Starting a Ministry

Every day, in every corner of the world, God is moving His people to launch new efforts on behalf of mothers and children at-risk for abortion, as well as efforts aimed at healing those affected by previous abortions and reaching communities with positive pro-life messages focusing on imago Dei and Sexual Integrity.

Heartbeat International is here to support front-line life-savers carry out the unique call of God with excellence in real-life settings and circumstances.

Click any of the below to start with the information you need.

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Pregnancy Center Housing Medical   Abortion Recovery
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Answering the call to reach, rescue, and renew men, women, and children--even entire communities--from the violence of abortion requires a team effort, with every life-saver pulling on the same rope.

Click one of the below to learn more about your unique calling... and what you can do to become best equipped on the front lines of the Pregnancy Help Movement.

 

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Executive Director Board Member Nurse

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a Conference! What a Calling.

workshops 
If the many of the workshop sessions at the 2014 Heartbeat International Annual Conference felt a bit cozier than in years past, it’s because this year’s conference was the best-attended event in Heartbeat’s 43-year history.

Close to 1,000 registrants, exhibitors, speakers and guests were on site in Charleston, South Carolina for the event, which was kick-started by a rousing performance from Charleston’s own Plantation Singers, who serenaded attendees gathering for the first general session of the conference Wednesday afternoon.

Included in the conference were representatives from 17 countries outside the United States, several of whom traveled back with Heartbeat staff to Heartbeat headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, for an additional week of training and encouragement following the conference.

“It was wonderful to be with other warriors in this pro-life movement,” one attendee said. “As this was my first experience at a conference, I was so excited with what happens in PRCs around the country and the world! What a joy it was to assist someone else with new ideas to make her center better.”

While opportunities to connect and fellowship with pregnancy help servants around the world abounded, so did opportunities to hear from the roster of excellent keynote and workshop speakers, who emphasized over and over the theme that Love is Our Language.

The workshop slate was made up of an all-time high 78 sessions divided into 13 tracks—not including 10 all-day in-depth day opportunities—equipping leaders to better serve women and families in locales the world over.

Headlined by noted Christian apologist Dr. Ravi Zacharias, keynotes were also delivered by:

  • Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., President of Heartbeat International
  • Dr. John Bruchalski, Founder of Tepeyac Family Center, LLC
  • Fr. Agustino Torres, Founder of Corazon Puro
  • Terri Green, Author of Simple Acts of Kindness
  • Evie Lastra West, Author of Revolving Choices: Playing Roulette with Life
  • Kirk Walden, Founder of LifeTrends
  • Barbara Gilliard, Pastor in Charleston

Thank you so much for making this year’s conference truly special, and please don’t miss the opportunity to join us April 7-10, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri for next year’s conference.

Sparse Workshop Yields Bountiful Harvest

viviankoob 
Preparing for her workshop on mergers and strategic partnerships at the 2013 Heartbeat International Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas, Vivan Koob was hoping her hard work would pay off in the encouragement and equipping of her fellow pregnancy help leaders.

When it came time for her to present, however, the room didn’t quite fill up as she’d hoped.

But that initial disappointment was long-gone by the time the calendar flipped to 2014, as Vivian’s pregnancy help organization, Elizabeth’s New Life Center in Dayton, Ohio, was in the process of reaping a bountiful harvest from the meagerly attended workshop.

As it turned out, the presentation Vivan was so busy preparing—and the fact that she presented it at Heartbeat’s conference—was the perfect fit for a strategic grant from the Dayton Foundation.

“It really was helpful to have given that talk at the conference,” Vivian said. “The grant itself is not a large grant, and it isn’t the first we’ve received from the Dayton Foundation, but it is going to go a long way to help us develop strategic alliances that will help us become less grant-reliant in the future.”

The grant covers the cost of a consultant whose role is to build strategic alliances with community entities, and promises to open the door to potential partnerships Elizabeth’s New Life Center may never have had the chance to approach otherwise.

Throughout the process, Vivan has also been invited by the Dayton Foundation to share her expertise on mergers with other nonprofits in the area, again setting the table for future partnerships that otherwise may not have been realized.

“This was an exciting grant for us to have received,” Vivian said. “Being able to say that we’d gone through three mergers and presented on the topic at Heartbeat’s conference really helped us to make our case.”

With two representatives from the development team at Elizabeth’s New Life Center slated to lead workshops at the 2014 Heartbeat International Annual Conference in Charleston, S.C., Vivian is hoping for the bountiful harvest to continue.

