“Now there was a certain man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, a devout man, and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people, and prayed to God continually.” Acts 10:1-2
There are times in our when we see God working elsewhere, but for whatever reason He doesn’t seem active in our own life. Others appear to be in the middle of God’s work and us? We’re watching, wondering why we don’t seem to be included.
Whenever we find ourselves thinking, “God doesn’t notice me,” let’s remember Cornelius in the Book of Acts.
We know Cornelius’ story, but have we looked closely? Cornelius was a Gentile (non-Jew), an Italian centurion—a soldier. Even though he had no connections to the Jewish nation, he gave financially to the Jewish people, and in this narrative, Luke also points out he “feared God with all his household . . . and prayed to God continually.”
Yet, even as God worked among the Jews and we see God sending his messiah, Cornelius was not part of anything. He kept praying. Kept teaching his family about God. Kept giving. But day after day, nothing. We don’t see the Jewish people welcoming him as one of their own. Cornelius was on the outside looking in.
Though he wasn’t seeing tangible results from his prayers, Cornelius—out there on his own regarding faith—stayed committed. Still, we can forgive Cornelius if he ever thought, What about me, God?
Then one day Cornelius received a visit from an angel, who told him his prayers had not been wasted at all. “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God,” the angel told him. The angel then asked our friend Cornelius to send men out to find Simon Peter, and, smart man that he was, Cornelius obeyed.
We know the rest of the story. Peter went to Cornelius’ home, where a mighty move of God brought the Good News to the Gentiles for the first time. Cornelius—the man who stayed committed even when he could see no real results—was likely the first Gentile in the history of planet Earth to be able to call himself “Christian.”
What about us? Whenever we feel as if we’re on the outside looking in, let’s stay committed. Let’s keep praying. Let’s keep looking for God to make His move. Though we may not see the results today, the fruit of our devotion may be closer than we think.
by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
“Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John, and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13
Early in Luke’s narrative of the Acts of the Apostles, we find the Sadducees had a problem. A fisherman named Peter stepped out and spoke to the people (Acts 2) and a stunning 3,000 people chose to be baptized in the name of a man named Jesus.
Just after this, Peter and John—these two average guys from Galilee—healed a man lame since birth (Acts 3). And, after Peter told the people how the man was healed, another 5,000 (and this is only counting the men!) latched on to this new movement.
For the Jewish leader leadership, this was a huge problem. Their hold on the people was disintegrating in front of their eyes. Thousands were walking away from them to follow a man Peter and his friends claimed God raised from the dead.
If the religious leaders didn’t do something—and soon—their entire power base would erode in weeks.
But what was the Sadducees’ biggest obstacle to stopping Peter, John and the others? It wasn’t the apostle’s education; the Sadducees were far more educated. Nor were the apostles trained well in Jewish law, traditions or the rites of the priesthood. Fact is, they didn’t know how to out-religious the religious leadership. They couldn’t sway anyone by claiming more knowledge or understanding.
Yet, the people marveled because this rag-tag group of apostles carried with them one characteristic which separated them from all opposition: They had been with Jesus.
What about us? If we want to reach a hurting world, knowledge has its value. Paul had knowledge and used his education to influence many, and even implores his protégé, Timothy, to “handle accurately the word of truth,” which implies educating ourselves (II Tim. 2:15).
Ultimately however, our greatest influence comes when others see we’ve been with Jesus. But let’s be real. This task is difficult in this crazy, social-media filled, informationally overloaded, busier than ever world.
We must take the time to stop, reset our minds and rest in Jesus Christ, or we will become just another voice in the noise of the culture.
As we go about our day, at some point let’s ask ourselves one question: “What is one thing I can do to be with Jesus?”
Our answers may vary, depending on our personalities. But each of us has an answer which is best for us. Once we receive our answer, let’s do that one thing—so that others may know, “This person has been with Jesus.”
by Kirk Walden Advancement Specialist
But they themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus—Luke 6:11
We know wherever Jesus went, many loved him and followed. But some—almost always the cultural and religious leaders—despised him no matter what he did.
