How one pregnancy care center is connecting women to the church

The role of mentoring in the pro-life community

May 29, 2019

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.

Mary Holloman

Mary Holloman is the Communications Coordinator at The Pregnancy Network in North Carolina. She has written for many online publications, including Lifeway Research, the Christian Broadcasting Network, Her View From Home, Charisma Magazine, and more. She is a contributing author for three books, and her debut children’s picture book, The … Read More

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24