LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – BSideU for Life, a pregnancy and life skills center in Louisville, invited local churches to partner with them in supporting, serving and discipling women and families facing unplanned pregnancies on Tuesday, May 24. Representatives from more than two dozen churches gathered for the breakfast fellowship to learn about the necessity of long-term church care.
Dr. Greg Austen, executive director of church outreach and engagement for Care Net, a nonprofit that empowers families to choose life for their unborn babies and find abundant life in Jesus Christ, spoke to attendees about a new training program offered by BSideU—Making Life Disciples 2.0.
According to Austen, MLD 2.0 does three things:
–Equips churches to watch for and reach the abortion-vulnerable in their midst,
–Equips churches with a sensitivity toward and healing resources for the post-abortive,
–and builds better bridges connecting pregnancy center clients with local church discipleship.
While Austen said both pregnancy centers and local churches owe their primary allegiance to the gospel and share the mission of making disciples, he described pregnancy centers as domestic missionaries with a short-term, specialized focus.
“Long term discipleship cannot happen in pregnancy center ministry,” he added. “That’s why a connection to a local church is critical. We must invest time, get messy and work together to figure out how to build bridges that are relational and effective.”
Austen noted that these partnerships are about more than saving unborn babies and raising children. “The goal must be to see moms, dads and unborn children become disciples of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Henderson added that women with unplanned pregnancies—many of whom are unwed without the support of their baby’s father—are often shamed and shunned by the church, regardless of their choice.
“The women who get pregnant need to know that your church is a safe place, a welcoming place,” Henderson said. “If we’re going to tell her that both she and her baby, and maybe the involved father, are made in the image of God, the church needs to treat them like they are made in the image of God and show them compassion, hope and help.”
Making Life Disciples 2.0 equips churches to do just that through 12 basic training sessions and practical action steps. To learn more about partnering with BSideU for Life, visit bsideu.org. For information on MLD 2.0 and supporting other Kentucky pregnancy centers, visit makinglifedisciples.com.
The Kentucky Baptist Convention will be providing another event to build bridges between local churches and pregnancy resources centers this fall. The Friends of Life Celebration will educate and encourage KBC churches to create a culture of protecting human life, as well as celebrate the work of Kentucky’s pregnancy centers.
Pastors, church leaders and pregnancy center directors are invited to attend the dinner banquet, which will be held on Thursday, September 15 at Hillvue Heights Church in Bowling Green. Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Dr. Scott Klusendorf, president of Life Training Institute, are among the keynote speakers. To learn more and register for the Friends of Life Celebration, visit friendsoflifeky.org/celebration.