In the verse above, the scribes and Pharisees in the synagogue were filled with rage because Jesus did the unthinkable, healing a man’s withered hand . . . on the Sabbath. How dare Jesus do such a thing? Couldn’t he have waited until Sunday?
No, Jesus could not wait. He had a point to make. Over the years, those in charge of all things religious had been adding to the law of God, creating extra rules regarding what it meant to “keep the Sabbath holy.” These rules were relatively easy for those in authority to keep; they didn’t have to worry much about tending flocks, finding food and getting oxen out of ditches.
But for those under their religious authority, keeping all the man-made Sabbath rules was an incredible burden.
Jesus then, asked a question when he saw the man with the withered hand. “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do harm, to save a life, or to destroy it?”
Like every one of Jesus’ questions, this was a good one. It boxed the religious leaders in a corner, pointing out the hypocrisy of their thinking.
Therefore, they were “filled with rage.” To Jesus, it was not surprising to see leaders of his own culture angry with him. He appealed to normal people, and this was too much for them to stomach.
Today, it’s no different. In our culture the “leaders” are those who preach to us about what we must think and how we must behave. They are in Hollywood, the media, and some are in the political realm. They tell us we are to bow down to gods like “choice” and “tolerance.”
Over time, these leaders created their own commandments; commandments which seek to impede—or even stop us from reaching those who need all of us in the pregnancy help community. According to these commandments, we are to cease talking about faith. And, we must desist from speaking honestly about the wonder of human life.
As those who serve in the pregnancy help community, we understand the opposition Jesus faced. Like him, we ask ourselves, “Is it lawful in our society to do good? To save a life?”
Our answer is always “Yes.” Because just like Jesus, we realize there is never a wrong time and never a wrong situation . . . to do good.
“For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.” John 4:8
We all know the story of the woman at the well in Samaria; Jesus approached a woman, asking her for water. A conversation develops, Jesus reveals to her that he is the messiah and soon, she is telling all who will hear, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?”
Later in the narrative we read (Jn. 4:39), “And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman . . .”
But before this fascinating interaction with the woman at the well took place, something quite mundane is described. The disciples had to go buy food.
Interesting, isn’t it? Elsewhere in the gospels, Jesus solves the food issue with miracles. But not this time. The disciples were sent out . . . to the “grocery store” of the day.
When the disciples were gone (Jn. 4:8), Jesus was alone—and thirsty. Without a group around him, Jesus could connect directly and uniquely with just one person; the woman at the well. Could you imagine the many conversations which might have taken place had Jesus and twelve disciples asked this woman for water?
Seeing thirteen men, would this woman have been so willing to ask Jesus probing questions? Would she have been as honest and transparent?
I’m guessing here, but if the disciples had been on the scene, maybe this story would not be in our Bible today. It’s not that the disciples would have done anything “wrong;” it’s just that the heartfelt interaction we see in this story is not nearly as likely in a group setting.
Yet on this occasion the disciples were elsewhere. Certainly, the disciples were vital to advancing the message Jesus taught. And we will see in the Book of Acts that these same men (absent Judas) learned from Jesus and spread his message like wildfire. Just not at the well.
Our role in this faith is not always to be out front. Sometimes, we go buy the food so another can take the lead.
In the story of the woman at the well, we see that through a one-on-one interaction, many came to believe in the message Jesus brought. This is an amazing and memorable moment, and should be.
But let’s not forget the disciples. The moment would come when they would “turn the world upside down” with the same message. But before this could take place, they had to go buy food. They had to do the mundane. They had to get out of the way.
The disciples only got a sentence in the Bible for their trip to find food. But what they did was important as well. They paved the way for a powerful message that day; a message that would change the course of history not only for the Samaritan woman, but for those in her city and the millions upon millions who learn from this same story even today.
Sometimes, we do the mundane. That’s important, too.
by Jay Hobbs, Director of Marketing & Communications
By now, it’s no mystery: If you don’t reach clients or donors online, you’ll have limited hopes of carrying out your life-saving mission.
