Seamless Gospel Witness: How Sidewalk Ministry Complements Pregnancy Center Work

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Our Western culture evidences increasing confusion over what defines being human and what determines when humans have value. Nowhere is this more obvious than in our casual attitude regarding abortion, readily accessible throughout the entire forty weeks of pregnancy in the major metropolitan region of Washington, D.C.

When unwanted, unborn children are deemed to possess no inherent significance and little value. For the baby with an extra chromosome, the womb is a hostile place. For the unborn baby girl facing rejection by a father demanding only a son, this world is a hostile place. For the in utero child who happened to be conceived at an inconvenient time, this world offers no protection. And, far too often, the unborn baby becomes a casualty of relational upheaval or the abandonment by one partner of the other.

Interceding on behalf of unborn children and working in support of their parents are pregnancy medical centers like the faith-based non-profit I direct in the metro-D.C. area. We seek to be the safe place for women and men to work through the myriad of hard questions involved in an unplanned pregnancy.

We provide medical confirmation and dating of pregnancy through pregnancy testing and ultrasound consultations so partners can have immediate answers to the question “Are we pregnant?” Then our trained medical staff and mentors walk with women and men through the subsequent question: “Now what?”

As a result of the pregnancy-options counseling and decision-making support offered in tandem with our medical services, we see a majority of those who enter our clinic initially considering or intent on choosing abortion change their minds and commit to parenting or making an adoption plan. Yet, in the midst of those encouraging decisions, we also face challenges. This is where the ministry of Speak for the Unborn (S4U) can come alongside centers like ours.

The challenge of limited time.

The news of pregnancy, when neither planned nor wanted, propels women and their partners into a frenzy of activity. Often the goal is to erase pregnancy as quickly as possible regardless of previously professed personal values and beliefs. Abortion has become the default option for ill-timed pregnancy, and women often rush to obtain an abortion without fully considering their other options, resources, and their true capacity to embrace motherhood alongside preexisting plans and dreams. Pregnancy centers like ours have meaningful conversations with women in the throes of decision making—but these exchanges may be limited to one or two appointments before a woman under pressure hurries to make a life-altering decision.

In light of this, I am thankful for the work of Speak for the Unborn. This ministry offers an important continuation of the life-affirming, Gospel witness we endeavor to provide at our center by being present on the sidewalks and at the doors of abortion businesses. They can extend a last offer of refuge and share truth before a woman and man step foot into a business built on empty, false promises.

The challenge of limited location.

Though our pregnancy medical center is located right off the major “Beltway” freeway that encircles the dense metro-D.C. region, our office may not be readily accessible for all of the individuals we seek to reach. Our fantastic team of three dozen caring medical professionals, educators, and parenting and fatherhood mentors are located in one place. They are not present for immediate conversation with those headed towards the doors of an abortion business. While our operation has immense resources, we are tied to a particular location.

S4U can help overcome the challenge of being tied to a specific location by serving as an extension of a pregnancy medical center’s physical presence in the community. By sharing center resources and referring to their locations while on site at abortion businesses, S4U can amplify the geographic impact of life-saving pregnancy medical and resource centers. They can bring mobility and targeted reach to a pregnancy medical center’s community presence.

The challenge of limited visibility.

Connecting with women and men searching for options in an unplanned pregnancy is all about being visible digitally. Over three fourths of our visiting patients initially find us through an online search for pregnancy related services. Yet, in our local digital market, our pregnancy center must compete with nearly a dozen abortion providers on any given day for limited slots in search engine results. In an ever evolving digital landscape, being visible can mean the difference between hasty abortion decisions that many women come to regret or finding real support and real help at a center like ours.

S4U ministry teams on site at abortion businesses ensure that women who may not have seen our offer of help online can see that offer of help in person in the last few moments before committing to abortion.

Ministries like Speak for the Unborn help provide a more effective public witness to the Gospel truths that our God makes no mistakes in creating life, that he is sovereign over all, and that he calls us to recognize his rule and reign over this world and in every area of our own lives.

The Gospel is radical and confounding to the world (1 Cor. 3:19, 1 Cor. 1:18). It proclaims that in weakness there is strength and that those least in this life are greatest in the life to come. The Gospel’s incredible news is that a glorious Savior came to bring rescue and freedom to those held in bondage to sin. This same Savior seeks the lowly and lifts the humble. May we continue to work side by side to proclaim these truths in life-affirming pregnancy medical centers and on public sidewalks in our communities.

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