By Dr. Carol Fouse, Executive Director of Churches for Life
Is your church part of the 7% of protestant churches who have a life ministry? That’s it – 7% of “non-mainline” protestant churches (that’s the evangelical churches) have life ministry in their churches according to the response of pastors in a survey conducted by Barna Group. When asked how often they talked about abortion in church, 48% of “non-mainline” pastors responded that they had addressed the pro-life message at least once within the last 6 months with an additional 25% in the past year. While that is a step in the right direction, it is simply not enough to adequately prepare the people in the church to think about life issues from a biblical, gospel-centered perspective. A consistent diet of the truth of God’s Word is necessary to confront the loud voice of our culture.
The Value of Life Ministry in a Local Church
Although a Life Team is not the only way to start life ministry, it has proven to be an effective vehicle for providing an ongoing, gospel-centered view of the many life issues that are present in our culture. The Life Team serves as a leadership team in a local church with the purpose of equipping the congregation in the area of life.
Every person in the church will be affected by the equipping work of the Life Team. The impact is similar to what happens when a pebble is dropped into a puddle — the rings ripple through the puddle, affecting every molecule of water.
The Life Team will be affected as they unite as a group. They’ll begin to explore the needs of the church and to plan activities together. They’ll learn together as they work as a team, and they’ll become more informed about life issues as they interface with life-affirming people.
The life-affirming people in your church will be affected by the presence of the Life Team. They’ll be encouraged! They’ll have a way to serve their church by participating in Life Team initiatives. They’ll gain knowledge and confidence to share their beliefs.
Others in the congregation will be affected by the new focus on life issues. They’ll begin to get accurate information about life issues. As their confusion is addressed and their questions are answered, they, too, will be encouraged to serve in the life arena.
The community will be affected by people from your church talking with friends, engaging in conversations about life that may arise at work, participating in life-affirming ministries, and perhaps taking a public stand for life.
Examples of Life Ministry in a Local Church
Below is a list of some of the things that Life Teams have done to educate, inform, serve, and encourage their churches to be gospel-driven champions of life. We encourage you to read through the whole list, first so that you can begin to picture what a Life Team at your church might look like. In addition, you might want to use some of the ideas or adapt them to your own congregation.
By educating and informing
Holding half-day seminars to give practical, biblical counsel on end-of-life issues, including medical ethics, legal matters, and personal worth
Offering a ten-week adult Sunday school class with experts and agencies addressing a variety of life issues
Hosting a life-themed movie followed by a short discussion
Providing a panel discussion for parents about how to parent teens
Holding a regional conference to equip ministry leaders to engage students in life issues like sexuality and abortion from a gospel-driven worldview
Having a luncheon after church with a speaker from a local adoption agency
Hosting a trivia night to raise money for a refuge home for victims rescued from sex-trafficking
Holding a workshop, equipping people to present a reasoned case against abortion to believers and unbelievers alike
Building/maintaining a display or brochure rack with life-affirming materials
Reading and discussing popular books, such as The Hunger Games, that deal with life issues
Equipping teens and adults to graciously minister to moms and dads in a crisis pregnancy on the sidewalk in front of an abortion facility
Partnering with a local crisis pregnancy center that trains parents to care for their child
Collecting baby items and diapers for a local Christian crisis pregnancy center
Collecting money through a baby bottle fund-raising campaign to benefit local life-affirming agencies
Providing meals for foster parents when a new child arrives in their home
Packing backpacks with essential items for children going into foster care
· Consistently encouraging pastors and church leaders to champion life
· Orchestrating prayer and worship services focused on the gospel and life issues
Starting Life Ministry in a Local Church
If God is prompting you to pursue starting life ministry in your church, find out more by downloading the free eBooks from Churches for Life:
Read the Life Team Basics manual. This manual explains what a Life Team is and how a Life Team functions. You’ll need a thorough understanding of a Life Team so that you can explain it to others. The Life Team Basics manual is available as a free eBook download. Click here for your copy.
Read the Life Team Roadmap manual. This manual will introduce you to the Foundational Elements of life ministry. It will also provide a simple guide for starting a Life Team in your church. The Life Team Roadmap manual is also available as a free eBook download. Click here for your copy.