Canada (MNN) — Sometimes ministry can get lonely and overwhelming. That’s why it’s important for individuals in ministry to get regular support.
Tom Lothamer, president of Life Matters Worldwide, spoke to us about the need for encouragement for pregnancy center ministries.
The pregnancy centers that Life Matters partners with offer women more than the means to keep their child to term. Their vision of pro-life goes beyond saving the life of the child.
Lothamer explains, “In every one of these ministries, every day, it’s a question of life and death. And it’s not just about ‘Oh please spare your baby and then have a good day.’
“These ministries, all around the world even, are more than just encouraging them to save a life: they’re talking about spiritual life. They’re talking about how they can help the women and men through these difficult days.”
Like other ministries, pregnancy centers take care of the practical, physical needs as a way to reach people with the Gospel.
Conference… or oasis?
April 14-17 marks the 2015 Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services (CAPSS) national conference (Learn more about that here). This year’s theme is “Strength that Endures” based on Colossians 1:11.
This conference is a meeting of various pregnancy care center ministries, mostly from Canada but from the United States as well.
The conference combines a presentation of useful information as well as much-needed rest.
“It’s a time of networking and encouragement, and prayer and worship and learning–all these kind of things–really encouraging the centers and the directors there,” Lothamer says, explaining how often ministries can get discouraged without encouragement from the outside.
Sometimes when leaders of these ministries arrive, they’re not sure how they can keep going simply because their job is hard, and they’re not sure of the impact they’ve been having.
The conference plays a role in straightening their slumped shoulders and refocusing them so that they’re ready to get back to their work.
“All these ministries are Gospel-based,” says Lothamer. “One of their core values is sharing the Gospel. And so when they come in, they’re given workshops on clients’ services, on fundraising, on all kinds of areas. But especially they’re blessed and encouraged through the worship and the prayer, and they really focus again on what’s our real purpose, what’s our real mission. And so they now go back: they’re emboldened, they’re encouraged.”
Life Matters as a partner
Life Matters has been at this sort of work since 1984, starting with the Alpha Women’s Center in Grand Rapids, MI. They maintain many partnerships with Christian-founded centers.
“We are there to help offer support in governance, in strategic planning, fundraising counsel, and just pure encouragement,” says Lothamer. At these conferences, it becomes very obvious how they are all doing the same work and ministry.
This is the first time Life Matters has been involved with the CAPSS conference.
Lothamer expects it to be an oasis and refreshment for many ministry leaders.
What does this have to do with you?
Maybe you’ve never been touched by the work of a pregnancy resource center, and you’ve never considered getting involved in the work they do. Lothamer points out that the work they do is saving lives in many ways. He offers some suggestions on how to get involved.
First of all, he suggests, you can research local pregnancy centers. Learn what they’re about, and if you agree with their mission, consider supporting them financially or by volunteering.
“These centers are having a phenomenal impact in their communities to give women a better choice,” Lothamer says.
There are also some ways you can be in prayer. First of all, there is another conference happening the first part of April with Heartbeat International in Missouri. Pray that this conference will also be a good time of encouragement for many ministries.
Lothamer says there should be over 1000 people: leaders, volunteers, board members, directors, and so on.
He asks that you also pray for the CAPSS conference. “Be praying there, too, that God would superintend…in the lives of the people.”
He adds, “Our prayer is that they will come in, be refreshed, and return to their ministries with much more intentionality, much more encouragement and enthusiasm.”