I’ve often wondered why James thought to include the part about keeping “oneself unstained by the world.” As I’ve begun serving in Local Outreach ministries, however, I’m beginning to understand why it’s there. Mercy ministries, like visiting orphans and widows, are good things—things even the world looks on with approval. But if mercy ministry is to be Christian ministry, we must serve while laboring to keep ourselves unstained by the world. We do this by keeping the gospel at the center of our service.
This is what I appreciate about the Pregnancy Resource Center of the San Fernando Valley (PRC). The PRC exists to help women (and men) faced with unexpected pregnancies by offering free services, education, ultrasound, and baby clothes and furniture. At the same time, they offer biblically‐based pregnancy and parenting classes, along with Bible studies for those grieving past abortions. These resources provide practical helps so that these young parents are better equipped to choose life for their babies.
But what makes this ministry distinctly Christian is that the gospel of Christ is central to all they do. Each time a PRC counselor meets with a young woman, she asks about her spiritual beliefs and attempts to speak with her about spiritual things. These women often feel used, abandoned, helpless, and scared. Many times, they have engaged in sinful behavior because they believe it will satisfy their desires to be happy and fulfilled. But the satisfaction they long for is found only in Jesus Christ, in whose presence are found fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). PRC counselors seek to turn these women away from their sin, which can never satisfy, and point them to Christ for the forgiveness of sins and a restored relationship with their Creator.
Something we don’t often hear about is how men are affected by this issue as well. A father has few rights when it comes to an unborn child. If a woman wants an abortion, there is little he can do. In other cases, the man may be the one pressing for an abortion. The PRC has male counselors who are available to meet with these men and help them learn about fetal development, the risks of abortion, biblical leadership, and how to make God‐honoring choices.
The PRC is going through some very exciting changes.
First and foremost, they are in the process of becoming a licensed medical clinic. This won’t change what they do, but it will allow them to offer ultrasound exams to many more clients. Pregnancy Centers that are medical clinics see a substantial increase in the number of women they serve. This, in turn, increases their credibility with the medical community and brings more referrals.
In addition to becoming a licensed clinic, the PRC is working on relocating to be near California State University, Northridge, sometime this spring. They are negotiating on a high‐visibility building positioned near restaurants and businesses frequented by university students. Once these changes are implemented, their goal is to deliver the message of life to 50% more abortion‐vulnerable women.
Grace Church has been supportive of the Pregnancy Resource Center since before its doors opened 20 years ago, and we will continue to encourage our church family to be involved. As a Christian ministry, the PRC depends on the Christian community for support and volunteers. If you’re interested in mercy ministry, the PRC is a great place to serve, unstained by the world.