It is essential for any staff or volunteer to be able to make a commitment to the Pregnancy Center ministry in the following 5 areas:
- A commitment to the sanctity of human life, even in the hard case of rape, incest and suspected fetal deformity.
In order to make this commitment, you must understand what the Bible, our authority, says on the subject. “There are many Biblical references that clearly state that life begins at conception (Job 10:8-12; Psalm 139:15b-16; Mathew 1:18-20), that all human life is created in the image of God (Mathew 10:42, 18:2; Mark 10:13) and that children are a gift from God (Genesis 18:10; 1 Samuel 1:19).” The human body is the fragile container that holds the precious spirit created by God.
“The overwhelming majority of abortions in this country have nothing to do with rape, incest or suspected fetal deformity. In the US, 3% of women cite health concerns as a primary reason for abortion and 5% of women cite rape or incest as a primary reason for abortion (Family Planning Perspectives July/August 1988)”.
“Victims of rape and incest who do abort end up being victimized twice. “ Abortion compounds the trauma of rape, “making her recovery from the rape or incest even more difficult.” Abortion does not “solve the problem” of a pregnancy that is the result of rape or incest.
Remember, the issue is not how the pregnancy occurred (even though the circumstances may be horrible), but the fact that there is a life now. God is the giver of life (Gen. 1:27;1 Samuel 2:6; Job 10:8,12; Acts 17:25) and the taker of life (1 Samuel 2:6). Only He can decide. “We are called to love and accept all children, even handicapped and deformed children, as a precious gift from God.” (Exodus 4:11)
- A commitment to both the woman and her unborn child.
The best thing that a counselor can do for the unborn child is to love the mother. “The unborn child can NOT be the primary focus. As you meet her physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, and as you tangibly demonstrate your love for her, you will empower her to choose life for herself and her baby.”
- A commitment to Biblical truth versus personal or cultural values.
Each client will have a series of sometimes tough choices to make (ie, whether a client should parent or place her child for adoption). Be aware of your own preferences where Scripture is not black and white, and be careful not to impose those preferences on your client.
The bottom line is, as a Christian, you are called to uphold Biblical truths, not to impose your cultural or personal values on others. This means that you must know what the Bible says. Being in the word daily is the best way to know God’s word, and then leave the rest to Him.
- A commitment to confidentiality.
When people hear that you are involved in a Crisis Pregnancy Center, or Pregnancy Help Center, they may disclose information to you out of a sense of trust about their personal life, or the personal life of someone dear to them. To maintain the integrity of this ministry, it is vital that you keep your commitment to confidentiality. If people believe that we will “talk” about them, this cripples the ministry from the start, and it will cripple our effectiveness in the future for reaching out to the lost.
Some guidelines: do not talk about people in front of other people; do not give out information without written permission from that person; keep prayer requests as general as possible; teenagers should be encouraged to tell their parents about their pregnancy-however, you should never break confidentiality and tell a person’s parents without her permission; if the client tells you or you suspect there is physical or sexual abuse in a situation, you are legally obligated to report that to the authorities.
- A commitment to serving with a clear conscience.
- “A clear conscience is essential in loving others.” What goes on inside your heart affects your ability to respond in love to others.
- “Your conscience affects your faith. Confidence that you are walking with God grows from a clear and pure conscience, not from a perfect life-from God’s forgiveness, not from your works.”
- “A guilty conscience slowly but surely erodes the confidence to lead.”
- “A clear conscience is essential to having an effective ministry of any kind. As you witness to others, it is essential they find nothing that demeans the person of Christ.”
- “If all are serving with a clear conscience it protects the ministry from internal strife and division which, if hidden or covered up, could hurt or destroy the ministry.”
*Quoted and adapted from the Equipped to Serve: Caring for Women in Crisis Pregnancy Training Manual, written by Cynthia Philkil and Suzanne Walsh.