Training Section 3: Ministry on the Sidewalk
Preparation on 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!
Preparation on 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.
Helpful Materials to Take Along
- 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.
- Collect your materials
Each sidewalk counselor’s pre-abortion packet differs from the next. We consider it vital to include such things as Gospel tracts and abortion risk info. Below are some of the resources that we use in our packets. TIny Hands booklets are perfect for holding (by taping loosely) other items such as Gospel tracts, graphic photo cards and abortion risk pamphlets. The video below shows how some packets are assembled.
- Tiny Hands Book – This is a beautiful booklet full of Scriptures, fetal photos and developmental milestones! It’s a beautiful resource that has aided in saving many lives, and it is available in English and Spanish.
- Free Pocket Gospels of John – You can order up to 30 free per month (for a suggested $20 donation). We keep these on hand in English and Spanish to give to women who change their minds or to include in Love Bags, which are pampering and motherhood bags, reminding the women of their choice for Life.
- Heritage House – HH is great for finding adoption, post-abortive & abortion risk literature, as well as fetal models.
- Center for Bioethical Reform for “Choice” business cards – These are graphic photos. We have heard and seen testimony after testimony of women who have chosen life for their babies after seeing what the reality of abortion is. For that reason, we tape these small cards inside the front cover of the Tiny Hands Book.
- Tracts: Living Waters from Ray Comfort (cartoon style) or free download for printing.
Helpful Opening Lines To Use
- Humanity/Personhood of the Child
- Just a week late? Your baby’s heart is beating!
- At just 8 weeks every organ is present and fully functioning.
- Feels a gentle stroke on the cheek, which means that your baby will feel the excruciating pain of the abortion.
- The only difference between a 2-year-old and an unborn child is food, air, water and time.
- Detectible brain waves at 6 weeks
- You are already a mother!
- You are the one holding life and death in your hands; the last line of defense!
- Three choices (parenting, adoption or abortion…list the results of each)
- Mention Resources Available
- Local pregnancy centers offering free ultrasounds
- Housing resources
- Clothing ministries
- Food pantries
- Humanity/Personhood of the Child
- Address Scriptural Judging
- Judging is SCRIPTURAL and commanded by God. Condemnation is wrong.
- Go HERE for Scriptures on Judging.
- Safety of Abortion
- PASS (Post Abortion Stress Syndrome)
- Surgery vs. the Abortion Pill
- Abortion mill and abortionist history (if you know it…do your research)
- When did your baby become human? Any point beyond conception is arbitrary.
- When did God begin to love your baby? When did God begin to love you? Before or after you where born?
- Compare abortion to slavery or the Holocaust
- God’s Thoughts and True Hope
- God never creates mistakes; planned before time (Psalm 139:16)
- God cares about His creations (Matthew 10:29-31)
- God provided a way of escape from our temptations to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13)
- Take up your cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23)
- God is a loving father but also a wrathful judge (Habakkuk 1:13)
Digging your pit deeper; take the way of escape before it’s too late! (Psalm 7:15,16)
Offer to Pray for Them
- 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!
Tips for Ministering Car-Side
- Always Smile!
- Be approachable
- Wave and make eye contact as soon as possible.
- A maximum of two counselors approach the vehicle.
- Show the literature.
- Engage in dialogue.
Look for visual clues to use as a springboard to interaction (signs of faith, signs of conflict, tears…etc.)
- Ask the person’s name and use it!
Ministering Car-Side: What to Say
- On the Street…
- “Are you looking for ____ (name of abortion center)?”
- “Hi, I have some information for you.”
- My name is ____, I have something for you to look through before you go in.”
- At the Car…
- “Are you here for counseling, or are you scheduled for an abortion?”
- “Would you please pull over for a couple of minutes to talk?”
- “Have you have an abortion before? Here? Is this your first pregnancy?”
- “Why do you feel like you need to have this abortion?”
Did you know if you’ve missed a period your baby’s heart is beating?
Do you believe in God?
What would He have you do?
- On the Street…
Adoption as an Option
- Open vs. Closed Adoption (know the difference and address her options)
- Never refer to adoption as “taking” a baby.
- Mention that there are over two million couples in the US waiting to adopt.
- Emphasize their ability to BLESS a family with their child.
- Use correct references to biological mother and father.
- Give them the brochure from Heritage House “Ten Reasons I don’t Want To Place My Baby For Adoption”.
- Direct them to Parent Profiles
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.