By Rachel Mari
The context is the pregnancy center, but the goal is sharing the Gospel. Using this Good News-focused approach, Gateway Pregnancy Centers in Union and Elizabeth, New Jersey have been able to reach tens of thousands of women over the past 34 years.
Since its inception in 1985, Gateway has counseled 36,817 women, along with thousands of men; celebrated 5,871 known babies born; and witnessed 4,193 trusting Christ as Savior and Lord and thousands more recommitting their lives to Him.
“The distinctive quality of Gateway is probably in our intentionally sharing the Gospel with everyone we see. Only 10% of pregnancy centers do this. Every opportunity may be the only opportunity for men and women to hear the Gospel,” said Gateway’s Executive Director Pastor Dean Gavaris. “Our vehicle is the pregnancy center, but our message must always be the Gospel. This is our calling and man’s only hope.”
Headquartered in Union, Gateway Pregnancy Centers offer counseling in person and online. The offices also provide pregnancy tests, ultrasound services, baby items, education on abortion alternatives, abstinence education, medical and housing referrals, parenting counseling, and men’s support to those considering abortion. Counseling is also given to women that have already had an abortion.
“None of this has occurred because of our zeal, our efforts, or our proficiency, but as a direct result of the Holy Spirit being allowed to minister to hearts,” said Gavaris. “Only as we allow God through His Word to speak to hearts, will [they] be made whole.”
Abortion has existed in the United States for 47 years and Gavaris contends “Christians have had their attention diverted to less important methods of ending abortion, rather than by sharing the truth about abortion and the Gospel in one-on-one settings.”
“This has led to the focus being on the abortion as an act of violence, which has taken the focus away from the Christ-less heart,” he said. “Protesting and voting have their place, but a spiritual issue can only be fought in the power of the Holy Spirit – and with the Word of God…Since 18% of all abortions are for born-again Christians, perhaps our hearts need to be more convicted before we can be used by the Holy Spirit to bring others to the truth.”
So what can change the situation, according to Gavaris? “Revival of the church and removal of abortion go hand in hand,” he said. “We can’t expect evil to disappear until we challenge that evil within our own hearts and within our own churches. Silence on repentance allows abortion to be seen as a social or political issue without the focus on the heart issue – the heart.”