in The Light & Life Ministry of First Presbyterian Church
By Stephanie Johnson, PPL Board Member
The Light & Life Ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Greenville, SC is a local chapter and Life Team of Presbyterians Protecting Life (PPL). Here is our story of how God led us to start our Life Team in July 2017, working in and through us!
How we got started
Our church, First Presbyterian Church of Greenville, SC is truly blessed that our Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Richard Gibbons, is decidedly pro-life and is not afraid to preach on the subject of abortion. One such Sunday, the Holy Spirit used his message on abortion to convict and empower me to share my testimony with him after the service. From there God opened doors. I have now shared my abortion testimony with our church multiple times, as well as before a crowd of 1500 people at the annual fundraising banquet of Piedmont Women’s Center (a local crisis pregnancy center).
After this “mountaintop” experience, I prayed, “Where are you calling me now, God?” It soon became evident that God and the Holy Spirit were at work. When Lisa Van Riper—church member, elder, and President of SC Citizens for Life—asked me to help start a pro-life ministry at our church, her call was that confirmation where to serve. As we shared our idea with other church members, the Holy Spirit moved them to support us and join our efforts.
The mission of The Light & Life Ministry is to speak truth, change hearts, and save lives.
Our goal is to equip our Covenant Partners with the knowledge of sanctity of life and opportunities to uphold our Sanctity of Life ECO Essential Tenets of Faith: “We recognize and honor the image of God in every human being from conception to natural death.”
The Light & Life Ministry educates and encourages our covenant partners to be gospel-driven champions for life:
Raising awareness and shedding light on the devastating effects of abortion.
Providing resources for restorative care and healing for women and men who have experienced child loss due to abortion or miscarriage.
Equipping Christians to make a persuasive case for life from a biblical perspective.
Educating our congregation on the sanctity of life legal issues and protections.
Being an outreach ministry in and to our community.
A few things our ministry has done at church throughout the years:
Taught in Sunday morning adult Life Groups.
Spoken from the pulpit once per year on Sanctity of Life Sunday for our Moment for Missions.
Held fundraisers on Mother’s Day for our local pregnancy care center.
Participated regularly in educational conferences where we advise other Presbyterian churches how to start their own Life Team ministries.
Invited local pro-life ministries to have an exhibit table when we have events, such as recently on Sanctity of Life Sunday.
Some highlights of our ministry:
In 2019, we presented the first Speak Up for Life Conference at our church, where keynote speaker and internationally known pro-life apologist, Scott Klusendorf, spoke at our conference on Saturday then addressed combined adult and youth Life Groups in our Chapel on Sunday morning. Following this conference, we held many classes of Scott Klusendorf’s DVD course – Life is Best – how to be a pro life apologist from a biblical perspective.
In the Summer of 2022, four of our Light & Life Ministry members were honored to share their testimonies to the South Carolina House and Senate in defense of the Human Life Protection Act. In May of 2023, the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act bill was signed into law.
We collaborate with other ministries in our church to provide pro-life educational events:
In June of 2019: The play ‘Viable’ premiered at our church. This was a collaborative project between our Worship, Music & Arts Ministry, the Prayer Ministry, and The Light & Life Ministry.
In January of 2023, we partnered with our church’s Foster & Adoption Ministry to present an adoption awareness event called BEHOLD. The purpose of this event was to raise awareness of the need for adoption and how it can be an option for life rather than ending a pregnancy.
Our future plans involve collaborating with our Youth Ministry to hold a biblically based pro-life educational event we are calling “Transforming the Heart of The City for LIFE Symposium 2025. Our future plans involve collaborating with our Youth Ministry to hold a biblically based pro-life educational event we are calling “Transforming the Heart of The City for LIFE Symposium 2025".
Click for more information about The Light & Life Ministry of First Presbyterian Church.