I’ve written before about the need of the church to support women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies for a multitude of reasons. We will never end the abortion crisis until women understand that they are loved and supported. It simply won’t happen and how could it if they are left to deal with the crisis on their own?
While I’ve titled this supporting women in crisis pregnancies, you’ll see that many of my suggestions involve supporting your local CPC — and not just with money — so don’t tune me out. For many of us, CPCs are well positioned to reach out to women in crisis with carrying support that is informed and tailored to their needs. My mind reels with all kinds of ways we could individually support these women: be ready to adopt if asked, provide mentoring to a new mom, help her find support at a CPC, pray with and for her, drive her to doctor appointments, help ensure she has a safe place to live, the list is endless. But for many of us, launching into an intense mentoring relationship with an expectant mom is daunting. We don’t have the time, we lack the training, or we feel ill-prepared to step up for that role.
However, the employees at CPCs are trained, they are lovingly prepared, and they have the time to minister in the crisis. The CPCs need our help so they are ready with the ultrasound a scared woman needs, a pack of diapers for the mom trying to make ends meet, or counseling for the woman still in pain over decisions she regrets.
This December and January I really started praying about how I could be a bridge between our church and local CPC. My husband has been involved on the board of our local Crisis Pregnancy Center off and on for years. It’s a wonderful center where truth is spoken in love, and ultrasounds and a host of other services are given to women for free. But we all know the services have an associated cost. Each ultrasound costs the center $50, yet 78% of abortion minded women change their mind if they see an ultrasound of their unborn child. It is a powerful tool for life. This year I wanted to do something more to support the CPC that serves women in our community and I wanted to do it in a way that could involve my children and our church at large.
There is great power when we band together and work for a cause that addresses an issue close to God’s heart.
Here are four ideas that I think can be translated to any church and community as practical ways to support local ministries and moms.
- Host a baby shower. This could play out several ways. This past weekend I hosted one for two of the Connect Groups (Bible studies) at our church. It was an opportunity for women in our church to interact and fellowship, but with the purpose of bringing items that the CPC needs for its Learn to Earn program. As moms (and dads) participate in educational classes, they earn “dollars” that can be spent in a CPC store to acquire items they will need for their baby. We played a mixer game followed by a nursery rhyme trivia game and baby pictionary. It was fun, but people brought so many things that will bless those moms in need.
It doesn’t need to be elaborate — I kept the decorations simple, but baby themed — but it can be a fun and great way to support the needs of the CPC. I provided the house and drinks, and then several of us provided the food. It was fun and a chance to spend time with other ladies from church.
My vision is to someday grow this to the point our church can host baby showers for actual moms, so that we can specifically meet their needs. That’s the vision, but this was a great way to start the process.
2. A Diaper Drive! Many CPCs provide diapers to moms — any of us who have bought diapers know firsthand how expensive those suckers are. They really add up and hit the pocketbook hard. One thing many CPCs facilitate at churches is a diaper drive. You simply ask members of your church to purchase diapers of all sizes and bring them to the church on set dates. Those are then collected and taken to the CPC where they can distribute them to the mothers who need them. Such a practical need. And one that as we add a pack of diapers to our grocery cart can be meaningful support to the recipient.
3. Baby Bottle Collections: This one is fun, but heavy! Get bottles (your CPC may already have them) and distribute them at church. Over a set period of time, people put their loose change in the bottles. The full bottles are collected at the end of a period, and the proceeds donated to the CPC. Our CPC uses the proceeds of the bottle campaigns to support the ultrasound ministry. Some of my friends put them on their desk at work and let coworkers know. Others collected their personal change over the course of the time and brought them back to church filled to the brim. Let me just tell you that baby bottles filled with coins are HEAVY. So if you do this, you might want to collect the bottles, take the coins to a bank coin machine, and then give the CPC empty bottles along with a check. The CPC will love you, and you won’t break your back.
4. Develop an attitude that welcomes women in crisis to your church community. I believe this is the most important. Many women will say that they were afraid to go to church when they were in the crisis. Crisis is when we most need a church community that will embrace us and help us find God in the midst of the crisis. If women (and men) feel judged, then we as a church are losing our opportunity to make a difference in their lives at a time of acute need. Let’s commit to having a James 1:27 approach to those most in need. Meet these women (and men) where they are and ask God to use you to meet their needs.
What ways have you or your church supported women in need? I’d love to learn what’s worked well for you, too, as we all grow in this area.