The following information has been compiled to help prepare you to make a difference on the sidewalks for life! Take a moment to read through this resource and we pray that you will find it incredibly helpful as you begin taking hope into the darkest corners of your city.
SECTION 1: PREPARATION
- Be spiritually prepared
- This is a spiritual battle
- Ephesians 6:10-18
- Be wise. Be ready.
- Spend Time in Prayer
- Put on the full Armor of God!
- List specifics to pray for (before, after and during your time of ministry).
- Research the abortion center where you will minister (How far along do they do abortions? What type of abortions? Do they offer other services?)
- Research local pregnancy resources (pregnancy centers, shelters, maternity homes, substance abuse programs, adoption agencies, etc.)
- Research abortion in general (techniques, post-abortion stress syndrome, www.abortionpillreversal.com, etc.)
Low-cost childcare in the community, housing and training programs already in place, churches willing to partner as mentors and resource, low cost or free Christian counseling centers (churches)
Have a handy resource guide in your purse or whatever you use to carry your materials (fanny pack) so you can quickly access and point moms to help.
Don’t be afraid to start small and build resources and interactional skills as you become familiar with the setting. (Do not despise the day of small things.)
- When bringing children to the abortion center, have a discussion beforehand.
- What is going on at the abortion center?
- Why are there graphic images?
- Go over safety rules!
Materials (see Pre-Abortion Packet)
- Collect your materials
- Resource Book
- Load the car & pack lunch the night before
- Be familiar with the content of the literature.
- Be familiar with local area resources.
- Have your cell phone programmed with quick reference numbers and bookmark applicable websites.
- If you have a smartphone, install Google Translate in case you are counseling someone who speaks a language you do not know.
Two weeks before:
- Check out various sellers of pro-life literature and consider purchasing some material to use with mothers, as well as a little 12 weeks old pre-born baby models to show to someone you are counseling. This small purchase can mean a lot! HERE is a great site.
- Connect with any pro-lifers you have met and set a date/time for ministry.
- Pray about making this a long term ministry, as well as a FAMILY ministry….dads and children are needed at the abortion centers, as well!
- Once you’ve established that you will continue ministering at your local clinic, set the dates that you will go each month (once a week, twice a month, etc.) and mark them down, so that you are committed to those days.
- Talk to your children on their age level about abortion. Be as specific as you feel that they can handle for their ages. Explain why you are going and why people are needed to help.
- Find out abortion center hours of operation and plan to be there a half hour before opening to best intercept arriving women.
The day before:
- Gather your homemade/bought signs and literature in something that can be transported easily.
- Go over important fetal development dates so that they are fresh in your head in case you have the opportunity to counsel a mother.
- Visit: HERE and go over their material.
- Pray for the mother’s hearts, the father’s hearts and even the clinic workers’ hearts to be softened!
The day of:
- Gather literature, water bottles, sunscreen and treats for the children.
- If you are a sidewalk counselor, do not wear t-shirts with messages, but instead have a “put together” appearance…no sunglasses, so you can make eye contact. SMILE!
- Pray with all who are going with you! Pray for softened hearts, open ears and eyes and for a changed heart of the abortionist. Continue the attitude of prayer throughout the day!
- Make sure to “debrief” with the family that afternoon or evening, so that everyone can “digest” what happened that day.
Make Local Pro-Life Connections
Getting connections and “inside information” on the abortion center is definitely a plus! This website has some great info and will help you locate your local abortion center. Search their website for information as to the types of abortions they do and up to what gestational age. See what the women you will minister to will see. The next step is to go out to the abortion center on a Saturday morning, which is usually the busiest day for abortions.
While out there, ask questions of those who minister there regularly. It is your best way to get the information you need for ministry!
If you meet Pro-Life CONTACTS at the abortion center:
- Ask them when people come out to minister. Ask if there are any women or families who come to minister.
