Starting a life team in your church PDF Print E-mail

FOPC LIfe teamAdapted from Amy Scherschligt's webinar presentation, April 19, 2018 (Watch webinar on YouTube)

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." —Ps 20:7

"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans."
—Prov. 16:3

I am Amy Scherschligt. I lead a Life Team at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church in Sacramento, CA. The ministry began with two women and at first, focused on participation in the local 40 Days for Life campaign (An organized peaceful prayer and fasting vigil held outside abortion clinics all around the world held twice a year for 40 days) and supporting the pregnancy center. By God's grace more women and men joined to form a team called Choose Life.

Like PPL, the Choose Life team sought to uphold the dignity of ALL human life—not just the unborn—from conception to natural death. That's why when we learned about PPL in 2013 we were excited to join and became a PPL chapter. Growing to a team of 11, we became a resource to our pastors.

A life team provides partners in ministry

I praise God for the provision of these partners in ministry. Many times at churches there is a "lone Ranger" who cares deeply about the life issues. Ministry alone is difficult, unhealthy, and unbiblical. Did Jesus do ministry alone? No! He had the disciples, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. Churches have teams for VBS, missions, youth, worship, etc., yet, very few have Life teams.

A life team experiences growth and challenges

Every year, my team and I would review our spiritual growth, activity and impact and agree, "Wow! We have come a long way!"

But, the Fair Oaks life team experienced challenges:

  • We were passionate about affirming life at every stage but did not have a structure for it. There was no ministry training for this!
  • We felt outside the mainstream and did not know where our ministry fit.
  • We sometimes felt overwhelmed: the life issues are politicized, sensitive, and nuanced. There are so many issues in the life arena. We did not know where to focus.

A life team thrives when leaders are equipped

PPL often refers churches to other life-affirming ministries. By God's providence, I read a PPL E-newsletter in the Spring of 2016 and clicked on a link to Churches for Life in St. Louis, MO.

For me, it was an electrifying moment! Here was a gospel-centered organization that had developed tools for the same passion we had: equipping churches to stand for life! And to my delight the founder and CEO was a Presbyterian pastor!

Churches for Life offers ministry leadership training unique to Life Teams and equips teams to graciously serve their church .

The training materials, take our passion for upholding the dignity of human life and develop us into effective leaders. It equips us to connect the gospel, life issues and the church.

What are Life Teams?

Life Teams are field-tested, gospel-centered and effective teams which help churches grow as champions of life.

A Life Team serves church leaders and is not an added burden to them. We connect the Gospel to the many issues in the life arena: adoption, end of life decisions, unplanned pregnancy, disabilities, healing from reproductive loss and more.

Candidly, before I experienced the Churches for Life training, I was probably on the verge of using my church to end abortion! You see, my passion for ministry was getting ahead of my love for Jesus and His church. Through the training, I began asking myself if my feelings and actions about being rescued by God were finding their way into ministry. I also began to ask God to re-captivate me daily with the glorious truth of His rescuing love.

Now, I understand that we exist to love and serve the church as Jesus loved and served His bride. We depend completely on God alone for the building of our gospel-driven Life Team.Everyone on the Fair Oaks life team participated in the training built on Biblical principles. We found help to meet our three areas of challenge.

We built a Life Team structure

The Churches for Life training gave us confidence, credibility, commitment and clarity. CFL's Mission Discovery Process helped the team discover what God is doing in and around our church so we could join him.

We were no longer outside the mainstream

The team is fitting into our church's mission: We are building trust through relationships among church leaders—so important to ministry with sensitive and complex issues.

We are less overwhelmed

We are committed to doing a few things well. We want to equip our church to:

  • Offer help, hope and compassion to the unborn and their families;
  • Offer spiritual caregiving to aging saints in senior living communities; and
  • Raise awareness about our team's availability as a resource at our church.

Important tips:

Seek and incorporate yourchurch leaders' feedback. Remember to celebrate and thank God for rescuing us when we were in spiritual peril. Live out of gratitude of the Gospel.

We encourage you to join with PPL in championing life at every stage by adopting the idea of a Life Team at your church. We can help you!


Amy Scherschligt is a member of Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church (EPC) and is a wife and mother of three amazing young adults. A life-long Presbyterian, God called her into the pro-life movement in 2008, starting with the 40 Days for Life: pray and fast to end abortion. Her hometown of Sacramento has an active pro-life community with many opportunities to save the unborn and their mothers. She began the Pacific Area chapter of PPL in January of 2014 with a committed group of friends from her church. She is a founding member of Californians For Life (CaliforniansForLife.org) which was formed in 2014, too! Her blog on life team training was recently posted by Care-Net.

 

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