I am often contacted by fellow Sidewalk Counselors regarding how we see so many babies saved in Charlotte. So often they want a how-to list and feel if they check all the boxes, they will see the same results.
I do believe without a doubt that our training is effective. I believe that if people faithfully follow our suggestions, they will see babies saved. However, in most cases, this is not like letting a genie out of the bottle who will grant every wish. Learning to be an effective sidewalk counselor is a process. Ultimately, the results are up to God, not us.
Every setting is different. Every challenge and obstacle is different. There are similarities across all sidewalks in front of an abortion center. But every situation is unique. Every situation is completely reliant upon the Holy Spirit.
Sidewalk Outreach is Not Just an Effective Formula
I think it is very important to address the mindset that thinks, “If I just do ABC, I will see exactly what I want to see as a result.” I have been doing this work for a very long time. Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out, God humbles me. In general, the more experience I gain, the more confidently I can respond quickly to almost any situation. But the overwhelming majority of women choose to murder their baby. Until our culture is transformed from a culture of death to a culture of life, where the Holy Spirit fills the atmosphere, and fills the heart of a community, there are going to be more abortions than saved babies.
This is not a defeatist attitude. My hope is in Jesus and He prevails. I know that. I can show up with full confidence every day that God will be glorified, the truth will be proclaimed, and that I will be walking the path that God has asked of me. Will there be saves? Maybe. Maybe not.
Prepare and Learn, Yes …
It is critical that all of us avail ourselves of those who might have more experience and knowledge than we do. We can all continue to learn and get better at what we do. We should always analyze what we’re doing and see if we can be more effective if we tweak some areas.
… But Don’t Put God in a Box
We should not fall into the trap of believing that there is a formula for saved babies. We cannot put God in a box or how He works in each person’s heart in a box. God is not following a checklist we are marking off as we follow each prescribed step.
Two Things Central to Successful Sidewalk Counselors
At the heart of every successful sidewalk counselor, I believe there are two main things. First, they are zealously and constantly abiding in the Lord. They are bathing their hearts and their minds in the Word. They are in prayer. They are crucifying sins of the flesh constantly. They are depending fully on God for every moment, not only that they are on the sidewalk, but that they are on the earth.
Secondly, they show up. They are faithful to be there day after day, no matter what. They resist the barrage of excuses and rationalizations for why they should not be there. They are confident that if they show up, God is victorious. Being faithful is not determined by a single moment or a magic bullet that changes everything. Being faithful is something that can only be developed with time and obedience and trust in Jesus.
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).”