- Ask everything about the abortion center and record what you find out…the doctor’s name; his (or the clinic’s) malpractice suits, if any; the hours for abortions; the busiest times/days; to what gestational age do they do abortions; if there are many Spanish speaking clients (if so, is there an interpreter that can be reached by phone that would counsel a woman, if you don’t speak Spanish); find out what kind of confrontation has been seen between the employees and the “pro-life missionaries”; find out if ambulances have been seen leaving the clinic and how often; find out the “horror stories” of botched abortions, etc., as this can be a great deterrent for women going in (they need to know the REAL risks of abortion); ask for ANY additional info they think is valuable information about the abortion center and the doctor/staff, etc.!!
- Ask what the laws are on boundaries/trespassing; what’s legal for approaching patients and cars; if you are lawfully able to obtain a sound permit for a handheld speaker system and how to go about doing that (You can pick up a portable sound system for $60-$100…it is PRICELESS…doesn’t sound like you’re yelling at them, but talking calmly); what is allowed for signage (can you hold poster boards, do they require or prohibit “sticks” on the backs of the posters…different cities have different rules).
- Ask them what resources are available for women (free medical care, baby showers, church mentors, people who want to help provide the women with things they need). You NEED to have resources like this, or your words are viewed as empty. Google or go here to find local pregnancy centers and shelters. Visit Optionline.org and keep it handy, if you have a smartphone, so that you can locate crisis pregnancy centers near where the woman you are counseling lives.
- Pray while there and scope it all out to plan your focus and your ministry. Ask God to show you how could you most effectively (and legally) reach these women with the truth before they enter.
If you DO NOT meet Pro-Life CONTACTS at the abortion center:
- The first week scope things out and pray about how to approach the women. Consider going with material and literature, just in case God spurs you to speak out to women.
- After going to the abortion center, go home and buy literature from Tiny Hands Book, Heritage House, and Human Life Alliance. Remember to include a Gospel tract, as many women have accepted Christ this way and have done so AFTER aborting their child!
- Research the laws on trespassing and call others who might know the laws surrounding “protests” at abortion clinics. It is not only important to know what you should NOT do but to know what you’re ALLOWED to do. Many in authority try to scare you into thinking you might be breaking the law. If you know that you are not and keep that proof on hand (in a folder or resource book in your vehicle), you can operate your sidewalk ministry in confidence!
- After researching and finding the laws, consider obtaining a sound permit (if required) and purchasing a handheld speaker system (otherwise, if you can’t be right next to the woman, you’re forced to “yell” the facts and it doesn’t sound as nice and gentle as a speaker). Many at local abortion centers say that they could hear us in the building and that what we said made them come out and choose Life! So, this is a valuable tool, if you are permitted to use one outside of your local abortion center.
- Make a handout of local doctors who would deliver for free. List pregnancy centers, free and practical resources, adoption agencies, etc. Consider putting your cell number and FIRST name and maybe a generic e-mail address on the literature so that they can contact you.
- Go online and research “methods” for sidewalk counseling. Google “sidewalk counseling” and there are MANY ideas! You’ll soon figure out what works best in your situation.
- Consider starting your own “side” ministry (as if this isn’t enough) of finding used baby items for moms in need at yard sales. Use Facebook and a blog as fundraising…or have them send the needed items right to you! This ministry is a POPULAR one to offer moms in need!!! They love to see the long term dedication behind the promises and offers you make clear to them. Also, consider having your church and other area churches sponsor baby showers!
- If you can talk others into going out with you, that is BEST! It is also WONDERFUL to have men, women, and CHILDREN out there. Children remind them of the life they are killing…the employees hate it and the women’s hearts are softened by their presence.
- Consider the power of social media and set up a Facebook page to post prayer requests, moms‘ needs, praise reports. Great way to gather volunteers and donations.
SECTION 2: IMPORTANCE OF THE GOSPEL
Know the Gospel
- Livingwaters.com has a lot of good evangelism resources, including a vital message by Ray Comfort called, “Hell’s Best Kept Secret“.
