1) Realize that one-out-of-three adults are Post-abortive. Studies consistently show that between 25% and 34% of US adults ages 20-60 are post-abortive. These numbers hold true both inside and outside the Church.
2) Understand that no one involved in an abortion remains unaffected. Most people working within the Post-abortive healing services will tell you that 100% of those involved in an abortion have been or will be adversely affected by this choice. But even the most skeptical of those who disagree with the 100% claim will often acknowledge that a large percentage of the Post-abortive are indeed adversely affected.
3) Reaching the Post-abortive may be the greatest life-transforming opportunity of our generation. There are an estimated 65-70 million Post-abortive men and women in the US and over one billion estimated world-wide. With this many hurting people, the opportunity to offer them healing and forgiveness through Jesus Christ ranks as one of the greatest evangelistic opportunities of our generation.
4) Have the courage to talk about the harmful effects of abortion at every level of communication within your church. Surveys show that 97% of Pastors do not talk about abortion from the pulpit. Care Net’s research found that nearly 4 out of 10 women who have abortions were actively attending church at the time of their abortion. Silence within the Church has contributed to the social acceptance of abortion and will serve to condemn another generation to the pain and suffering it causes.
5) Recognize the symptoms of Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS). More and more churches today are realizing the need for “Recovery” ministries. Addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, gambling as well as behavior issues such as eating disorders, anger, depression, cutting and self-mutilation, sleeping disorders or a change from heterosexual to a gay/lesbian lifestyle are often PASS symptoms that have never been properly dealt with. Church leadership must learn to connect the dots between the abortion experience and the aberrant behavioral issues of today. We cannot effectively deal with the aberrant behavior or addiction (presenting problem) until we’ve dealt with the abortion (root problem).
6) Know that the people under your shepherding care will never become all that God intends them to be until they have properly dealt with the abortion. Churches are full of people living with incredible guilt and shame. Three things are essential for people to get the help they need: realizing their need, courage to act, and relationships with others who will encourage them to take the first step. These three elements are often found within Women’s Ministries, Men’s Ministries, Small Groups and Recovery Groups. Here is a link to a short video that reinforces this point. Churches are full of similar stories; this is not an isolated case: https://vimeo.com/210486739 (Jennifer’s Story)
7) Partner with your local Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC). Few churches are equipped or able to provide a Post-Abortion healing ministry and those that are generally fail to see that it is not a stand-alone ministry. To be effective, post-abortion recovery is a ministry that must be integrated into every other adult ministry within the church that will then point the Post-abortive to the help they need. PRCs have people who are specifically trained to facilitate Abortion Anonymous (AbAnon) Groups. If you don’t have one already, develop a volunteer position within the church that will be the liaison between your church and the local PRC. Provide opportunities for this liaison to speak as often as practical to group meetings of the adult ministries and the small groups within the church.
8) Use the AbAnon curriculum and model. The AbAnon curriculum is not overtly religious but is extremely evangelistic. Each week of the eight-week curriculum begins with a true story where the storyteller shares her (his for the men’s) encounter with Jesus Christ as the integral part of their healing. The curriculum itself makes no mention of God, Jesus or Scripture until week seven where the Gospel is powerfully introduced through the story of the “woman at the well” (David and Bathsheba for men). The curriculum is six weeks of “soil preparation” before the seeds of grace and forgiveness are planted in week seven. By this time, AbAnon Group participants clearly see their need for forgiveness and are quite often ready to enter a relationship with Christ when they encounter this “Y” in their road. Most Post-Abortive individuals, who already know Christ, have never properly dealt with their abortion and continue to live in guilt and shame. The AbAnon curriculum provides these individuals a badly needed restart in their walk with Christ without the heavy baggage of their abortion guilt and shame.
9) Include the AbAnon post-abortion healing ministry as part of the DNA of your church. Treat the post-abortion ministry as you would any other vital church ministry. Assign a church staff member oversite of the AbAnon ministry, include updates of the AbAnon ministry as a regular part of the church staff meetings, use the AbAnon bulletin insert as often as needed, include AbAnon Groups in the church calendar and list the AbAnon post-abortion healing ministry along with the contact information of the PRC liaison on the church website and other church promotional materials. But most importantly, just start talking about it and when the situation allows, ask the question of those you care for, “Have you ever had an abortion?” for women and, “Have you ever been involved in an abortion?” for men. Courage is contagious and others in leadership will soon follow by asking these same questions of those they serve.
10) Throw more fuel on the fire. Encourage, empower and honor those men and women who have had the courage to step up and participate in an AbAnon Group and want to share their story of healing, forgiveness and freedom. The testimony of these people will become the spark that ignites a revival within your church and then your community.
Finally, you might wonder, “Why is all this attention given to the post-abortive? What about the babies?” Great question! We believe that the number one reason abortion is still so prevalent is because it is touted as “a woman’s right,” and therefore “good for women.” AbAnon hopes to demonstrate the opposite. In fact, abortion devastates women (and men) in the long-run. At AbAnon our aim is to expose the truth about abortion and to provide a path to healing for those affected.