I’ve been involved in abortuary ministry for almost eight years. There are many things I wish someone would have told me before I started.
This is not a “how-to” article. There are plenty of articles and videos available that can show you the do’s and don’ts of abortuary ministry. I humbly offer these articles and videos for your consideration.
In this article, I will primarily focus on some finer aspects about the ministry that, if you understand and apply them, you may experience a little less trauma than folks like me who came to abortuary ministry before you.
Why I Use the Term “Abortuary”
Planned Parenthood, Emma Goldman, Family Planning Associates, and other similar businesses are not clinics. They are not healthcare facilities. They are abortuaries. The term best describes what they do at these places. They abort children. Unborn children are murdered in these places. It doesn’t matter that these places offer other services. Planned Parenthood and the like are no more healthcare facilities than a Nazi concentration camp was a resort, or the institution of slavery was a work program.
An Email from Greg
Greg is a youth pastor in Alaska. I’ve known Greg for a number of years. We’ve had opportunities to preach the gospel together on the streets. He came to California when I lived out there. I haven’t been to Alaska, yet.
Recently, Greg began ministering outside a local Planned Parenthood abortuary. He quickly discovered that abortuary ministry is unlike any other kind of public, evangelistic ministry. Greg wrote (and I’m sharing it with his permission):
“Hi Tony, how are you? I’ve recently started street preaching and evangelizing at our local murder mill. I have found that it is the most difficult evangelism for me as the hearts of the ladies and the men who bring them for an abortion seem so hardened. I receive more flip offs and f-bombs in those hours of ministry than all the other evangelism I do, well maybe I did get more street preaching at the gay pride event this summer.
“Can you give me some advice as to how you stay encouraged in the midst of such heart-wrenching hardness? So many babies are sacrificed on the altar of selfishness each time I go, so few will listen and heed the warnings from Scripture. I now realize why it is such a huge deal when I watched your videos and others when a baby was saved from murder. It’s heartbreaking to see the father bringing his daughter out of the clinic visibly traumatized or the couple returning and boasting, ‘we just murdered someone.’
“Anyway, thank you for your faithful example and any tips or passages you meditate on while engaged in this hard ministry would be helpful.”
I recently talked to Greg on the phone. I told him things I wished someone would have told me before I started ministering outside abortuaries. Here’s some of the counsel and encouragement I offered my friend. I hope it will encourage others, too.
The Abortuary: No Darker Ministry Location
Prior to beginning my abortuary ministry more than seven years ago, I already had eight years of street evangelism experience. Up to that point, my ministry had taken me to many different locations throughout the United States and other parts of the world. I was an experienced open-air preacher. I had ministered in malls, on college and university campuses, at bus and subway stations, as well as street corners, parades, political rallies, parks, beaches, and tourist spots. But nothing, I mean nothing, none of my previous experiences, prepared me to stand on a sidewalk outside an abortuary.
There is no darker place, spiritually speaking, to minister. In my estimation, the only places that come close to the spiritual darkness of an abortuary are LGBTQ parades or rallies. But, for me, those environments are a distant second. If you’re thinking of engaging in abortuary ministry, you need to know this going in. You will still likely underestimate what your first morning of ministry will be like.
An important piece of advice I gave Greg was this: don’t expect the spiritual darkness to lift–not from a place like an abortuary. In fact, if you ever find yourself ministering outside an abortuary and you no longer have any real sense of the spiritual darkness about such a place of death, then it’s time to stop engaging in abortuary ministry, at least for a time. If it’s somehow gotten easy to be there, if being outside an abortuary is just another day of ministry, then it’s probably time to find another kind of ministry in which to engage. You may have become too spiritually desensitized to be truly useful in this kind of ministry.
Pray without Ceasing
It should go without saying. If you’re going to engage in abortuary ministry, you need to pray. You need to pray before, during, and after your time outside the abortuary.
