EDITOR’S NOTE: Sunday, Jan. 17, is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday in the Southern Baptist Convention.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Is your church pro-life? As a body, are you encouraging each other not only to think in a pro-life way but also to act in a pro-life way?
Undeniably, Christians have been the backbone of the pro-life movement since its inception. If more churches would harness their membership and organizational power on behalf of pro-life causes, however, perhaps the tide could be turned in America and we would once again live in a society that values every human life.
Let’s think about some practical ways your church members can be pro-life.
Teach your children
“Impress these words of Mine on your hearts and souls … teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19).
Explain to your children from an early age why human life is sacred. Impress upon them that humans are made in the image of God, who loves and has a purpose for every person. In age-appropriate ways, prepare them to defend the pro-life ethic.
Pray for a pro-life ministry
“In everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
The pro-life ministries in your area covet your prayers! Pregnancy care centers, Baptist children’s homes, Christian nursing homes and adoption agencies are just a few of the pro-life ministries that depend on God’s grace and the prayers of His people. Most will joyfully provide you with a list of their prayer concerns.
Support a pregnancy care center
“Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling toward slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11).
Pregnancy care centers typically have a paid director and some paid staff, but they could not function without an army of volunteers. If your church members have skills such as nursing, sonography, counseling, fundraising, graphic design, etc., your local pregnancy care center probably needs their help.
Establish a mentoring organization
“Whoever welcomes one little child such as this in My name welcomes Me. And whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me, but Him who sent Me” (Mark 9:37).
The National Fatherhood Initiative reported that 23.3 percent of children lived in single-mother families in 2006. Many single parents are eager to find Christian role models for their children. In the past, parents looked to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America; that organization now requires that every local affiliate accept homosexuals as mentors. You could establish a Christian mentoring organization within your congregation, being diligent to implement measures to protect the children from abuse.
Provide relief for stressed caregivers
“Blessed are the merciful, because they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
Parents of special needs children and adult caregivers of the elderly or disabled live in stressful environments. For some, everyday errands must be scheduled when a relief caregiver is available, and the opportunity to attend church is priceless. Perhaps Sunday School classes or other small groups could share this responsibility. Some churches have had success with a regularly scheduled monthly night of care and activities for special needs children and adults, allowing a few hours away for their regular caregivers.
Support foster and adoptive families
“Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27).
Children across the United States and around the world are in need of families to be a part of for a short while or a lifetime. Evangelical Christian social workers have long lamented the lack of Christian foster and adoptive families, people willing to share their homes, their hearts and their love for Christ with vulnerable children. People in your church can form a loose fellowship or an organized group to promote awareness of the needs and support the families who make these children a part of their lives.
Remember senior adults
“You are to rise in the presence of the elderly and honor the old” (Leviticus 19:32).
The aging Baby Boomer generation coupled with advances in health care have produced a growing senior population. Ministry to the senior adults in your area will be a blessing to all involved. Make an effort to connect the younger families in your church with the senior adults. Encourage them to keep in touch, help with household tasks and errands, and share special days together.
Volunteer with a hospice
“Carry one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2).
Many people find great fulfillment in giving their time to help improve the lives of those who are terminally ill. Volunteers can provide companionship, do light housekeeping or use their skills and talents to improve the quality of life for both patients and their families.
Express your opinion
“You are the light of the world … let your light shine before men” (Matthew 5:14,16).
Issues regarding the sanctity of human life are constantly being debated in the media and in local, state and federal government. These issues include abortion, genetic engineering, stem cell research, reproductive technology, sexuality education, marriage, child welfare, euthanasia and assisted suicide, insurance regulations, etc. Keep your congregation informed of these issues and provide contact information for your state and federal legislators, government agencies and the media. The statement “All politics is local” is true because people in politics usually are very sensitive to the people who voted them into office. School boards have changed their policies on abstinence education because one citizen took a stand, and legislators have been known to vote a particular way on an issue because of just a handful of correspondence.
Give to the Psalm 139 Project
“For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).
The Psalm 139 Project gives women in crisis pregnancies a “window” into the world of the children they are carrying by helping pregnancy care centers secure sonogram machines. One hundred percent of the funds given to the Psalm 139 Project are used to purchase and place sonogram machines and for the ongoing work of the fund. The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission provides the administrative oversight as a part of its ongoing Cooperative Program-funded ministry. Your tax-deductible gifts can be sent to the “Psalm 139 Project,” c/o ERLC, 901 Commerce St., Suite 550, Nashville, TN 37203. An acknowledgment and proper accounting of your gift will be provided. Visit psalm139project.org (where you can give online through PayPal) or contact the ERLC (1-800-475-9127) for more information.
Celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday
“A truthful witness rescues lives.” (Proverbs 14:25).
The Southern Baptist Convention observes Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on the third Sunday in January. This date was chosen to both mourn the children lost to abortion since the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade in January 1973 and remind us that there is much work to be done before all human life will once again be cherished in America. Host a pro-life speaker on that Sunday and allow local pro-life organizations to promote their work. A free bulletin insert can be downloaded at www.ilivevalues.com/life and other materials may be purchased at www.familybookstore.net.
“We just don’t have the influence we once did,” some pro-life Christians lament. How does God expect us to remedy that situation? The answer is simple: Go to work for Him. Whether you are a caregiver, mentor, prayer warrior or parent with enough love for just one more, He is calling you to stand up for Him. “Here I am” are words He is longing to hear.
Karen Cole is an editor at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.