Let’s be honest: Cell phones are a major distraction. This article is going to step on a few toes … including mine. Sidewalk outreach ministry is hard. Really hard. We know we need to be focused, and to stay centered on the Lord and on our mission. We endure so much adversity — physical, mental and emotional. We know when we are not directly speaking to the moms, we should be in prayer.
But our cell phones are always in our pocket … and it beckons. Sure, there are really important things we need to deal with: expected emails, texts from loving and prayerful friends, menus online for what to get for lunch.
The Problem Revealed
Pretty soon, we are on our phones and almost miss calling out to a mom. Or we cannot offer literature to a passing car since we are using both hands to text. Admit it. You do it. So do I. It is not good. It is not why God called us to the sidewalk.
The first step in helping us is admitting the problem.
We Should be Different
A fellow sidewalk outreach team member pointed out to me that the pro-abortion crowd was so distracted by their phones that they rarely bothered to interfere with us. One had a lollipop in her mouth. My friend pointed out that we sometimes look just like them, absorbed in our phones or chit chatting with each other. Laughing. While babies are dying by the dozens.
Shouldn’t we be praying? Shouldn’t we be looking NOT like THEM, in their flippant disregard for the enormity of what is happening here?
She is right.
“If we are truly committing our work to the Lord, that our ministry to the unborn will be effective, we must be fully focused on Him. That is not happening if we are scrolling through emails or Facebook posts.”
Valid Uses of the Phone
In my defense, I am sometimes on the phone looking for Bible verses, or sending out prayer requests, or answering calls from my doctor since I have dealt with some hard health issues lately. Sometimes, I am texting team members way down the street to ask about a car they stopped or tell them some info about a car I stopped.
But sometimes I am checking email … or the weather.
Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
We are to have our mind set, focused, on GOD, not on earthly concerns. We are not to be distracted from Him and His purpose for us.
Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.
We are not to let our eyes look at ANYTHING but our mission. We are to look where we are directed by God … and if we are on the sidewalk, that is NOT our phones. We should have a laser-sharp focus on the door of the abortion center, ready to call out instantly to every mother we see intent on killing her baby. If we divert our gaze, we will miss things.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Keep the main thing, the main thing. God and His righteousness should be uppermost in our minds, and then all the things we hope to accomplish will fall in place. If we take our eyes, our mind or our focus off of Him, those other things will be unlikely to fall into place. We should be in prayer when we are not actively confronting the women
Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
Our minds must not be on the flesh or on the world. We are called to set our minds on the things of the Spirit. This battle is a spiritual battle. It cannot be fought without spiritual means. Our phone can be a useful tool at times, but it cannot fight this terrible spiritual war. We must be in prayer and speaking the Word, which is the sword of the Spirit, if we hope to impact the hearts and minds of abortion-determined women.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
Commit means “ALL IN.” If we are truly committing our work to the Lord, that our ministry to the unborn will be effective, we must be fully focused on Him. That is not happening if we are scrolling through emails or Facebook posts.
Put your phone in your pocket and only use it in dire need. There are times it is useful.: looking up Bible verses or calling fellow team members to share vital sidewalk information. Otherwise, remember this article. Remember why we are there. Babies are dying. We are called to be their voice, to mourn their deaths, to pray for intercession and conviction.
Pocket the phone and pray instead.
The same principles apply as to other distractions. Common distractors are listed below:
- Chit chat with fellow outreach members
- Talking with pro-abortion crowd
- Talking with passersby
- Complaining and grumbling about the adversity (weather, opposition, barriers)
- Other pro-life groups
In every case, we have to always be open to the Spirit’s prompting; however, we must also keep our focus where it belongs for the overwhelming majority of our time. If we often lose focus on interceding for the babies’ lives, we need to reassess why we are there.
Our mission is to glorify God with the specific ministry of speaking on behalf of the preborn babies. There are many evangelistic groups that minister on street corners, at colleges, at political events, etc.
Our ministry, though, is specifically to convince abortion-minded women to choose life. We must keep our focus on that and choose wisely how much time we should give to any of the distractions that will inevitably try to steal our attention.