As the church responds to Planned Parenthood’s horrific practices, we are right to advocate to our government to end the funding of this organization. We must implore a government that exists to create the flourishing of a society for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to not fund an organization that actively works against those aims.

But we have think beyond defunding Planned Parenthood.

Defunding Planned Parenthood is needed, but God’s love calls us to more. Here are 5 thoughts about what the church can do next.

There is no doubt the church should work alongside others in the pro-life movement to defund Planned Parenthood with their convictions about God’s design of each individual child as a blessing from conception. But the church has the responsibilities and the resources to think beyond the defunding of Planned Parenthood to seek a more holistic solution.

If our government votes to defund Planned Parenthood, what happens next? It doesn’t end unplanned pregnancies, sexual activity, or the need for organizations that advocate for women’s health.

The church exists with a Jesus-centered mission that is proactively seeking the good of others through advocacy and action.

The church exists with a Jesus-centered mission that is proactively seeking the good of others through advocacy and action.

Here are 5 thoughts for us while we advocate and consider out next steps in action.

These thoughts have been born out of learning from, partnering and working with an organization called Avail in NYC. They are an amazing organization that provides support, information, abortion aftercare, and advocacy for women and couples facing unplanned pregnancy.

1) Listen, Learn, and Understand the Challenges of Unplanned Pregnancy

It is easy to make assumptions and jump to conclusions about unplanned pregnancy. It is more difficult to listen to those who have experienced it, learn from them, and understand the challenges that drive their decision making. We must advocate with the compassion of Christ which requires understanding.

Chances are you and I know someone who has had an abortion, been in a relationship where an abortion happened or has been affected by unplanned pregnancy. Our understanding of these circumstances provides us with the compassion of Christ to respond in the right posture so the church can be a place that lacks judgment, offers grace, and the hospitality of a caring, helping hand.

Learn from organizations like Avail, other pregnancy care networks, or people who have walked through this decision before. We will not be able to offer hope and provide the better alternative offered through Christ’s gospel and His people.

2) Model the Joy and Blessing of Children in Loving Parenthood

Parenthood is difficult and it hasn’t often been modeled well for us who become parents. As a Christ-exalting community, we can humbly seek to parent the way God our Father parents us. We can seek the scriptures and watch how God the Father delights in God the Son and seek to embody that in our families.

Children are often seen as a hindrance to life, constricting and limiting the joy that could be if we had the freedom to do as we wish. The scriptures speak the opposite message about children, that they are a blessing that enhances and expands life’s joys.

As the church, we need to continually repent of our selfishness in parenting, embrace our children as God’s gift to bring us joy while shaping us into the people we will be. As we do, we provide an alternative message to the world’s view on children. We display that children do change our lives forever, but that is often God’s gift to mature our enjoyment of life.

3) Live the True Religion of Loving Widows & Orphans

When I’m asked about my stance on abortion, I lead with another question, “What if there was a better way?” Eventually I get to my stance, but first I suggest there could be a community that loves children and views them as such a blessing that they would adopt or care for any unwanted child. What if that community stayed connected with the parents to provide a family connection for this child’s heritage and provided an environment where this child could achieve their dreams and a fullness of life?

Is this not the call we have as the church? “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for the orphans and widows in their distress…” James 1:27.

We can live the better alternative while we advocate for the end of abortion.

4) Create or Support Women’s Health or Pregnancy Care Networks

Historically, the church built hospitals to meet the needs of the sick. The care for the orphans throughout history tended to fall to the church.

Will we step up and provide the same care for women and unplanned pregnancies?

Organizations like Avail inspire me and provide ways for the church to support women, advocate for their health, and care for couples who are making difficult decisions in unplanned pregnancy.

MSNBC claimed this week that Planned Parenthood is the only health provider for women. If the church wants the practices of Planned Parenthood to end, we must provide a safe, compassionate, honest, and helpful alternative for women and couples.

A place where women and couples are not pressured, but are supported and given the array of care they need as they consider difficult decisions.

5) Learn to Speak Well on Issues of Sexuality

Most of our children and their friends learn about sexuality from one another, pornography, or exploring it themselves. We shy away from this topic because of a number of fears when we could walk confidently knowing that God designed sex as a gift of intimacy as He authored human relationships.

We have the scriptures that explain God’s design of sex as good, filled with pleasure, and made for the context of the most intimate, committed relationship. Beyond that, there is the world of psychology, biology, and sociology that provides additional explanations and analysis about sexual habits that are healthy or destructive.

As the church advocating for defunding Planned Parenthood, we must also advocate for healthy sexuality by speaking up, educating ourselves, and empower our community from youth and young to professionals to parents and older generations to establish sexuality as God intended. While our society makes it the center of identity, we know that Christ alone as identity satisfies and everything (including sexuality) brought under Christ’s reign brings true joy.

Where will you begin?

As you advocate to your politician, post articles on Facebook and twitter, and talk openly about your views on Planned Parenthood, where will you begin to act?

The gospel of Jesus Christ is much more than words and advocacy. It is the sacrificial action of serving the needs of others that they may see God in our actions AND our advocacy.

Defunding Planned Parenthood is needed, but God’s love calls us to more. May we respond in ways that love others while we honor God.

Defunding Planned Parenthood is needed, but God’s love calls us to more. Here are 5 thoughts about what the church can do next.