Thursday, June 20, 2013

Our Missing Missional Opportunty

Guest Post by Daniel Darling

If there is anything that excites young evangelicals it is the opportunity to live out the gospel by loving the community. The best efforts avoid the unnecessary dichotomy between gospel proclamation and works of mercy. As Tim Keller has articulated well in his book, Generous Justice, Christian charity flows out of a heart transformed by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

This is the reason I teamed up with two of my good friends, Dan King and Dillon Burroughs, to write Activist Faith, which releases in July. In this book we take twelve political issues--issues that divide between left and right--and offer ways Christians can roll up their sleeves and alleviate some of these problems in nonpolitical ways. We don't advocate retreat from public engagement. To do so would leave a vacuum filled by evil. But we offer a way that Christians can get involved in these issues locally, after the elections is over. It's a way of being missional--of loving our communities in ways that promote human flourishing.

One of these issues is the issue of abortion. Now when you speak to many young evangelicals, they are tired of the "culture wars" and wish to back away from anything involved in the prolife movement. In the book, we articulate why this is a mistake, why the dignity of human life is intrinsic to the Christian faith. But more than this, we point Christians to the opportunity to solve this issue in their local communities, one young unwed mother, one young baby, at a time. While wortthwhile efforts like human trafficking and feeding the poor get most of the attention from young evangelicals, it seems we miss a very fruitful opportunity to demonstrate the gospel in action: Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Here's an excerpt from Activist Faith:
I’ve worked with a few of these volunteers in our local community and have been impressed by their heart for the welfare of the young women who come into their care. According to a recent survey conducted by a consortium of national pro-life organizations, it is estimated that perhaps ninety thousand lives have been saved by the nearly twenty-three thousand crisis pregnancy clinics across America. Most offer ultrasounds to clients, which is highly effective, as an estimated 60 percent of women who view an ultrasound choose life. These clinics not only walk women through their various options but also offer parenting support and training, free resources such as diapers and food, and even post-abortive counseling. According to a recent survey of post-abortive women, seven out of ten said that if they had been given the opportunity to review their options, they would have chosen life. 
Incredibly, the vast majority of crisis pregnancy centers run on a shoestring budget. Most are staffed by volunteers and funded by local churches. They see an estimate of about 2 million women every year, with each center averaging about 350 to 400 women. Despite being largely understaffed and underfunded (twenty-nine out of every thirty CPC workers is a volunteer), they serve on the front lines, rescuing people from the edge of death.
My hope is that Christians begin to see supporting and serving Crisis Pregnancy Centers as a way to live out the gospel. Regardless of who wins the elections every two and four years, there are young unwed mothers who need compassionate care. There are babies who can be saved, today, right now, in our own cities.

(Data taken from: A Passion to Serve: Pregnancy Resource Center Service Report, Second 

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