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By Sean Martin, The Stream, April 29, 2019
I tend to be hard on the church, and hard on pastors. I don’t like it when pastors are governed by fear. We have been called to be bold and to stand for the Gospel, even when the truths of the Gospel are unpopular or hard to accept. Working in the pro-life space, I have often witnessed fear hold church leaders back from speaking up on behalf of the victims of the abortion genocide. When fear controls decisions, people get hurt. Innocent people die.
In the case of abortion, children die when pastors are afraid to speak up and actively seek to rescue those being led away to death. And that is why I find great hope that some corners of the church are beginning to rise up in America in response to abortion. I will share three examples.
Church at Planned Parenthood
Ken Peters, pastor at Covenant Church Spokane, Washington, sensed God leading him to plant another campus of the church he leads at the Planned Parenthood in Spokane. Having another campus is nothing new to him, as they already have their main campus in Spokane and a second in Moses Lake, but the location was a bit unorthodox.
This call came during a worship service, and Pastor Peters has been obedient. He planted a church right on the sidewalk outside of Planned Parenthood. The church now holds a worship service one night a month at the Planned Parenthood. The community worships through preaching, song and prayer, just like they do at the services on other campuses.
And the idea is catching on. One recent service drew over 65,000 people viewing online via the live stream of the service and over 300 attendees were present on the actual sidewalks. But it goes even further. Now other churches are following suit and planting their own churches at Planned Parenthood locations in their cities. Oklahoma City was one of the most recent communities to join in this effort.
Pastor Peters’ commented that “the Bible says that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, but I think if the church does not engage, then hell has free rein.” He hopes others around the country will continue to show up in their cities and that this becomes a nationwide movement.
Justin Reeder was convicted when he learned about the ravages of abortion and how prevalent it was in our country, and especially in his city of Charlotte, North Carolina. He knew he had to do something, and he sought the Lord for direction.
Justin is a business man, but just writing a check was not an option. He knew that the Lord was asking more of him, and Justin came to realize that the church was the tool God would use to fight abortion in Charlotte. So Justin, along with his wife and a few friends, created Love Life Charlotte.
Love Life has grown to include other parts of North Carolina as well, including Raleigh/Durham and the Triad. The idea is similar to that of Pastor Peters in Spokane: the church shows up and worships through prayer, singing and a testimony or message. It is, in a real sense, a church at an abortion clinic. But the brilliance of Justin’s vision is that it is the Church, not just one church, taking part.
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Love Life runs a 40-week campaign where one or more churches adopts a week. During that week the church will dedicate one Sunday service to discussing the issue, casting the vision and laying out the plan. Wednesday of that week will be a day of prayer and fasting, and Love Life provides the tools for that day. And then Saturday the church shows up to worship outside of the abortion facility.
And it doesn’t end there. Love Life challenges those who show up to take the next step in their involvement by getting involved in front line ministries such as sidewalk counseling, driving a mobile clinic for a local pregnancy center, engaging in mentoring, or adoption/foster care. They partner with local ministries in those areas and funnel volunteers to those ministries. Church involvement has grown tremendously in Charlotte, as well as the other locations.
Now, other cities around the country are asking for Love Life to form in their communities as well. God is clearly using this ministry to activate the church in North Carolina, and I expect it will continue around the country in the years to come.
The Church of God in Christ
Bishop Vincent Matthews, President of International Missions, is not one to think small. When he senses God is behind something, he does not believe God is going to do something small, but something beyond what any of us can imagine. Oh, and Bishop is not shy about sharing what he believes God is calling His people to do.
Shortly after being elected to his current role, Bishop Matthews challenged the denomination to adopt children on a mass scale who would otherwise be aborted. Shortly after that challenge was laid out, he realized that they first had to rescue those children from abortion before the folks in the church could adopt them. That led to a partnership with Human Coalition that has grown and developed into something truly remarkable. Not only is the denomination talking about abortion openly at their national gatherings, but they are forcefully challenging themselves to do more to save the lives of those at risk to be aborted.
The Church of God in Christ has no problem acknowledging that abortion is a sin and condemning it, but also offering grace and healing and hope to those who have had or supported abortions. For the last two years at their Holy Convocation, the largest gathering of the year for the denomination, they have even held a march and prayer rally at the notorious Planned Parenthood in St. Louis.
And it doesn’t stop there. The partnership with Human Coalition is growing and much more is planned for the future. This denomination knows the history of abortion, including the tragic reality that African-Americans have been and continue to be disproportionately targeted by the industry. They know that urban areas are where most abortions occur, and they know that most of their churches are in those same cities. They will continue to grow in their involvement and are committed to making abortion unthinkable and unavailable in America.
The church is rising up in America. There is reason to be encouraged. The Holy Spirit is moving and we need to get on board. What will your church do to end the worst holocaust the world has ever known? What will you do? Here are some ideas.
Rev. Sean Martin is the National Church Outreach Director for Human Coalition.