What’s a little more mysterious, however, is exactly how to meet your clients and donors online. Is Facebook enough? How about Twitter? Instagram? Website banner ads?
Like any other technological shift, moving your reach online is an ongoing process, filled with unexpected twists and turns—and probably a lot more trial and error than we’d all like to admit. And so much of your online success depends on putting simple (and often cost-free!) tools to work in the most efficient way possible.
That’s why a group of my fellow Heartbeat International co-workers and I are looking forward to seeing you at our in-depth day, Putting Your Mission on the Map at this year’s Annual Conference April 18 in Chicago.
Running projects like Option Line, Extend Web Services, Pregnancy Help News and the Heartbeat International websites and social media outreach efforts, our team is constantly learning what it takes to be successful online—and we can’t wait to pass along our most recent findings at the Conference.
Together, we’ll hit five specific areas of online reach throughout the day. From getting the most of out Social Media—which you can learn more about here—to harnessing the power of the Web through Local Search, pay-per-click advertising and a SEM-optimized website presence, you’ll walk out with a clear-headed vision of reaching clients and donors in an online world.
Don’t miss out on this exclusive chance to roll up your sleeves and hammer out your online marketing strategy with our team. You can book your space here—but don’t hesitate, because spaces are filling up as we speak!
See you in Chicago!
by Carrie Beliles, International Program Specialist
You know abortion is a worldwide epidemic that must be addressed by life-affirming pregnancy help wherever it exists. But, what can you and your center do to help advance life-affirming help on the other side of the world?
The answer may be simpler than you’d think. In fact, with Heartbeat International’s Life Reach Global, it’s only a couple of clicks away.
Connecting U.S.-based pregnancy help people with global friends, Life Reach Global is one way Heartbeat International’s network can push ahead in our shared hope of making abortion unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations all over the world.
At Heartbeat International, we have long encouraged local organizations to connect with one another for ongoing partnerships during our Annual Conference, pairing U.S. organizations with their sister outreaches outside the States for mutual support and encouragement.
One example of this was at our 2014 Annual Conference, where attendees from all over the world pitched together to present our friend, “Lilli”, with a check to cover the first year’s operations at China’s first-ever Heartbeat affiliate. Now, partnering with life-saving efforts like Lilli’s is simpler than ever through Life Reach Global.
How Does Life Reach Global Work?
You start by selecting an life-saving affiliate of Heartbeat International, each of which Heartbeat has reviewed and approved to received funds through Life Reach Global.
After you give through Life Reach Global, Heartbeat International transfers your donation to the recipient organization. In most cases, your gift (less transaction fees) will reach the recipient organization in full, though in some cases, Heartbeat International will deduct no more than 1 percent for an affiliation or administration fee.
The recipient organization will receive the funds on at least a quarterly basis.
As a giver, your donation through Life Reach Global is tax-deductible because of Heartbeat International’s worldwide mission.
How Can We Receive Funds through Life Reach Global?
If your non-U.S. pregnancy help organization has been a Heartbeat International affiliate in good standing for at least the past 12 months, you can apply to receive funds through Life Reach Global.
A couple of years ago, while working on a capital campaign for a center, I made a commitment to walk in the center’s Walk for Life. Because I don’t live in the city where the center operates, I set up a personal fundraising page through MinistrySync, which took all of five minutes.
That evening I posted a link to my page on Facebook and met my goal within hours.
Today’s donors want giving to be quick and easy, so why don’t we help? For those of us who are involved in fundraising, we can use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to casually mention from time to time, “If you are interested in supporting the ministry where I serve, here is the link.” Then of course, we post the link!
We don’t have to wait for a Walk or any other event to ask our friends to kick in a gift. They already believe in us, so some will want to go the next step and support our work.
We can link to our donor page and if we use this method, ask friends to mention their connection to us so we can track gifts. For instance, “When you give, add the comment, ‘Kirk sent me!’
Or, we can use a funding page such as You Save Babies (more on that HERE!).