Hopefully, this year, the harvest won’t come at the cost of a sparse crowd.


Check out the workshops from the development team at Elizabeth’s New Life Center:

Panning for Gold in the Grant Funding Stream, Kima Jude

Development Bootcamp, Debbie Nieport LAS

 

Behold Thy Kingdom

by Jor-El Godsey

From Take Heart | Volume 2, Issue 11

final logoAs the season of Advent unfolds and the focus on the birth of our Savior sharpens, the reality of this Scripture, like a diamond held up to the light, reveals multiple facets.

Behold. Be aware. Observe. Consider. This is the first step for us. We must open our eyes to see what is already at hand. The busyness of our schedule, the volume o f our workload, the needs of the ministry all can conspire to crowd our vision and actually shrink our awareness of anything but the urgent. It may take a moment to step away from the inbox, set aside the volunteer schedule, wait to review the financials, and simply focus on what the Holy Spirit is doing.

The Kingdom of God is all that He is and all that He controls. Think about that for a moment. Where is He not King? To what places does His reign not extend? Perhaps there are regions of our hearts and issues that have yet to be yielded to His Lordship, but He is certainly present even there, just as He is present in our ministry and among His people.

Indeed, the Kingdom “is in your midst,” right where you are. Truly, the Kingdom of God is in the midst of your staff meeting and each shift of volunteers. The King is with you during your event planning and while you stare at the blank page that awaits your monthly appeal letter. The Holy Spirit is present when you see the red numbers on the financials. He knows your pain and your tears.

The kingdom of God is even there with you in a board meeting (whether or not every board member has read the reports in advance!). He often speaks through this group that is assembled for the care and concern of the work that He has inspired. Whether you’re the executive director, board chair, treasurer, counselor, or administrative assistant, He, and His kingdom, is in your midst.

The Best of Practices

By Jor-El Godsey

Remember when calling a center “Crisis Pregnancy Center” represented a widely accepted “best practice”?

Best practices, as defined at BusinessDictionary.com, are “methods and techniques that have consistently shown results superior than those achieved with other means, and which are used as benchmarks to strive for.”  PRC’s have adopted varied practices over the years.  Some flowed from moral or ethical considerations, others were informed by results or intuition.  Hopefully, positive results followed all these practices.  But have all these practices been subjected to rigorous comparison to “other means”?  That is a critical step to specifically defining a best practice.

Any packaged “best practice” should be evaluated in light of the overall mission. This should include understanding the client who is the mission’s target, as well as the vision of the organization and its own definition of success.  Variations between organizations, even programs within organizations, suggest that some, perhaps, many practices can’t be applied in the same way from organization to organization with the same effectiveness.

Best practice is more often a high-sounding buzzword for promotional material than an objective, empirical reality.  It’s vital to analyze the foundation of any claim involving a best practice.  For example in focus testing of the name “Crisis Pregnancy Center,” our target clients’ responses were weak.  As a result, the term “crisis” has largely been eliminated from elements of client marketing in favor of new language with broader appeal.

Practices can certainly be good, effective, productive, healthy and even excellent. In time, these may even prove to be best!  Until that time, some practices are really just common sense, conventional wisdom, and even basic standards.

 

Lean, Not Necessarily Mean

By Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat Vice-President, Ministry Services

From Take Heart | Vol. 2, Issue 6

Pre-2009 celebration at Heartbeat.  Even the birthday cakes for staff fell to cost-cutting measures.  Counter clockwise, starting with birthday girl:  Peggy Hartshorn, Joe Young, Deb Schirtzinger, John Ensor, Betty McDowell, Virginia Cline, Jor-El Godsey.

The water cooler is long gone.  Paper plates, plastic-ware, coffee and creamer are strictly by contribution only.  Even the birthday cakes for Heartbeat staff have been reduced to a simple card and a group sing.  (Seriously, picture a dozen people standing near your desk belting out the familiar tune!)  Expenses for office supplies have been cut dramatically.  Many such ideas came from staff brain-storming sessions during some very lean months.

Cost-cutting measures for Heartbeat turned really serious beginning with the summer of 2008.  The pregnancy help movement felt the economic downturn earlier than most non-profits.  As you well know, cost cutting is hard to do when you’re a non-profit and already operating on somewhat of a shoestring.  We took even more stringent measures.  We trimmed budgeted expenses, reduced benefits, and the whole staff even took two sacrificial, week-long furloughs.

