The “pillars” that hold up this pro-abundant life movement are found in the gospels: family and discipleship.
God’s Design for Family
Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus is the most famous “unplanned pregnancy” in history; it was certainly unplanned from Mary’s perspective. But when she was visited by the angel Gabriel, she bravely chose life without hesitation when she said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true” (Luke 1:38).
But God did not stop there. God sent the same angel to Joseph to tell him to be a husband to Mary and a father to the child growing inside of her, in that order! (Matthew 1: 20-21).
The Creator of marriage and family understood that the best environment for raising a child was within the shelter of a loving marriage, even when the child was Jesus.
This story teaches us that we should not be against abortion – nor fight abortion – based solely on the premise that it is a violation of the sanctity of human life, but also because it is a violation of the sanctity of marriage and the family as God designed them.
God’s Call to Discipleship
God’s intervention illustrates the transformative power that only a relationship with Him can bring. Both Mary and Joseph were overwhelmed by the compassion that God gave them in a difficult situation, and their subsequent actions – choosing life, traveling to Bethlehem to give birth, fleeing to Egypt to avoid Herod, returning to Nazareth (Matthew 1:18 – 2:23) – were shaped by His immeasurable grace.
This reality illustrates the need for pro-life ministries to make the sharing of the gospel part and parcel of their work to end abortion. Evangelism can’t be an afterthought or an option, but instead, it must be recognized as the game-changer it is. However, evangelism is only the first step towards full transformation. The next step is discipleship, the second pillar of the pro-abundant life movement.
The story of Christ’s final interaction with his disciples shows us how to round out our work. In Matthew 28:16-20, Christ gives his disciples the Great Commission, to “go and make disciples of all the nations” and to “teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.”
Today, the institution charged with making and teaching disciples is the Church. However, few churches are proactively engaged in pro-life ministry. Instead, para-church ministries have emerged to take ownership of this critical work. But what is truly needed is para-church ministries working alongside churches to end abortion.
Ministries like pregnancy centers, which can do evangelism, are designed to work with women and men during pregnancy and maybe for a short time after delivery. But discipleship is a long-term process that can only be handled by the church and the community of Christians.
This is why Care Net has developed Making Life Disciples (www.makinglifedisciples.com), the first and only curriculum designed to equip the church to provide compassion, hope, help, and discipleship to women and men considering abortion.
Until now, there has not been an effective and comprehensive resource to enable churches to use crisis pregnancies as an opportunity to enter into deeper ministry with their congregants. In fact, a national survey Care Net recently conducted found that a majority of women who had abortions did not view the church as a welcoming place for them while they were wrestling with their abortion decision.
But the good news is that there are over 400,000 churches in the country. While pregnancy centers are amazing ministries (Care Net’s 1200+ affiliates alone have saved over 886,600 lives since 2008), there simply aren’t enough of them to reach every abortion-minded woman or man. That’s why the church is so desperately needed.
So, it is upon these two pillars – family and discipleship – that the pro-abundant life movement is built. That is why Care Net’s vision is to create a culture where women and men faced with pregnancy decisions are transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ and empowered to choose life for their unborn children and abundant life for their families.
About Roland Warren
A graduate of Princeton University and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Roland is an inspirational servant leader with a heart for Christ and a mind for business. After 20 years in the corporate world (with IBM, Pepsi, and Goldman Sachs), Roland spent 11 years as president of National Fatherhood Initiative before joining Care Net in 2012 as president and CEO.