Set a Goal
“Would you mind giving?” is not nearly as powerful as, “I’m looking to raise $1,250 for . . .” A goal, and updating friends every few days, gives friends more connection and the ability to say, “I helped Kirk accomplish his mission.”
Give a Reason
“Support my work” is nice, but, “I want to raise $1250 so that this ministry can . . .” is better.
Start with a Gift
Asking is more effective when people see themselves as joining, instead of starting a process. Consider what we wish to be an average gift and make that gift to start the process: “I chipped in $25; please join me with a gift of any size.”
Giving needs to be simple today because fewer and fewer of us are willing to sit down and write a check. Let’s continue to look for ways to connect our friends to our work—as quickly as they can click a mouse.
Click here for more of this month's Advancement Trends in the Life Community.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Local pro-life pregnancy help organizations have a new way to grow the support of their community, with the launch of YouSaveBabies.com, a web platform that connects donors with the life-saving work of pregnancy centers, pregnancy medical clinics, maternity homes and nonprofit adoption agencies.
Launched by Heartbeat International, the world’s largest network of pregnancy help, YouSaveBabies enables groups and individuals to promote and raise funds for the life-saving outreach of their choice.
Ideas for starting a fundraiser—which can be promoted via social media channels—include races and other personal goals, birthdays, in memory of loved ones, or as a way to coalesce the support of local church groups around a local pregnancy center. Starting a fundraiser is as simple as selecting an organization and filling out a brief fundraising form. All donations—less credit card transaction fees—go directly to the organization of choice.
“We’re confident YouSaveBabies will play a vital role in what Heartbeat International is most committed to doing—advancing life-affirming pregnancy help at the local level,” Heartbeat International president Jor-El Godsey said. “Pregnancy help organizations are rescuing lives and helping to build strong families every single day. Donors and other supporters are invigorated to see that, and YouSaveBabies is a great way for them to connect.”
The giving platform utilizes FundEasy, web software by Ministry Sync that has helped faith-based nonprofits raise over $35 million since its rollout in 2010. Individual pregnancy help organizations can choose to embed a YouSaveBabies giving badge on their donor websites to raise awareness for newly unveiled platform.
Heartbeat International affiliates in the U.S. and those available through Heartbeat International’s 24-7 contact center Option Line (1-800-712-HELP, OptionLine.org) are automatically listed in the YouSaveBabies network, which includes over 2,000 pregnancy help locations.
“This is a great step forward for our friends on the local level, and it’s another way we can work together to build a culture where no woman ever feels so alone or coerced that she feels abortion is her only choice,” Godsey said. “Pregnancy help provides compassionate support and real choice, and these life-saving organizations have a new friend in YouSaveBabies.”
About Heartbeat International Heartbeat International is the first network of pro-life pregnancy help organizations founded in the U.S. (1971), and the largest network in the world. With 2,000 affiliated pregnancy help locations—including pregnancy help medical clinics (with ultrasound), resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies—Heartbeat serves on all six inhabited continents to provide alternatives to abortion.
by Ducia Hamm
What would bring 62 diverse individuals from a variety of pregnancy help organizations, hailing from 26 states, Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas together at the offices of Heartbeat International in Columbus, Ohio? Without a doubt–that would be Heartbeat International's Pregnancy Help Institute.
One pregnancy help leader summed up her experience as, “a great boot camp and leadership training that helps ensure our future success.”
Pregnancy Help Institute consists of three separate learning tracks: New Directors, Development and Leadership. This year, attendees were able to take advantage of unique opportunities that included a tour of the offices of both Heartbeat International and our 24/7 pregnancy helpline, Option Line.
Each day of the weeklong event started out with a gathering for prayer, devotion and fellowship centered on God’s Word before everyone headed off to their respective training tracks.
At the New Directors training, 48 new executive directors, each with less than three years’ experience in their position, received in-depth training designed just for them. Using the DIRECT Well Manual as their textbook, these new directors were able to benefit from Heartbeat International leaders Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D. and Jor-El Godsey along with Senior Director of Ministry Services Betty McDowell and several of Heartbeat International's expereienced staff members.
