In 2014, I was a discouraged client services director at Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center in North Carolina. I’m sure my discouragement seemed out of place to some. We were busy serving women, and we were seeing unborn lives saved regularly—which was wonderful. But there was something else keeping me awake at night.
I couldn’t shake a deep sense of sadness at the spiritual emptiness of our city. The majority of the women and men I met claimed to be believers, but there was no evidence of a growing relationship with Christ in their lives. The Christianity that most clients cited was a religion that allowed them to subscribe to the security of heaven while continuing to live as they wished.
What caused me the most sorrow, though, was the overwhelming number of clients who told me they had no true friendships, no accountability, no church home. No one to give them guidance or direction. No one to speak truth into their lives. When I asked those considering abortion what their friends and family had to say, almost always the response was, “They said they’ll support me, whatever I decide.”
That’s not a helpful response for someone grappling with deep issues of morality.
The deepest need
I believe that abortion and sex outside of marriage are symptomatic of a deeper issue—the need for Jesus Christ. So I asked myself, Are we meeting clients’ most immediate needs? Yes. Are we sharing the gospel? Yes. But if these clients went back to their regular lives—with no accountability or discipleship relationships—then chances are, not much would change.
And so our staff team began to ask the question: If a woman were receptive to everything we had to offer, where would we want that to lead her?
For us, the answer was obvious: we wanted our clients connected to the local church. We wanted them to have community, relationships, and discipleship. We wanted them to know Jesus. We wanted to meet their immediate physical needs, of course. But we also knew that no one is one-dimensional. We wanted to prepare our clients for the future, not just here on earth, but for eternity.
A holistic approach
Our desire to meet the needs of our clients in a holistic way led to the creation of our Success Sequence. This sequence can best be described in the form of a pyramid, with the goal of moving each client from the base of the pyramid to its peak, resulting in optimal health outcomes.
Level one is our Medical Services. When we first meet a client in her moment of crisis, we offer a free service to meet her immediate need in the form of a pregnancy test, ultrasound, or STD test and treatment. We encourage each client to make a healthy choice by choosing life and avoiding sexual risk.
Level two is Education & Resources. On this level, we invite our clients to equip themselves for the future by signing up for classes and receiving baby/maternity materials and community referrals. Classes cover a wide variety of topics, including parenting, pregnancy, budgeting, interviewing for jobs, healthy eating, and more.
Level three is the final level, and it was born from this desire to see clients in biblical relationships with other women. We call it the Titus 2 Initiative Mentorship Program.
Building relationships through mentoring
What I love about this program is that it has a dual purpose. First, it connects clients with a local church. A client who applies for this program is paired with a mentor who initiates a relationship. It may start out with coffee or an invite to lunch. This new relationship provides a nonintimidating segue for each client to know at least one face within a new church. Willing clients are provided with biblical direction and discipleship before, during, and after pregnancy.
But the second purpose is just as important. The Titus 2 Initiative provides practical opportunities for local churches to carry out the Great Commission in the form of mentorship. In Titus 2:3-5, a charge is given to older women to “teach what is good, and so train the young women . . . that the word of God may not be reviled.” Elsewhere throughout the Bible we see examples of older individuals providing guidance for those who are younger: Jethro and Moses, Eli and Samuel, Elijah and Elisha, and Paul and Timothy, to name a few.
This mentoring program fosters growth for the client, and obedience for the Christian. It grafts the client into a community of believers, and pushes the Christian out of her comfort zone and into a leadership role. It puts the client in a relationship where she will hear the gospel, and gives the Christian the opportunity to present it in a natural way.
Meeting a felt need
Since the launch of this program in 2014, we’ve learned something amazing about mentorship: both our clients and women within the church are hungry for it.
The desire for relationships is written in the fabric of our souls, and it’s been beautiful to see. We have clients and mentors who are reading books, studying the Bible, and attending church together. Clients are grafted into small groups, given baby showers, and made to feel like they are loved, wanted, and cared for—because they are. This guidance communicates to our clients that we care about their present, but also about their future—both here on earth, and in eternity.
And this program says to women in the church, You are needed. You have a vital part to play in this community. Let us help you carry out the Great Commission in our city.
Loving women well
A few months ago as I was walking through my church, I ran into a familiar face. Most people within our church know her as a sweet, servant-hearted woman who volunteers regularly and has a son with the curliest hair and the most irresistible eyes. When I look at her, I see those things, too; but I also see something else.
I see in her an emblem of hope. Because she was one of our former clients at the pregnancy center. She was faced with an unplanned pregnancy and a man who did not want to be a father. She applied for our mentorship program and was connected with a beautiful woman of God within our church. I attended her baby shower, and now, years later, am able to serve alongside her, calling her my sister in Christ.
In her, I see what it means to be brave. I see a willingness to be vulnerable, to open herself up to new relationships, to grow, to learn, and to be a blessing to others.
In her mentor, I also see bravery. I see a willingness to step outside the bounds of a comfort zone, to invite another woman into her life, to be stretched, to be interruptible.
In these two women, I see burdens shared and lives lived together.
In these two women, I see the gospel in action.
And that is a beautiful thing.