Abortuary ministry is a series of violent collisions in an uncontrolled intersection. You know the crashes are going to happen; you might even see them coming, but there’s nothing you can do to stop them. What I mean is a day outside an abortuary is a series of individual encounters with violent people who, by and large, do not want to see or talk to you. Yes, they are violent people. They have come to an abortuary to commit a violent act–the premeditated murder with malice aforethought of their own flesh and blood. Some of them won’t hesitate to kill you in their hearts, with their looks and words. And some may resort to physical violence against you.
I’ve never come as close to praying “without ceasing” as I do when I am outside an abortuary. I pray on my way to the abortuary. I pray as I wait for the first car to arrive. I pray as cars pull into the parking lot. I pray as people sit in their cars talking about whether or not they are going to get out of their cars and walk inside the building. I pray as car doors open. I pray as angry people walk toward me to confront me. I pray after I’ve called out to people and they’ve walked into the building. I pray as the before-mentioned scenarios sometimes repeat themselves several times a day. I pray as I quietly hold a sign while facing vehicles driving by. And I pray as I drive home.
It seems like a lot of praying, doesn’t it? Well, to be honest, I don’t pray enough.
Prayer, your own and of those who are supporting your ministry, is critically important. You can and will never pray too much.
Physical and Spiritual Fatigue
Abortuary Ministry is exhausting. Even just a couple of hours on a relatively quiet day can leave one ready for a nap. But most days at the abortuary are anything but quiet. The arrival of each abortive mother represents another potential opportunity for conflict.
The tension builds. The adrenalin begins to pump. What am I going to say? Will they stop and talk? Will she be angry, emotional, indifferent? And what about the guy with her? What’s he going to be like?
The car door opens.
You might take a deep breath.
“If you’re here for an abortion today, please let me talk to you before you go inside. I’m here to help you. I care as much about you as I do about your baby. Please don’t kill your baby. My wife and I are willing and able to adopt your baby. God sees abortion as murder, and no murderer will enter the kingdom of heaven. You need Christ. Turn to Christ and live! And let me help you!”
A mere 20 seconds have elapsed. During those 20 seconds, you may be given the finger, cussed at, and threatened.
Intense? Well, if you are outside a relatively busy abortuary, this scene may repeat itself a dozen or more times over the course of a few hours.
Be ready. Don’t be surprised. By the time you get back to your car, you might sit there for several moments, with your head on the steering wheel, just breathing in and out. You might say a prayer. You might shed a few tears. You might replay the more memorable encounters through your mind–remembering what you said, what you should have said differently, what you could have said better, and what you shouldn’t have said at all.
As you drive home, you might yawn a few times and wonder why. It’s not because you didn’t sleep well the night before. You’re just spent. You’ve been in several fights today–not physical fights, but emotional and spiritual ones. If your heart is in the right place, then you weren’t fighting with people. Rather, you were fighting for people–for the lives of unborn children and for the souls of those bent on murdering them.
You’re tired. It’s okay.
Do Other Kinds of Evangelistic Ministry
I know of a few dear people for whom abortuary ministry is their life’s work. If the abortuary in their area is open for business, they will be there praying, pleading, and persevering. Rain or shine, heat or cold, often before the sun rises, they are fighting for lives and souls. The people who come to mind, and again they are few, are special brothers and sisters in Christ. In my estimation, it takes a specially gifted, specially equipped Christian man or woman to engage in full-time abortuary ministry.
For the rest of us, if we are engaged in abortuary ministry it’s very important we diversify our evangelistic activity. Take time to distribute gospel tracts. Engage people (at other places) in conversation. Do some door-to-door evangelism. Maybe some crosswalking or sign evangelism in town.
Engaging in other forms of evangelism can be a nice and welcomed respite from the intensity of abortuary ministry. It can help stave off a potential hardening of the heart toward the lost, which can happen as a result of seeing people at their worst outside the abortuary day-in and day-out. Certainly, you can see similar levels of depravity while engaged in other forms of evangelism. But it is unlikely you will see it with the frequency common outside an abortuary.
What I offered in this article is by no means an exhaustive treatment of the subject. The information is offered with the understanding that it comes from just one fallible man’s experience. But I hope there’s something contained herein that you have found useful and encouraging.