for Ministry Leaders
“Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.” I Samuel 1:13-14
- Just as Eli the priest did not understand Hannah’s plea for a child, church and ministry leaders often miss the cry from women and couples in their congregations. Many who experience infertility, adoption attempts or infant loss often feel disillusioned with their places of worship, thinking they can receive help.
Here are some suggestions for pastors or ministry leaders:
- As a place of worship, what is your definition of a family?
- Get educated. 1 in 8 American couples struggle with infertility. Be sensitive to the reality of infertility within your congregation. Any insensitivity to this issue can draw couples away from the church, feeling excluded altogether.
- Be aware of asking and suggesting that a childless couple should help in the nursery.
- For Mother/Fathers Day service or Baby Dedication day, a simple prayer for all hurting on these special days helps to soften the sting of being left out of the celebration.
- With advanced reproductive technology comes ethical questions. Be prepared to offer basic scriptural guidelines for families that are seeking counsel. Check our Resource page for resources.
- With marriage being delayed in our culture, be sensitive to the singles longing for children.
- Post any baby-day events in your bulletin early so families that are grieving over infertility or infant loss can prepare themselves.
- Don’t elevate parenthood to the point where one feels cursed because they do not have children yet.
- Beware of saying: ”Motherhood/Fatherhood is the highest calling for a Christian” or “Children are the ultimate sign of God’s blessing on your marriage.”
Ideas for your Place of Worship
- Look for an infertile couple to start a support group ministry.
- Place flowers on the altar during a special holiday, i.e. Mother’s Day, in support of those families who long for children, have lost children in pregnancy, stillbirth or early infant loss and in memory of the child.
- Hold a special service apart from your regular service for couples dealing with miscarriage or stillbirth.
- What about a Presentation Day? Go to: www.cedarpark.org/presentation/
- For additional information, please see our Resource Page