support for pregnancy help centers in the community (see "5 Things Pastors Need to Know about Pregnancy Centers" from Care Net).

- Hosting or sponsoring an educational event.

For more detail, see the U.S. Missions Philosophy of Ministry on this topic. Also see this recent post from the Care Net blog, "When Pro-Life Words Become Flesh," about why it is important to combine caring support with our pro-life voice.

 

Speakers and U.S. Missionaries

Trisha Porter - Trisha works alongside her husband Eric Porter, a U.S. Missions specialized chaplain, equipping the church in adoption and foster care ministry. Contact Trisha about sharing her personal testimony and her heart for the important work of abortion prevention and healing. 

 

Curriculum and church training

Acts of Grace - Bible studies for those needing help following sexual abuse or abortion. Written by a former U.S. missionary who is now a pastor, incorporating her personal testimony of God's grace in recovery from abuse, this compassionate but intense study is intended for small groups. The study is available on Amazon, or click here to request leadership training materials.

Embrace Grace - Equipping the church to be a safe, supportive place for young women who find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy and make the brave decision to keep their babies. Curriculum and other resources including the Love Box.

From Care Net - "Making Life Disciples" - Churches can offer this video training series to help address underlying issues and equip couples to make life-affirming choices. Additional resources include an informative, timely blog and free downloadable e-books.

"Life Is Best" DVD - Highly recommended by several leading pro-life and apologetics ministries, this series of 13 episodes plus study guide is a great way to equip your family, Sunday school, small group, or youth group with the truth about abortion and how to answer the pro-choice position with reasoned, biblically sound arguments.

"Church Toolkit" - from The Human Coalition - Sermon suggestions, online and media resources, videos, and more for increasing congregational awareness, motivating volunteers, and showing grace and compassion to women and men in the church whose past includes abortion.

"Activate Your Church" section from Heartbeat International - Regardless of your church's size or budget, you'll find helpful tips on things you can do or say right now to make a difference for life, in your town or worldwide.

Ramah International offers resources for recovery support ministry leaders, including free downloadables.

Counseling Quick Reference Guides and other print and downloadable materials from Hope for the Heart - affordable, pocket-sized booklets to keep on hand for a variety of life challenges and family crisis situations.

The 180 Program - Does your church have a heart for the hurting, homeless, poor, recently incarcerated, or those facing crisis pregnancies? So many social issues are intertwined, and this comprehensive program helps you provide multi-faceted healing and crisis ministry.

 

Healing and recovery

Because of the tremendous variation in emotions experienced by post-abortive women and the efforts of the pro-choice movement to minimize the harmful effects of abortion on the mother, abortion PTSD remains difficult to measure or define. (See this blog post, "8 Reasons Post-Abortive Women Cannot Be Researched," for an excellent discussion.) However, with an estimated one in three American women having experienced abortion, chances are high that any Christian gathering or local church will include post-abortive women and their families. Whether in a public setting or a counseling situation, or in need of help for yourself or a friend, remember that no sin, including aborting a child, is beyond the reach of God's love and forgiveness. The following resources, many developed with the input of post-abortive women, may be helpful as women and families journey toward forgiveness and abundant life in Christ.

Abortion Recovery Program from Ramah International - This 9-week study is written by Sydna Masse, a leading voice in post-abortion healing and recovery and the former manager of crisis pregnancy ministries for Focus on the Family. It addresses the many emotions involved in healing and the grief process, and incorporates Bible study into each week. The "Her Choice to Heal" website, separate from the group study, offers private online sessions and a safe place for those grieving an abortion to share and discuss their journey.

Music for the Soul - "A Christian ministry using the power of songs and stories as a bridge to hope and healing . . . ." Their latest project, "Mercy Great Enough," is designed to help heal women and men struggling with guilt and shame over an abortion.

PastorCare - Church leadership families are not immune to family crises, and sometimes may think there is nowhere to turn. This organization exists to serve pastors and leaders who need help, and is particularly helpful for pastors' daughters.

Save One - Hope and connections for men and women who may be suffering in silence following an abortion. Get started with their free downloadable e-book, "Abortion and You," with a journal and 5-day reading plan, and use their state-by-state locator to find a healing group near you.

Hope for the Heart - Scripturally-based counseling at 800-488-HOPE for anyone dealing with a difficult life issue. Special events and free downloads to help with the healing journey.