While cutting expenses dramatically, we also put the word out that we needed help.  The first and (fortunately) only emergency plea for funds went out to donors and affiliates alike.  In addition, special, one-on-one asks to major donors helped us close the gap between income and outflow.  As we began to understand the extent of the crisis we took an additional step...

Two years of fasting and praying. . .   Boy are we hungry!

Yep, you read that right.  Fasting for two years!  Well okay, it wasn’t every single day for two years.  Actually, it wasn’t even every week.  But one day each month since July of 2008, the Heartbeat staff has set aside a day of fasting with specific times throughout that day to gather in prayer for the needs of Heartbeat.  Okay, that’s not nearly as impressive sounding as fasting for two years, but still that’s how long we’ve been practicing the discipline as a staff.  (Fasting is optional, but almost everyone fasts on our special day. Even board members, intercessors and other close friends join us.)

Prayer is hardly foreign to us at Heartbeat.  We gather each and every day around 9:15 a.m. to pray for our affiliates, staff needs, upcoming events, faithful and generous donors, our partners and the mission and pregnancy help movement.  So, if you’re calling our office between 9:15 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., you might not reach us directly because we’ve gathered to pray.  It’s not mandatory but everyone’s usually there if they can be.

Setting a specific time to fast and pray clearly has been vital in getting us through some tough times.  Focusing on God in the midst of our crisis and working diligently to do what we could saw us through a very difficult time.  In the waning hours of 2008, we watched the Lord work a miracle where the year-end giving closed the year’s expense gap!  In gratitude, we rejoiced!  We partied!  And then we went to work implementing our newer, leaner budget for 2009.

I’m glad to report that in 2009 we finished in the black.  In 2010, things are challenging but not at crisis level.  God is faithful.  And we’ve continued to fast and pray one day each month. And yes, we’re hungry.  Hungry for God as He leads and provides for the mission and vision that He’s firmly planted in our hearts.

Prayer helped us in many ways cope with the crisis we experienced. Prayer served to calm our fears and to put our trust in the best source – God.  Prayer helped us unite as a staff even as we faced significant threats to our work and vocation. Prayer helped us not to get “mean” even as we were getting lean.

So take heart in your situation. Set aside time to pray.  Consider a time of fasting.  Always remember to look upward as well as inward in any time of crisis.

Back to Take Heart | Vol. 2, Issue 6

 

Toy Soldiers

by Kirk Walden

final logoRecently I noticed a photo of toy soldiers in my files from a Disney trip last year. It’s not often that I get inspiration from toy soldiers, but it hit me that in the Christian life there are True Christian Soldiers, and there are Toy Soldiers.

Right now, many in our ministry are discouraged and tired. I have an email in my inbox right now from another who wonders if it is time to give up. I understand.

But there is good news for True Soldiers like you. For one, if you are involved in this ministry you are no Toy Soldier. You know the Toy Soldiers. We pray for them, those who come to church dressed perfectly, always smiling brightly and never flustered.

Toy Soldiers march in at the right time and as soon as the clock hits the right mark, they march out again. No scuffs on those shoes and not a mark anywhere else. Toy Soldiering is a great life, or so it appears.

After all, if you never involve yourself in combat there are no scars, no pain.

True Soldiering involves battles. Our uniform gets dirty. We get marks on our bodies and our emotions are worn thin. We wake up not knowing what is around the next corner, wondering whether the next battle will bring victory or a devastating defeat.

While we know that ultimately the war is won, we don’t know what it is going to take to get to that victory. And, we don’t know whether we are going to suffer in the process.

Toy Soldiering is dress-up, and we see it too often. To be honest, we feel sorry for the Toy Soldiers. 
To the Toy Soldier we want to cry out, “Join us in the battle. Hearts are at stake. Lives are on the line! Be a part of a glorious victory!”

But to the Toy Soldier, the risk of a wound is too much of a bother—even with lives hanging in the balance.

Yet while we hurt for the Toy Soldiers, True Soldiers start each day on a valiant mission to advance a calling of reconciliation and the calling of life—a mission launched, carried out, and carried on by none other than Jesus Christ.

Sure, we’re going to get dirty. And we can count on battle scars along the way. We know that. It’s no secret to any one of us.

Some will desert. Others will criticize. Still others—the Toy Soldiers—will look at us with a condescending smile and say, “That sounds like nice work.” They have no idea, yet we know better than to explain.
So instead of explaining, instead of responding to criticism, instead of running after the deserters, we soldier on.