In addition, participants gained firsthand instruction on navigating the HeartbeatServices.org website while learning the benefits that OptionLine offers to life-affirming organizations.
“Being a new director is a complex position and a role that involves many facets,” one director told us. “This training gave a comprehensive overview of many of these facets that would be valuable for [new] directors”.
The Development track, an intimate group of six leaders jumped in with both feet on a path toward building strong funding plans for the future.
“With this size, we have a lot of free-wheeling discussion and the opportunity to address a lot of situations,” Kirk Walden, Heartbeat International’s Advancement Specialist and the track’s instructor, said. “And because we had development directors and executive directors from varying-sized organizations, we touched on a little bit of everything and were able to zero in on a lot of individual needs and challenges.”
The Development track addressed everything from a biblical perspective on fundraising to finding and building eight revenue streams that, while relationships stay strong, never run dry.
“Raising funds is about connecting in a meaningful way with those who care about our work, and then providing ways for these friends to do what they want to do—which is to support our work,” Kirk said. “It’s not complicated, but there is a process to all of this.
“The goal of the track is to not only identify how to be successful in building support, but to make sure each person who attends can say, ‘Hey, we can do this.’ I want everyone to walk away with practical tools and plan that works for them individually. That’s the important thing.”
Woven throughout the Leadership track were concepts developed by Built to Lead, an executive coaching program that has trained CEOs, presidents, and ministry leaders nationwide. Kitty Allen and John Rue from Built to Lead guided the group through “The 12 Essentials of Personal Excellence©”.
One of the attendees, Heartbeat International's own Tony Gruber, was part of the Leadership track.
“The class-time was informative, inspiring, and helpful,” Tony said. “I especially appreciated the homework reading assignments. What struck me the most was the high caliber of leadership in pregnancy help organizations and the opportunity that the Institute offered to meet leaders from around the country.”
Wondering whether you should attend the Pregnancy Help Institute in 2016? Check out this endorsement:
"I am leaving this week feeling encouraged, empowered and confident to continute to do the work the Lord has called me to do."
Sound like something you want to say next year? Bookmark this page and we'll see you then!
It's not a stretch to say that Nehemiah was an expert fundraiser. We just don't think of him in this way, because his heart for God and his people, and his passion for the project of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem takes precedence in our minds.
Quick note: What if those we approach regarding funding viewed us first as having a heart for God and his people? And what if another of the key characteristics they see in us is our passion for the mission we serve? Aren't these worthy attributes for us to pursue? To that end, what if those we ask see our role in development as secondary (or "thirdondary," to make up a new word)?
Actually, it is Nehemiah's heart and his passion that made him a great fundraiser. In keeping with this, he built on this foundation with two more sterling traits. First, he was a man of prayer.
When he first heard the news regarding Jerusalem's wall, Nehemiah broke down in tears (Neh. 1:4). His next step? Prayer. In his narrative (Neh. 1:5-2:2), Nehemiah notes that this time of prayer lasted about four months. After this time, he was prepared when King Artaxerxes asked, "Why is your face sad though you are not sick?"
Because he had spent months in prayer, when the king asked of Nehemiah's need, he had a ready answer. Though he was scared, Nehemiah asked with clarity and conviction. Oh, and he asked big, too.
Nehemiah didn't just ask for a few days off to go see about a wall. His time in prayer had given him a clear picture of exactly what would be needed to complete his project. In just a short audience with the king, Nehemiah asked for:
A good development plan is a specific one. And that plan also includes all that is needed to complete a project.
An example of this in a pregnancy help ministry might be if we are asking for an ultrasound machine to commit to a medical model. If we are in this situation, asking for the machine is only a portion of the project.
Are we also asking for funds for training, staffing, renovation, insurance and materials? And almost always forgotten, are we also asking for the funds to properly market our new initiative in the community (after all, what good is an ultrasound machine if we are not letting people know of our new service)?
Let's pray. Then, let's clearly ask for all we need to complete a project. This model is as old as the Old Testament's Nehemiah. And, it works.
Click here for more of this month's Advancement TLC.
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