Christie Mac Segars, Lifeline Vice President of Domestic Services
Lifeline was founded in 1981 to give women in unexpected pregnancies an alternative to abortion, and this ministry strongly continues today. From our founding we have been part of the pro-life cause as we bear strong convictions that EVERY person is an image bearer of God, our Creator, and that each person is a person at the moment of conception. This conviction that every person is an image bearer, however, does not stop at conception or birth. Many opponents to the pro-life movement accuse pro-lifers of only caring about the birth of a child—not caring about the child as he or she grows up and also not caring about the mother of this precious child. Although the intent of the pro-life movement is not to disregard the importance of those who have already been born, we must examine ourselves to see if we are being pro-birth or life-affirming.
Supporting Those Who Chose Life
Lifeline strives to be a ministry that affirms life by continuing to care for the women we serve after the birth of their child. Furthermore, we also are life affirming through our fostering ministries. Our fostering ministries include foster parent training, Families Count, and our hosting ministry to at-risk families. These ministries work closely with the women and men who chose life and parenting, even when the decision before them was difficult. It can be tempting to forget that the children in foster care, or who are at risk of entering foster care, are children whose parents chose life. Even when moms and dad have not made the best decisions in parenting, they are still image bearers of our Creator, and they made a decision to choose life when they knew it may be tough.
At-risk families need the body of Christ to minister to them past the birth of a child. Lifeline’s foster parenting ministries recruit, train, equip, and support members of the body of Christ to care for the children who have been removed from their home due to abuse and neglect. These foster parents are saying, “Yes!” to caring for children well past their birth; however these parents reach further. Lifeline’s foster parents are equipped to not only care for the children in their home, but to also reach out and minister to the birth families of those children, showing everyone that they are image bearers and worthy of love and support.
Equipping the Church
Thankfully, many children are reunified with their birth families; yet these families still need support after reunification. Additionally, sometimes providing support to at-risk families can prevent children from being removed. This kind of support is where the body of Christ can step in through Lifeline’s Families Count and hosting ministries. These ministries are family restoration and preservation ministries, designed to give local churches a platform to minister to the parents of children who have been placed into the local foster care system, or who are at risk of entering it. Families Count equips churches to provide a biblically based parent education and mentoring program to vulnerable families. Our hosting ministry trains and equips members of the body of Christ to provide a temporary home for children while supporting and equipping the birth family to parent their child(ren).
When the Church steps in and cares for these vulnerable children and families past the birth of a child, we are showing the world that we truly believe all persons are created in the image of God and are, therefore, valuable. When we are life affirming, we can point these children and families to Christ and teach them about the one who takes their guilt and shame and brings about true reconciliation.