6 Ways to Encourage a Pro-Life Culture in Your Church

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In the months following Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health (the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision reversing Roe v. Wade), headlines and electoral losses have made it painfully clear just how ambivalent our nation is about protecting babies.

I’ve written here before about ways pastors and other Christians can help. And if you are committed to ending abortion, thank you for voting, praying, donating, adopting, or otherwise living in a pro-life manner. You already know there’s more work to be done, so I’m offering six suggestions for fostering a culture of life and making abortion less desirable:

1. Elevate motherhood.

Once upon a time, Americans unironically recited the lines, “For the hand that rocks the cradle / Is the hand that rules the world.” Today, when our culture encourages women and girls to “be all they can be,” it usually means being a CEO or other public-facing role. Even when the motherhood job is planned, it’s riddled with hidden sacrifice, physical discomfort, and identity crisis. God certainly sanctifies women through singleness and infertility, but it’s also wise to honor the strategic kingdom work he does through the people who are often sidelined as unproductive, uninteresting, and “just” stay-at-home moms.

2. Challenge men to step up.

“Given the changing character and contours of American family life, one might think that we have moved into a new era where fathers are no longer important,” sociologist Brad Wilcox writes. However, he notes, kids are much more likely to thrive when their dad is in their life. Men can also play a key role in the abortion decision. According to a 2023 peer-reviewed study surveying 1,000 women who had an abortion, “60% reported they would have preferred to give birth if they had received either more emotional support or had more financial security.” When men kindly refuse to resign their roles as providers and protectors, women and children both benefit.

3. Salvage the good, true, and beautiful fragments from a shattered purity movement.

A few years ago, Josh Harris boldly kissed his bestselling book on Christian courtship, his marriage, and his Christian faith goodbye. The “purity movement” (which is bigger than Harris) has suffered from cringy rituals and legalistic rules. But many of the truths presented remain…true. Chastity seems weird, but the alternative “freedom” hasn’t protected the rising generation from deep anxiety, porn addiction, confused sexual identity, and profound loneliness. By all means, leave I Kissed Dating Goodbye on your shelf, but mentor the singles near you who are fighting the tide to meet and marry a good partner.

We may not feel comfortable fighting “the culture wars” but, in a world that distorts sex and denigrates our most vulnerable neighbors, we can’t faithfully remain passive.

4. Take a sober look at IVF.

Earlier this year, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law. The decision left critics irate over the “sweeping implications for fertility treatment in the state.” As excruciating as infertility can be, we must acknowledge, in Wayne Grudem’s words, that “[w]hen IVF is carried out in a way that destroys multiple human embryos, it is morally wrong, because it results in the wrongful destruction of human life.” But evangelicals would be wise to wrestle with the question on a deeper level and consider the morality of intentionally “dividing sex from procreation” and inviting a “doctor’s presence within the process of forming human life [that] practically demands grading embryos for their viability.”

5. Offer extravagant support for the “tough cases.”

Abortion conversations often focus on the heart-wrenching stories of a child conceived in rape or a parent receiving a devastating prenatal diagnosis. These stories matter. Christians should walk quietly and tenderly with a rape victim, even as you encourage her to refuse violence against the innocent life she carries. When parents choose to push past a doctor’s recommendation to terminate due to fetal abnormalities, don’t simply celebrate a child’s birth, but help carry the special, long-term financial, and emotional burdens of integrating and honoring a child with disabilities into your community.

6. Celebrate and support large families.

This is not a suggestion that Christians exhaust all physical, financial, or emotional resources for family. However, in the face of a plummeting birth rate, we should affirm the large families who are happily bucking the national trend. Let’s question our culture’s risk-laden reliance on hormonal birth control. And–with kindness towards all involved–encourage some to consider having just one more child.

Building a culture of life is a complex, slow, and often unpopular work. But it is necessary and valuable. We may not feel comfortable fighting “the culture wars” but, in a world that distorts sex and denigrates our most vulnerable neighbors, we can’t faithfully remain passive. The future of our nation’s abortion policy is unclear. But our Father has made it quite clear that he will one day fully restore justice, expose hidden sin, and honor small instances of faithfulness. May our quiet, hopeful work point to that day.

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MA Ethics, Theology, and Culture

The Master of Arts Ethics, Theology, and Culture is a Seminary program providing specialized academic training that prepares men and women to impact the culture for Christ through prophetic moral witness, training in cultural engagement, and service in a variety of settings.

  • abortion
  • Challenges to Humanity
  • parenting
  • pro-life
Jessica Prol Smith

Jessica Prol Smith is a writer with 15 years of Washington, DC experience in public policy and on Capitol Hill (including advocacy for the unborn). Her work has been published in USA Today, The Christian Post, The Washington Times, The Daily Wire, and others. She lives in Cumberland, MD with her family.

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