Dear soldiers, as Paul told Timothy in II Tim. 2:4, let’s not entangle ourselves with the affairs of everyday life. There is no time for that.

Without pride in ourselves or malice toward others, let’s band together as True Soldiers, ready to fight the good fight each and every day—for God’s glory.

Perhaps I don’t know you personally, but if you are in this ministry I know your heart, which is that of a True Soldier.

From this writer, “thank you.” I appreciate your service. Let others say what they want. I for one am proud to stand with you. It is . . . An honor.

Kirk Walden is the author of The Life Trends Connection (TLC), proven development ideas and concrete action steps. TLC, now powered by Heartbeat International. TLC is yet another valuable benefit for Heartbeat affiliates.

 

Taking the Long View

by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice President, Ministry Services

(from Take Heart Volume 2, Issue 1)

A year ending with a zero is a great time to look back at the last time that occurred – 2000 – the unforgettable “Y2K.” Think of all that’s transpired in your organization since 2000. Remember where you were during the dawn of the new millennium. Take note of how different the ministry, the movement, and even the mission appeared to be then. The look back can reveal a journey of challenges and triumphs, victories and setbacks, celebrations and sorrow.

Here’s a question: from the vantage point of 2000, what view did you see out there on the 2010 horizon? What decisions made then are producing dynamic results now for you, your mission, and the movement? What plans were set down then but have yet to come to fruition? How is 2010 different for your community, your peer counseling, and your commitment to the mission?

This year of 2010 is a good time to look forward to the next ten years and begin to develop a “2020 Vision.” Crafting and casting a vision with the year 2020 in mind can help leaders to see beyond the tyranny of the urgent and formulate a vivid picture that can serve to guide the organization well. In clarifying your “2020 Vision,” there are five key concepts to consider:

  1. Positioning versus Planning – “To fail to plan is to plan to fail.” The saying holds true for short-range (one to three-year) planning but can break down over a longer period. Pull out your written plans from 2000. How do the plans from 2000 match the 2010 reality? Of course, planning is simply not possible for some things. A worldwide economic downturn was hardly on anyone’s radar looking back just to 2005 or 2006. But those who positioned themselves well financially (a success that involves -- at the least -- some core planning)– with reserve funds, low or no debt, broad donor base and/or conservative budgeting – have had more leeway to adapt to financial crisis. True, perfect planning requires perfect predictions so only God’s Plan is perfect. Still, good positioning financially, organizationally, relationally, and spiritually can enable positive results even in unexpected environments.
  2. Message versus Method – In 2000, communication methods like I-Pod, Youtube, and Facebook didn’t exist. Today, the methods for marketing and ministry must adapt to account for changes in our target audiences and the culture that influences them. In the midst of these changing methods, the message of pregnancy help work remains constant (even eternal): Christ-centered, compassionate, life-affirming care for those who are challenged by an unintended pregnancy. This core message is carrying the pregnancy help movement to new heights of acceptance even outside the pro-life realm. Our opposition’s deployment of legislative maneuvers and slanderous attacks reveals how effective our message (with varying methods) has been.
  3. Discerning versus Deciding  Any look ahead must involve spiritual discernment. Pregnancy help work is hard. In fact, this work takes more than what we bring to it. It requires the help of the One who called us to it. We desperately need the active involvement of the Holy Spirit in every aspect of the work – especially looking ahead. Prayer – personal and corporate – is a necessary action item to discern what 2020 will look like for the organization including those who lead the mission and fulfill it.
  4. Innovation versus Insulation – A glance back 30+ years shows how much the pregnancy help ministry has grown and changed. Innovation and entrepreneurship were hallmarks of the pioneers who have labored to advance this work. External and internal challenges tempt us to insulate against uncomfortable changes, entice us to formalize the familiar, and lure us to scoff at anything that’s not “the way we’ve always done it.” Over emphasis on “playing it safe” with static processes, antiquated tools, and outdated methods will not serve a mission that faces dynamic transition. Good practices are a “must.” Reliance on stale practices can make us too soon obsolete. Finding the right balance of the tried, the true, and the new is truly a gift from the Holy Spirit.
  5. Leadership versus Management – The mission continues to require leadership at every level and in every aspect. Leadership is different from management. While management is necessary for efficiency, leadership is critical for effectiveness. The pregnancy help movement will see major transitions in leadership over the next ten years. (Yes, even more change than we’ve already seen.) Leaders must nurture leadership in others and try to prepare others to hear the call of God to service. We nurture leadership in others by the example of our own stewardship, the practice of Christian principles, and intentionally mentoring the next generation of leaders. A vivid “2020 Vision” will require new leaders, along with managers, to push the envelope, deepen the impact, and maximize ministry.

