We have done many podcasts on these areas specifically; however, this is a compilation in one document of the key things sidewalk counselors should know for effective outreach ministry.
- Top essential: Honor and glorify God in all we think, and do, and say!
- Know the facility and be there in the hours/days when you will reach the most women BEFORE they have killed their babies. (Abortionfinder.org, abortiondocs.org are both useful websites.)
- Know the three talking points and have several phrases in each key area memorized and ready. Practice 15-second pleas that incorporate all three talking points in one plea. Practice in front of a mirror. Have favorite pertinent verses written down or memorized.
- Have literature ready and assess optimal placement of team member to hand out literature. Smile and wave your hand while poising it like a stop sign. Ahead of time, write your first name and phone number on the literature – having a Google-issued phone number is best for protection (click HERE to get your own Google number).
- Strategically set team members in optimal position to reach the moms either coming in or leaving. Do not clump together, do not engage in chit chat. Spread out (especially larger teams).
- Begin and end in team prayer. One person can pray, and one person can keep eyes open so no baby is unspoken for, even during prayer.
- Keep ministry focus in mind always and avoid prolonged discussion with others outside of or lower on the priority list: God, baby, mom, dads and friends, abortion workers, security, all others.
- Whenever possible, have an experienced sidewalk counselor guiding and modeling for newer counselors. If you yourself are brand new and all volunteers new, reach out to Daniel or Vicky for further training and help. Never be shy about asking for further equipping if you feel you need it!
- Practice role playing difficult and common situations you will face. You can practice with your team members or listen to our podcasts of role playing to help equip you.
- Have a team landing page (on Facebook) where every team leader writes daily reports, posts photos, describes situations they struggled in, and gives praise for situations that went well. This builds team unity and guides team members to problem solve and improve. Always have a team lead for each day who is the one that assures team is doing all the above (this also takes the pressure off the missionary).
- Always ask moms who chose life why they chose life: Keep as a word doc to help guide you in doing or saying the specific things we know helped (click HERE to print your copy!). Have something tangible that reminds them of the baby to give them if they choose life – we get donations of hand knit baby items. We have a blessing bag that has a bible, baby items, and our lit with our name/phone in the bag. Gospel tract can go in that bag as well.
- Never make promises you cannot keep. For example, do not call out, “We will provide whatever you need.” You cannot possibly do that or know her needs. You can call out, “Whatever your situation, we can help.” Be very careful with your words and promises. If you make a commitment, FOLLOW THROUGH. Trust and integrity are so important to these moms who have often faced lies and betrayal.
- Never neglect the Gospel. I recommend only focusing on the message of forgiveness after a woman has chosen life otherwise you give her an excuse to abort in her eyes. Spend a lot of time in discussion of what it means to submit to Jesus as Lord and what true repentance means. Avoid “repeat after me” prayers thinking that someone has been saved after repeating your words … because I think it can be just a mechanical recitation without true conviction. Having them pray out loud in their own words helps you to discern if they truly understood and are turning to God for the right reasons.
- Email list blind copy of all the moms who choose life. Send daily Bible verse as encouragement and also is a place where you can reach the whole group as necessary. One use might be to request moms who want to speak at prayer walk, or if you get a donation and want to offer it to the group, first come/first serve. The moms then have your number ready and accessible. I have had moms contact me years later because of this and tell me they are pregnant – but THIS time they are calling me instead of the abortion center. When I get material donations (including vehicles!), I use that list to find the mom who should receive the donation.
- Have key numbers on your phone: pregnancy resource centers, high-risk docs who will counsel for free, top maternity center in your area.
- Listen to our podcast, “Gospel-Centered Prolife Podcast,” and access resources and articles at sidewalks4life.com. Require your new volunteers also do this. We put out this content to help equip and encourage you and many issues you will face have been addressed at these sites.
- Any specific issue or question, I am always happy to help! Text (704) 618-6050 or email email@example.com
- Keep a Word doc or some organized record of each mom you interact with especially those who choose life and/or get a mentor. Moms who choose life need to be texted/contacted at least once a day till a mentor is appointed. Send encouraging verses or offers of specific help.
- Practice sharing the Gospel in five minutes. It might be all the time you have. Be succinct and direct. Ray Comfort is a GREAT source for this!
- Have social media presence where you keep patient confidentiality but share what happens and ask for prayer. Each morning, I post a photo and verse as well as major events like saves from the prior day and a prayer request for the coming day. This HAS helped us in recruiting volunteers as well as having prayer coverage for our teams.