 

Coalitions, events, and other resources

Heartbeat International - Support network for pregnancy help centers worldwide. Support includes training and certification materials, job postings for centers, pregnancy help center management software, and fellowship and encouragement at the annual conference. The Option Line puts those facing a difficult pregnancy decision in immediate contact with a caring worker via text, live chat, or phone, with links to additional help and a local affiliate center. 

Care Net - This nonprofit organization supports a network of pregnancy help centers throughout North America, plus the Decision Line real-time call center. Their mission encompasses not only saving the unborn, but promoting abundant life for families, making sure each woman and man involved in a pregnancy decision has access to life-affirming, Christ-centered resources.

The Love Chromosome - Hosted by Derrick Tennant, a gifted athlete who became partially paralyzed following a mysterious illness, and his sister Julie, who has Down Syndrome. Their website and blog is joyfully pro-life, and they travel as motivational speakers showing that people with disabilities are not a burden to their families and society, but rather they live victorious lives and have fun!

Movie: Voiceless - In this feature-length movie, a recently-discharged veteran must confront his own pain and make costly personal choices when his new job as outreach director for an inner-city church lands him right across the street from an abortion clinic. Church kits and outreach tools are available.

TED Talk by Karen Gaffney - This young woman's accomplishments, such as swimming the English Channel and receiving an honorary doctorate, would be impressive in any scenario. The fact that she has Down Syndrome makes her a powerful voice for stating that every life has value.

Pro Life Doc - An obstetrician shares the truth about abortion, using compelling case histories to demonstrate that the unborn are patients too. After buying a clinical practice that formerly provided abortions, Dr. Lile now puts the equipment to use in educational videos to show audiences the brutality of abortions.

National Fatherhood Initiative - Programs and curriculum to help your church or support group equip men to be good fathers. Resources available for non-custodial dads as well as those new to the parenting journey. Addresses tough topics like finances and domestic violence. Their app, "Fathering in 15," is a great tool for one-on-one coaching, individual study, or group use.

Evangelicals for Life - Challenging all Christians to speak up for the value of every human life in every context. Listen to inspiring presentations from the 2017 conference and March for Life, and find out how to register for the 2018 event.

Divine ID - This ministry helps women move beyond the shame and sexual brokenness that often result from abuse, and discover their true identity in Christ.

Students for Life - Training, local groups, legislative updates, and more, designed for involvement among high school and college students and young adults. Website has special sections for medical students and law students.

Save the Storks - Partnering with local pregnancy help centers, churches, and other groups to outfit mobile ultrasound units. By going where the need is--college campuses, the street near abortion clinics, outreach events--Save the Storks gives women the chance to see their baby via ultrasound, for free. 4 out of 5 women using the mobile service choose life for their babies!

Last Days Ministries - The ministry founded by the late Christian music artist Keith Green includes an active pro-life component, Americans Against Abortion. Read insightful, challenging articles by Keith's widow, Melody Green, and other Christian leaders, or order materials for pro-life outreach. This ministry was an early voice in the pro-life movement and is still a timely message today.

And Then There Were None - Coalition of former abortion clinic workers whose goal is to end abortion "from the inside out" by showing grace and understanding to clinic workers and helping them to leave the industry.

National Association of Pro-Life Nurses - Nurses face an increasing array of ethical dilemmas as they work with newborns, the elderly, or the sick. This organization unites and equips nurses who are committed to speaking up and making the right decision.

Focus on the Family - Pro-life resources, podcasts, and literature.

Vitae Foundation - Using scientifically informed, right-brain research to craft a compelling pro-life message.

Certification in Pro-Life Training and Applied Bioethics from Oklahoma Wesleyan University - Online courses with a one-week summer intensive on campus. Equip yourself to work in sociological and ethics fields or to advocate for pro-life causes.


Adoption

Adoption is the caring solution to an unplanned pregnancy when the birth parents are unable to care for a child. In addition to the following resources, find more information on our adoption/foster care resource page, including U.S. missionaries whose ministry is in this area.

Lifetime Adoption - Comprehensive, compassionate, caring, faith-based. You'll find these at this website, with real-life stories from birth parents, profiles of couples hoping to adopt, information about how the process works, and much more. Chat online or by email or call the Adoption Answers line, 530-432-7373. If you are praying about becoming an adoptive parent, you'll want to explore this site and read the book, Called to Adoption: A Christian's Guide to Answering the Call."