As your 2010 unfolds, take time to plan a “2020 Vision” session. Whether in a dedicated meeting of a few hours or a discussion that unfolds over many months, the important thing is to take the time. Take time to sow seed that will flourish for those who will take up the mantle in 2020. Your decisions today will be their harvest then, so take the long view.

 

Out of Control: Finding Peace for the Physically Exhausted and Spiritually Strung Out

by Ben Young and Dr. Samuel Adams

(from Take Heart Volume 1, Issue 8)http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51C527GRH0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg

Do you ever feel out of control? Are you too often over scheduled, over committed, or over tired?

The title of Ben Young and Dr. Samuel Adams’ book, Out of Control Finding Peace for the Physically Exhausted and Spiritually Strung Out, is a mouthful. But don’t let that fool you! In this book, Young and Adam give us practical insights that are straightforward along with techniques that go right to the heart. They describe how to recognize the lies that feed our out-of-control lifestyles. They give help in rediscovering the power of full engagement through periodic disengagement -- also known as rest! They map out a road to explore deep insights by learning how to choose the life God designed for each of us.

I especially appreciated that the authors of this book did not shame the readers for the way we have been living. They empower us to make changes that will revolutionize our lives so that we maximize our most valuable resources of time and energy.

Reviewed by Betty McDowell, Heartbeat International Director of Ministry Services

Click here to order a copy...

Read more from this edition of Take Heart.

 

From smart decisions to wise leadership

by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice President

From On the LeaderBoard | Volume 1, Issue 3

“For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things cannot compare with her” (Proverbs 8:11).

In this age of information, the average leader is awash with details.  The great task of most days is wading through data to assemble, assimilate, and assign value to meaningful information.  But information by itself, without context, isn’t particularly helpful.  It’s likely just trivia.

Information must be organized into meaningful constructs to become knowledge. Knowledge becomes understanding when we find relevant application. Wisdom is manifested in how information, knowledge, and understanding are handled. Wisdom involves judgment, sensitivity, tact, and often, timing.

Where there is no choice, the exercise of wisdom is limited.  It is when we recognize multiple choices, possibilities, or actions that wisdom can become our friend and ally.  Judging between choices and possibilities leads us to questions about what we know, how we know it, and if we know enough.

A prudent question is one-half of wisdom. - Francis Bacon

Wisdom often involves balancing the need to gain more information with the available resources (including time) necessary to make an informed decision.

Besides information, there are other wisdom elements that come into play such as sensitivity to those involved or affected. The wise leader works to involve to some degree the stakeholders in the decision-making process.  That could be in the form of a single brainstorming session or, full-on collaborative planning process.  Even the most visionary thinker can have blind spots. Actively seeking the input of others, within reason, can minimize these as well as strengthen acceptance of the outcome.

The wise leader also factors the impact of the decision on others.


Once a decision is made, it is the responsibility of the Christian leader to use the most compassionate means to treat those affected and to support them... - Kurt Senske, Executive Values

There must always be sensitivity to the fact that, even with the best of intentions, some people may be negatively affected. Therefore, the best decisions will include appropriate tactfulness in implementation. Tact is also important in communicating the decision. Crafting vivid, warm, vision-focused language can tactfully define a decision for all involved. 

More than sensitivity and tact, wisdom seeks a process that honors all involved. Hard decisions, even those with difficult short-term consequences, can be implemented with this in mind.

A good decision, implemented in an untimely fashion, can produce negative results.

Nine-tenths of wisdom consists in being wise in time. - Theodore Roosevelt

Wisdom involves timing for many reasons – maximizing return on investment, minimizing negative impact, speed to achieve expected results, slow implementation allowing others to adjust, etc.  Tough decisions can require difficult steps that involve short term pain. But those difficult steps can be accomplished well.

Fortunately, wisdom isn’t just an innate quality reserved for a few. The book of Proverbs consistently implores us to seek and pursue it. Wisdom is promised by the Lord. Those serving in Christian ministry, at whatever level, should consistently pray for wisdom in all endeavors – personal, professional, and organizational.

“For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright…” (Proverbs 2:6-7).

Adapted from Heartbeat International’s foundational training manual, GOVERN Well™

 

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