The U.S Supreme Court's impending ruling on cases that made abortion legal across the country highlights a need for the American church to ask what it must do to prepare for a post-Roe America. While courts can make abortion illegal, only God through His church can make it unthinkable.
The church has remained mostly on the sidelines of the abortion issue in fear of being seen as "too political." When they do decide to "get involved," their involvement, ironically, is primarily political. Christians ought not to see the life issue through a political lens but through a discipleship lens.
After all, every good work a Christian does should lead to discipleship. Food for the hungry, clothes for the naked ... compassion for the pregnant. Indeed, Christians must begin to recognize discipleship as a critical tool in the fight to end abortion, because if we are to truly "end abortion," the long-term support and transformational power of discipleship are irreplaceable.
Thankfully, there are thousands of pregnancy centers across the country doing incredible work to provide compassion for the pregnant. However, the core function of a pregnancy center is to provide material and emotional support, from conception to birth, to those walking through their doors. But women and men facing unplanned pregnancies often consider whether there will be any support for them on the "other side" of choosing life. It is that lifelong support that should be a calling of the church.
So, in a post-Roe America, what happens to women and men if they no longer have the option of abortion? Churches must be equipped to lead with credibility and love — offering compassion, hope, help and discipleship to abortion-vulnerable women and men.
Moreover, the church can't stop at being pro-life, but must become pro-Abundant Life. We should not only be saving babies from abortion — giving them life — but also building strong, God-honoring families and making disciples of Jesus Christ.
Jesus' message to hurting people was "come as you are but don't stay as you came" and "be transformed by the renewing of your mind." The transformation found through Christ can break the cycle of abortion, but only when abortion-vulnerable women and men are connected to a church that models God's design for life and family.
The reality is that Roe v. Wade is being overturned every single day. Every time a woman chooses life, she has overturned Roe v. Wade. Only the church can multiply this to the level our nation would need when abortion is no longer an option.
Accordingly, the church must begin to approach the life issue differently in order to enter into discipleship relationships with the abortion-vulnerable.
First, pastors must lead their congregations to see the abortion issue not as a political one but as an opportunity for discipling and loving people in need.
Then, church small groups and other church-based ministries must work arm in arm with their local pregnancy centers, coming alongside those facing unplanned pregnancies with material and spiritual support. They must be willing to disciple abortion-vulnerable women and men, bringing them into the church for long-term support.
Finally, churches must have a dedicated ministry that serves women and men facing unplanned pregnancies, much like one of the hundreds of churches that are using the Making Life Disciples program created by Care Net.
According to data from The Guttmacher Institute, 54% of women who have abortions claim to be Catholic or Protestant. In a recent national survey commissioned by Care Net, nearly 2 in 5 women who had abortions attended church at least monthly at the time of their first abortion. This provides a tremendous opportunity for the church to minister to abortion-vulnerable women and men with compassion, hope and material assistance.
My prayer is that as Christians, we would begin to see this issue the way God does: as an opportunity to disciple those in need and bring more people to faith in Him. During a critical time in the state of our nation, I pray that God will guide the church, mobilizing believers with the full armor of God, to come alongside those in need to overturn Roe in hearts and minds, regardless of what the laws of our land say.
Roland Warren is the president and CEO of Care Net. Care Net envisions 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. For more information, visit https://www.care-net.org/.
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