LovesChoice.com - An honest look at the "painful beauty" of adoption, with real stories from real parents and birth mothers. Includes planning tools and links to state laws.

 


School programs and other prevention materials 

Ascend - Equipping youth to make healthy decisions about relationships, sex, and pop culture by avoiding risky activities. Membership gives access to regular news updates and training materials. Consider certification as a Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist.

Abstinence Clearinghouse - Are you tired of the constant media message saying today's youth can't be taught to make good choices, respect, or moral values? Abstinence Clearinghouse brings together individuals and groups who want to promote an abstince-until-marriage message. Their resources are suitable for school use and teach kids that "everybody's not doing it."

Healthy Relationships Check-up - Intimate partner abuse is a contributing factor in many abortions, as the abuser sees controlling a pregnancy outcome as another way to manipulate or control the victim. This simply written, low-literacy checklist from LEAP (Look to End Abuse Permanently) can help a woman considering abortion to assess whether she is safe in a relationship, or makes a good prevention tool and conversation starter with young women in schools or youth groups.

You Have Options - short film featuring three women, one of whom chose abortion, one adoption, and one to parent her baby. Honest and raw emotion. Suitable for use in schools or youth groups.

The 180 Program - "Be a part of the solution." Get equipped to offer training in reentry, finances, smart relationships, and other skills that help prevent a pregnancy from being a crisis.

The mission of Birth of a Family is to "complete family circles with fathers." One in four children in the United States presently grow up without a father present in the home. These resources complement other ministry programs to increase father involvement and equip men to take responsibility.

The Whole Sex Talk - Biblically-based small group study to equip parents to talk to their kids. Incorporates scripture, science, and medical data for a factual and relevant discussion that helps steer kids toward good choices.

The Center for Relationship Education - Variety of age-appropriate curriculum suitable for school, group, retreat, or corporate settings.

 

The abortion/sex trafficking/violence connection

Abortion is the ugly behind-the-scenes story of the sex trafficking industry. Find out what Women at Risk International is doing to help, Attend or host their Civilian First Responder training to learn how to watch for signs of sex trafficking in your community.

As many as half of women obtaining abortions are doing so either due to lack of support from the father of the child or because they are being forced to. See our page of resources for domestic violence for more information about supporting women who are in unhealthy relationships and helping them to find options.

 

Suggested books and articles

Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion - by Sydna Masse
The author draws on her personal journey to counsel post-abortive women through the difficult journey of denial, anger, grief, and pain, to forgiveness and redemption. Practical, scriptural, and compassionate. A companion recovery guide is also available.

Transforming Your Story: A Path to Healing After Abortion - by Wendy Giancola
The author draws on biblical and personal stories of redemption to help the journey of healing begin. A facilitator's guide is available for support group use.

"The Opioid Crisis Is the Pro-Life Issue Evangelicals Aren't Talking About" - Thought-provoking essay about why anyone claiming a pro-life position should be engaged in the community effort to combat the opioid addiction epidemic.

"Having A Child with Down Syndrome Is Good for Your Marriage" - Reflecting on the number of babies that are aborted following a diagnosis of Down Syndrome, a father reflects on the ways he and his wife have grown closer and learned valuable spiritual and practical lessons from raising their daughter. Cites research indicating that couples who have a child with Down Syndrome have a lower divorce rate than couples whose children have no disabilities. From the CRCNA Disability Concerns network.

From the Care Net blog - "Five Promises Abortion Couldn't Keep" - Through the years, pro-abortion activists have argued that abortion would reduce child abuse, divorce, poverty, and illegitimate births, and increase opportunities for women. Has this happened?

One popular abortionist says that the teachings of Jesus compel him to provide abortions for poor women, comparing abortion restrictions to the control exercised over black women by slaveholders. This blog post examines that comparison and explains why it fails to stand up to the light of Scripture.

When working with crisis pregnancy clients, is it important to present the gospel or discuss lifestyle? Check the Care Net blog regularly for discussion such as "Does the Gospel Matter When Helping Women and Men Choose Life?" or "Want to Stop Abortion? Promote Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood." 

 


View additional ministry topics and resource sharing guidelines here.

 

 

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