There are many ministry opportunities available for churches. Often, discerning where to devote time and energy can be a difficult task. There are a plethora of needs or issues to rally behind. Even within the specific context of pro-life issues, it can be difficult to narrow down the focus on how to effectively utilize congregational efforts. If your church is looking for a way to make a difference within a pro-life context, post-abortion support is a great place to start.
Caring Network offers healing and hope to women who are dealing with the aftermath of an abortion. Often feelings of anger, anxiety, regret, and guilt may accompany an abortion decision. By providing a faith-based program called Restore, we come alongside women and men on their path towards healing. If you’d like to learn more about the ministry of Caring Network, check out Our Work. If you or someone you know would benefit from the Restore program, contact Holly today.
POST-ABORTION SUPPORT AS PRO-LIFE MINISTRY
When considering “pro-life ministry” options, there may be specific opportunities that come to mind. Supporting a local pregnancy center, praying in front of abortion clinics, building a connection with a maternity home or single mom ministry are common options. But, have you considered becoming involved in post-abortion support?
Post-abortion support comes alongside men and women who have experienced the pain and suffering of abortion in the past. There are national programs, such as Ramah International, as well as local options offered through pregnancy resource centers. Also, many of these come from a Christian faith background; recognizing ultimate healing comes from God. Post-abortion support programs offer a chance for men and women to receive forgiveness and restoration. This serves to promote life – into eternity!
HOW TO GET YOUR CHURCH INVOLVED IN POST-ABORTION SUPPORT
Helping men and women heal from past abortions may seem like a worthy, but a daunting task. How do you even know where to start? Well, the great news is, there are plenty of ministries out there that need church support.
1. RAISE COMPASSION BY RAISING AWARENESS
Church culture can make an immense impact on a woman who discovers she is unexpectedly pregnant or has had an abortion. Your church has the opportunity to be, or continue to be, the safest place to turn to when a woman or man is suffering from post-abortion trauma.
Even within the Christian community, misconceptions abound regarding post-abortive women and men, causing them to feel unfairly judged. Survey results reveal that 65 percent of women who have had abortions say the church judges single, pregnant women. Shifting church culture by raising awareness through education and training can change that, ultimately decreasing abortions among churchgoers.
For many women, fear is at the root of an abortion choice. They often fear they won’t have the resources or support to continue their pregnancies in addition to fearing how their religious communities will respond to discovering they are single and pregnant.
For more than half of women, abortion didn’t feel like a choice at all; they were pressured, coerced, or forced to have abortions at the hands of people who should have protected them.
There is much focus on women who suffer after their abortions, but does your church know that men also grieve after an abortion? There are helpful materials available to educate people about the pain of abortion. Your church can consider hosting a book study such as “Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion” by Theresa Burke to raise awareness.
Sometimes, it isn’t a feeling of judgment that causes post-abortive women and men to feel uncomfortable in the church, but instead silence. When the topic of abortion isn’t spoken of in sermon messages or other times, a person who has had an abortion can interpret that to mean it’s so unmentionable that it needs to stay hidden. Yet, we know that what is brought into the light can be healed.
Knowing more than four of ten women who have abortions are regular church attenders, imagine your church culture feeling so safe to the women and men in your congregation that they would come to you as a haven when they’re struggling after an abortion. When they do, they can trust they will experience the compassion, grace, and love of Christ to heal their wounded hearts.
2. HOST A SUPPORT GROUP
One easy way for your church to get involved in post-abortion ministry is to offer to host a support group at your location. All you have to provide is a room for the program to meet in! You can even promote the program through your church announcements or bulletin, raising awareness within the congregation. Studies show that approximately 1 in 4 women will have had an abortion by the age of 45. In 2014, 54% of women who had an abortion had a Christian faith background. The likelihood that there are women and men in your congregation suffering from a past abortion is high. Offering to host a post-abortion support group at your church shows those congregants that you care.
3. OFFER A TESTIMONIAL SPEAKER
Another way to become involved in post-abortion support is to bring in a testimonial speaker. Often post-abortion support programs like Restore are staffed by volunteers. Many of the volunteers have had a personal experience with abortion. They want to share their stories of hope and healing so that others can experience the same. Offering a speaking engagement with the congregation during a regular service or specialized ministry event promotes the program while speaking to your church’s hearts.
These are just a few ways your church can become involved in post-abortion support. If you’d like to find out more, reach out to Caring Network today. We can connect you with opportunities to host a group at your church or a special testimonial speaker for your next event. Along with the above options, there are additional ways to get involved through prayer, volunteering, or partnership. Reach out to us and take the next step in congregation involvement!