What is the Purpose of Pregnancy Clinics?
Life-Affirming Pregnancy Clinics (also known as Pregnancy Resource Centers, or PRCs) were originally created to provide counseling, spiritual guidance, and referrals for medical care, adoption services, and financial assistance (read more about the history of PRCs in our article here). However, much has changed within the pro-life movement since those beginning days, leading many to ask, “Should Pregnancy Clinics still focus on sharing the gospel?”
Prioritizing Our Purpose
Every Clinic’s goal is to love and meet the needs of the women and men facing unplanned pregnancies in their community. How they should meet this goal, however, looks different depending on who you ask. After all, what does it truly mean to love someone, and what needs really need met? Should Clinics focus on the physical, or prioritize the spiritual? What leads to more babies saved, and are the salvations real anyways?
To answer these questions, let’s start with the foundation of our beliefs. Hebrews 13:14 says, “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” The Word of God clearly states that we are living for the Kingdom of Christ, not for the current world, and so we aim to display that belief in the way that we care and provide for others. The men and women that God brings into our Clinics are no exception.
By replacing the best priority, which is Jesus, with priorities such as mobile units, STD testing, men’s ministry, and prenatal care “as good as these things are“ we can unintentionally dilute the effectiveness of what’s most important, sharing the gospel. When we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, these good things WILL be added and provided for (Matthew 6:33). Ultimately, our ministry is to reconcile women to Jesus in their lifestyle (by choosing life for their preborn child) AND in eternity (by accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ).
When a woman is met with the support of Pregnancy Clinic staff and volunteers and encounters the radical love of her Savior, the choice becomes clear. She is no longer alone, scared, and unsure of her ability to care for a child. Instead, she is empowered, encouraged, and equipped to step into the role of a mother that the Lord has called her to. Truly there is no greater way to show a woman the sanctity of human life than by introducing her to the Author of it.
Putting Purpose into Practice
How then can we both prioritize and begin to share the gospel in Pregnancy Clinics? First, by listening. The most important thing to these men and women is to feel heard. For some of them, perhaps for the first time. Ask questions like, “what are your spiritual beliefs?” and, “if you died right now, where would you go?” Let them answer. When we listen, we build relationships and allow the love of God to be tangible in the room.
Once we’ve listened, we can begin to discern and disciple. Ask the Father what He would have you speak or what Scriptures He would have you share. Get in the habit of listening yet again, and boldly speak the words that have been given to you. He might bring a Bible passage to mind, or He might tune you into something that has been said that could be the very opening of the door into their heart. Trust and believe that God is in that counseling room with you.
You may even prepare passages ahead of time to have the Client read aloud. When we ask them to do this, the Holy Spirit, the very Author of the Word, is moving in their heart. They are seeing, hearing, and speaking Truth for themselves, and “(they) will know the Truth, and the Truth will set (them) free” (John 8:31).
Most importantly, however, is the final step — extending the invitation. Many people are ready to accept Christ’s offer of salvation, they just need to be asked. If we believe that every appointment is a Divine appointment, then we believe that God has already provided for this very moment. Ask them to believe and to act upon their faith, to allow Jesus into their hearts that day.
Ultimately, WE win over no one. Instead, we need the direct dependence and involvement of the Word of God and the Spirit of God in inviting people to Christ. He wants to do this more than we do. We need only be willing and faithful participants. God will do the rest.