A Sixth-something Ministry
En Gedi on the Dead Sea was amazing on our trip to Israel in 2019. But more lasting than the sights was my conversation on the long flight with Pam and David, a young married couple. Pam worked at a crisis pregnancy center and she described a ministry opportunity back home for men, even old guys like me.
Pam explained that the most important factor when an expectant mother is weighing an abortion is the opinion and support of her male partner. Nothing else comes close. Pam spoke of the urgent need for men trained to work with the partners of women in crisis.
I had always believed that abortion was a tragedy, but now, I realized I could do something to avert this heartbreak. When I got home, I contacted the Pregnancy Test Center in Vestavia (also known as Sav-a-Life) to enlist as a client advocate.
Client advocates help young people cope with pregnancy, parenting, and sexuality. The training for this role emphasizes understanding the client in a spirit of non-judgmental love. The training also explains how to present Christ so that the client can become a Jesus follower as the Spirit leads.
I wondered how a sixty-something could relate to a twenty-something. I need not have worried. In my experience, the young men are desperate for words of knowledge and hope. Many do not have a father active in their lives, so they are open to my experiences and spiritual testimony. The needs are all over: from happy to be expecting and in need of advice, all the way to needing reasons why keeping the baby is the best course. Most of the young men need confidence. They are starved for someone older who made it to tell them: you can make it too.
The openness to the gospel is thrilling. I was on full-time staff with an evangelistic ministry but never had the response rate I have with these clients. Most will ask Christ into their lives when the offer of eternal life is presented in a loving, factual, and non-threatening manner. Even discounting for some misunderstanding, there is much rejoicing in heaven.
The leader of my small group at church once told a parable of a couple who retired and moved to a comfortable retirement village. They spent their days collecting sea shells on the beach. When they died and stood before the Lord, he asked how they invested their retirement years. They presented their sea shell collection.
As seniors, how do we want to end our days? What will we present to the Lord? A worthy goal is to be working with young lives for the kingdom of God.
Published in Birmingham Christian Family, July 2021