Few youth leaders or parents or single’s ministry leaders have conversations with teens about chastity that leave a stronger impression than the immorality these young people are barraged with day and night in our culture. So why are we shocked when one of our own young women finds herself pregnant?
Throughout the Bible we see that God is the one who opens and closes wombs. When He opens one, even a teenage one, what if we treated that baby like Jesus and the mom like Mary?
~ Joni Williams Shepherd
Why Do Christians Have the Majority of Abortions?
The impact of social media, movies, television shows, lyrics to music, sexting, sex education, and peer pressure regarding sex is heavily more intense than it was 50 years ago. We should be exceedingly grateful that more of our kids have not succumbed!
Here’s a painful question. Why aren’t we seeing more unwed pregnant young women in our churches? Because they are more likely to have an abortion than they are to give life to that child. The reason is because we treat unwed pregnancy as a sin rather than the consequence of sin, a consequence with a blessing. Children are a gift from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward!
Throughout the Bible we see that God is the one who opens and closes wombs. When He opens one, even a teenage one, what if we treated that baby like Jesus and the mom like Mary? What if we provided support and resources and the truth about abortion trauma and what the Word says about the sanctity of human life to the parents and grandparents? What if we discipled that mom and dad in purity and mentored them for success as parents and a citizen of our community? Psalm 139, often quoted in churches to promote life, applies to the teenage and single adult moms and dads and their babies in our churches as much as to all those babies we want to save by ending abortion rights.
Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me, either.’
-Jesus (Matthew 25:45)
It is wonderful to us that our local pregnancy center saves babies and we (sometimes) support them to do their work. But most young people in churches don’t know where to go for non-judgmental help should they face an unwed pregnancy. Adults in the church naively assume our young people would never have sex outside marriage. (How quickly we forget the temptations of youth!) So, we seldom promote the services of pregnancy centers to them nor make sure they know who is safe to approach in their own church in an unwed pregnancy.
We Need to Start Being Proactive Rather than Reactive
Some youth pastors will talk about chastity once a year and call it good. But our young people are being influenced toward immorality throughout the day nearly every day. We need to step it up.
The church, including pastors, ministry leaders, parents, grandparents, and all adults need to make sure that not only do our young people know what the Word says about purity, with regular and creative discussions, including the consequences of sex outside marriage, but also that we are a safe place to run when they fail at it. Because some will fail. More than we’d care to admit.
Let’s get over our shock that the majority of abortions are done on Christian women and think through why this is true. Sex outside marriage is a sin, and we often act like the sin is ultimately more important than the life created in the sinner’s womb. How can we address the sin as sin, while fully loving the young mom and dad enough to supply them with every resource possible for them to confidently choose life? The answer is grace with discipleship. It’s a no-brainer. It’s gospel.
We Need to Replace Our Ignorance with Redemption
What should the church be doing with those who have lost children to abortion? Let us begin by recognizing that, by our judgment and neglect to live out the gospel and speak the truth in love proactively, we played a role in their choices. Silence is a role. Judgment is a role. Ignorance is a role.
We need to repent as the church before God and man for our neglect to address this redemptively. We need to educate ourselves from the top down – pastors, church staff, ministry leaders, the congregation at large – on the sanctity of human life and the life-long effects of abortion trauma.
We need to start abortion healing Bible studies in our churches for women, men, grandparents, and others involved in or affected by past abortion. We need sexual healing and re-programming because we don’t realize how much we have taken on the world’s philosophy in the idolatry of sex. We need to invite those who have healed to tell their stories so that others will know it’s safe to come out of hiding and as a testimony to our youth that abortion is never an appropriate response to the arrival of life in the womb.
We Need to GET Ready
As long as we don’t change the way the church addresses chastity, unwed pregnancy, and abortion, our very own young men and women will continue to desperately seek out abortion, legal or not, in a world that does not care about them. As long as we remain ignorant of our responsibility, we will continue to perpetuate this problem.
We need to get over our fears and take abortion back from the impotent “power” of politics and put it back in the perspective of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Laws are constantly changing, losing their power. The gospel remains powerful regardless of the current laws and Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever! It’s why He came to this messed up world as a blastocyte (fertilized egg) to implant and grow in his unwed mother’s womb, fragile and dependent, revealed by Name before conception because we desperately need this kind of Savior.
If your church is not talking about abortion proactively and redemptively, with hope and grace, you’re not alone. It’s time to start the conversation and no longer wait for someone else to do it. Make yourself available to your pastors and church to help bring in the speakers and training and resources that are available to help make your church a safe church. Contact us at Hope and Grace International Inc about how to get started!
We need to get ready regardless of what laws are passed. Some of us, like the church in Alabama and the and 26 states certain or likely to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned, don’t have the option to wait around. Most pastors and churches don’t know where to start. They have multiple obstacles and will need your help to overcome them. To learn what the biggest obstacles are and how to overcome them, see Overcoming Obstacles.
Join the movement of the Holy Spirit and be what Jesus was to the woman caught in adultery – minister to her needs before you address her sin. And do it with gentleness, humility, and love because we all sin.
By Joni Williams Shepherd
Joni Williams Shepherd is the Executive Director of Hope and Grace International and author of two books that help equip the church to address abortion with hope and grace. To start the conversation, Memoirs of a Christian Who Chose Abortion gives perspective of a the journey of a fellow Christ-follower who lost two children to abortion and found redemption and healing through repentance and the grace of God. Why Can't We Say the "A" Word in Church? (Overcoming Our Dirtiest Secret with Hope and Grace) contains the stories from Memoirs in less detail, along with The Scenario of abortion and its ensuing trauma in the world and the church, The Dilemma the church faces in addressing abortion, and The Remedy for how to address abortion in the church comprehensively and with compassion.
 Psalm 127:3-5.
 Matthew 25:31-46.
 Get Equipped! Curriculum to equip churches to usher life into the culture of death. https://hopeandgraceglobal.org/partnership/operationequip/abortion-redeemed/.