Many Christians have been pro-life for years which has amounted to precisely nothing– no conversations, no activism, nothing. It is easy to have a pro-life heart. But sentiment is a poor substitute for service. We cannot just feel like a pro-lifer, we must think and act like one. And Pastors, it is your job to lead the way.
I know every reason why a church wouldn’t want to be a pro-life church. Pastors, I know you have no desire to inflict pain, stir up controversy, or be seen as a “political” church. I know you are exhausted, and the idea of confronting abortion seems overwhelming. This week alone you learned a dear friend is walking out on his wife and three kids, your associate pastor just resigned, and you got another email from your resident New Testament scholar informing you of all your mistakes in Sunday’s sermon. Pastoring is exhausting. I understand your hesitation for wanting to take on something else.
But I also know you understand the power of the gospel. You know there are many in your church that need the healing that comes from staring the sin of abortion in the face and embracing the gospel. Because you understand the power of the gospel you want to act. You just don’t know how. You are unsure what a pro-life church is. Well, here are the three most important components of a pro-life church.
1. Preach on Abortion Once a Year
That’s it. Just once a year. But make it a big deal and don’t slip it in the week the entire church takes their annual camping trip. Sanctity of Life Sunday is a good Sunday but don’t feel the need to force your preaching calendar around it. Any Sunday will do just fine. Understand that making abortion visible by merely addressing the topic communicates something powerful. It says that this is an important issue for which there are answers and hope. Silence communicates the exact opposite.
2. Preach on Abortion Once a year
That’s it. Just once a year. And don’t worry if it’s not your best sermon. You might be worried that you don’t know enough about abortion. That’s fine. You probably don’t. But you are not supposed to be the expert on everything despite what your church thinks. The word of God is still enough. You don’t have to be Scott Klusendorf, Randy Alcorn, or Francis Beckwith to give an effective pro-life sermon. (You should learn from them though). Remember, just speaking on abortion is a big deal. When you speak on abortion, it gives the rest of your church permission to speak about it themselves and talk to you about it. You would be amazed how many think abortion is the unforgivable sin that they must deal with alone because their church never mentions it.
3. Preach on Abortion Once a Year
That’s it. Just once a year. One pro-life sermon goes a long way. It opens up discipleship, pastoral care, and service opportunities. From just one sermon, a ton of ministry opportunities arise. There will be need for training as many will want to confront abortion in a gracious and gospel centered way like you did. Men and women will share with you their stories how abortion affected them and will need good pastoral care. Many will want to volunteer their time to serve their local pregnancy resource center. One pro-life sermon a year brings unity and life to your congregation. The hope that arises from knowing that Christianity has relevant and good answers to life’s complex problems lights a fire under people. You may spend the rest of your year just trying to catch up to them.
Pastors, your church will have more than a pro-life sentiment if you preach on abortion but once a year. You will have a truly pro-life church. Truth is powerful. It sets us free. It makes us act. You can lead your church in the movement to save the unborn if you but open your pulpit to the full counsel of God and share the gospel’s powerful message of life.
For resources on how to preach a pro-life sermon, visit the Pro-Life Pastors Initiative.
Michael C. Sherrard is a pastor, the director of Ratio Christi College Prep, and the author of Relational Apologetics. Booking info and such can be found at michaelcsherrard.com.