- God’s holiness and righteous standard
- Establish the law of God
- What He requires
- Man’s condition
- Separation from God’s blessings; condemnation under God’s wrath
- Redemption through the Person and work of Jesus Christ
- Propitiation, atonement, and forgiveness
- In an interaction at the abortion center, where God has ordained a time for you to share intimately, this is a helpful Gospel-sharing tool. You should not be interested in continuing false converts. Using the Gospel in this way helps false converts understand their sinful state in a clear way.
- Salvation by grace through repentant faith
- Justification, hope, and eternal life
Sharing the Gospel
- Ask them, “If you were to die today, how would you respond if God asked you, “Why should I let you into my Heaven?”
And if they claim to be a Christian, you can ask, “So are you walking in holiness?”
- WOULD you consider yourself to be a good person?
- DO you think you’ve kept the 10 Commandments?
- JUDGMENT – If God were to Judge you by the 10 Commandments, do you think you’d be innocent or guilty?
- DESTINY – Do you think you would go to Heaven or hell and Does this concern you?
Living Waters has many more resources available to equip you with sharing the Gospel!
God’s Word Never Returns Void – Our words are wholly inadequate to convey the mind and heart of God in relation to abortion. So, how can we appropriately convey His heart? We can study Scripture in order to apply it to our daily lives. And THIS is a way to apply it…weave it right into your counseling!
- Learn to Incorporate Scripture into your counseling – Learn to memorize and quote Scripture while weaving it into your talks on Motherhood, Personhood, Fetal development and more. Take notes when reading Scripture, integrate it on paper and then practice with your counseling “lines”.
- Read facial expressions, emotions and listen. Respond with Scripture and wise counsel – When you see that a lie is being told or that a certain emotion is being conveyed, use the Scripture you have learned to speak to each couple.
- Practice! Sound silly? – This is simply Scripture memory and meditation. Go over appropriate Scriptures so that they roll off your tongue quite naturally in various counseling situations. Practicing does NOT mean that you should memorize a script and give it verbatim car-side. It just makes it a little more natural when using it in real life! Memorize, Meditate or Paraphrase Scripture frequently! Deviate from a rehearsed script as led. Empty yourself of yourself. Be filled with the Spirit.
Can I Pray For You?
- Pray for God to show them abortion is murder.
- Pray for them to turn away from this act.
- Pray for God to provide for them.
- Pray the Gospel and that God would open their eyes to see the truth and desperate need for Christ the Savior!
SECTION 3: REMINDERS
First Time at the Abortion Center
- It is often best just to observe sidewalk counselors (if there is already a mission presence at the abortion center).
- Once you are more comfortable, pray for God to lead you to an area to minister.
Dear brother/sister in Christ, it is much more “glamorous” to post about going to an abortion center than it is to actually go. You will likely be cursed and yelled at, and you will likely experience some form of discouragement even from within the body of Christ. It is SO important to pray for God’s help with this Gospel outreach. It is such a tangible evil that you will encounter, as you literally see people participate in murder with nothing more than a wall between you. Expect that the enemy of your soul does not want you to go to plead for babies’ lives with the gospel of Christ, so you likely will encounter resistance in one form or another.
- Do Not Argue (especially on a microphone or bullhorn)
- Encourage them to come and talk to you
- Never respond or resort to petty name-calling or cursing
- Learn to recognize a distraction from a true question or concern
Protocol and Reminders
- Remember: This is a modern-day Auschwitz
- Keep any unnecessary conversation to a minimum
- Consider spreading out to pray and not standing in groups, as this may discourage women from coming to talk to a group
- Take a break when necessary
Child Safety and Recommendations
- Children should never be in the street or cross a street or driveway unaccompanied.
- Set guidelines for your children on rules at the abortion center.
- Children on the sidewalks should be behaved and respectful.
- Take a disruptive child to your vehicle. This lessens the distractions.
- Your child will need to take a break! Let them!
- Bring snacks and drinks!
- Consider having your child make a sign on poster board. Cut one piece in half so that it’s easier for them to hold. Don’t worry about how it looks! It’s better when we adults let them create those signs on their own!