Pastor Eric Bancroft of Castleview Church joined Tom Shevlot and Coach to talk his church and Life Centers.
Archive for January, 2017
January 22nd is the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that extended the 14th amendment to include a woman’s right to have an abortion.
It’s tempting to become discouraged. After all, it’s been 44 years since Roe. v. Wade, and we still haven’t seen it reversed. More and more, the topic of abortion is being sidelined in the public square, and people look past it to something more exotic or more recently divisive. Abortion has become an issue many people in our culture take for granted as decided, and now only want to mainstream it as perfectly normal. Just last month, actress Lena Dunham said, “Something I’ve thought about a lot is the fact that there is stigma around abortion. Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.”
You probably read that quote and wished you were more shocked. It’s not surprising anymore to find that people don’t value life. But as tempting as it is to give in to discouragement, we must not. We must continue to celebrate and defend life because we serve the Creator of Life.
Have you heard about Shiprah and Puah? They were midwives to the Hebrew people during the captivity in Egypt. The Pharaoh was worried that the Hebrew people would revolt against the Egyptians, so he decided to institute population control. He told Shiprah and Puah to kill any baby boys born to the Hebrew women, although they could keep the girls. Exodus 1:17 says, “But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.”
Did you catch that? Shiprah and Puah defied the cultural norm, and the command of Pharaoh. They refused to do what was expected because they feared God more than the king of Egypt.
We are called to nothing less today. Do we fear God more than cultural expectations? Do we offer love where there is hate, and comfort where there is sadness? Do we champion life where there is death and speak truth where there are lies?
This January, may we support, encourage, and defend life wherever we find it, and may we fear God more than we fear man.
Are you looking for a practical way to encourage life in your community? Visit the Life Centers volunteer page for more information about how you can get involved with the Life Centers ministry.
Life Centers has a very small paid staff. This model of operating helps us get a lot of bang for every buck that is donated to us. It also means the ministry can’t function without many faithful volunteers.
At Life Centers, we are blessed to have a committed, compassionate group of volunteers who donate their time every week to counsel women in our centers, perform ultrasounds, answer phones, file paperwork, and assemble baby bundles, among many other tasks.
It’s not an easy job, being a Life Centers volunteer. Women come in with hard stories and broken hearts, searching for some kind of hope. Our volunteers are on the front lines, working to provide that hope, along with compassion and the love of Jesus Christ. It can be draining, but each one of our volunteers would say it is also extremely rewarding.
Two volunteers shared that their experience being counselors was very encouraging to them. There’s nothing like being able to share hope with these girls, they said. They love being able to watch the Lord work so clearly in the lives of the women they meet. They see what they call “divine appointments” every day, when women come in at just the right time to meet with a volunteer who has just the right experience to be able to understand and speak life in the situation.
One Life Centers volunteer had been looking for a way to serve for a while when she realized she could volunteer at Life Centers. “I thought, ‘this is something I can do,’” she said.
And while the volunteers are encouraged by their opportunities to share with clients who come to the centers, it is the clients themselves who are probably most blessed. One client shared in a comment recently that she “felt like she was talking to her mom,” when she was with her volunteer counselor. She felt safe and understood and encouraged. What a gift that volunteer was able to give her, just by being there to listen and speak with her!
As we enter 2017, Life Centers is in need of many more volunteers to keep up with the number of clients who visit our centers. Would you be interested in volunteering with us? You bring unique talents and gifts to the work, and we need your voice. Please click the button below for more information about volunteering with Life Centers.
Linda Znachko joins Coach to talk about He Knows Your Name (a wonderful ministry and now a book).
We talk a lot at Life Centers about the services we provide to new and expectant mothers. We offer pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, diapers, wipes, formula, clothing, and counseling.
But what about the women and men who have already had abortions, and are now dealing with the aftermath?
That’s why Life Centers has the soar (spiritually oriented abortion recovery) ministry. Previously called G.R.A.C.E., soar is our newly rebranded ministry to people who are post-abortive. The program includes a support-group style study of the book Forgiven and Set Free by Linda Cochrane and culminates in a weekend retreat.
There is much argument, politicization, and conversation surrounding abortion. Often, the conversation can get bogged down in “pro-life” versus “pro-choice”. At Life Centers, our goal is to push beyond the labels and focus on the real needs in our community. Women need help. Those who are pregnant need guidance and material support. And those women and men who have already gone through abortions need more than the silence they so often find.
Led by women (and men in the men’s study) who are themselves post-abortive, soar reaches beyond the silence. Some who go through the program have not spoken of their abortions for 20 years or more. Soar is the first step toward finding healing and forgiveness.
Our leaders deal with the real issues surrounding abortion—the denial, the stress and anxiety, the deep depression, and the relationship issues, among many other things. They offer compassion and acceptance and help the women and men understand that their past does not define them and that they can truly be free from the weight they have been carrying. Through the study, participants find hope in the forgiveness God offers, and peace to live fully.
“After carrying around this burden for five years, I sought out help from Life Centers,” said Danielle, a soar participant. “Some days the guilt and shame were more than I could handle. Soar gave me hope when I had none. Soar helped me see Jesus when I believed He had left me. It helped me fully understand God’s true love and forgiveness.”
Soar programs operate in many churches around Indianapolis, and there is always opportunity for more programs to be started! If you are interested in starting this ministry in your church, or if you would like to be a participant in the program, email Machelle Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org.