“If the Church wants to see a nation without abortions, the Church must provide answers”: Pastor Norman Ng
Pastor Norman Ng // March 20, 2020, 7:31 pm
"While there are unplanned pregnancies, there are no unwanted children," says Pastor Norman Ng. Photo by Tai's Captures on Unsplash.
In the one year since the launch of the HeartbeatProject.sg, an online platform providing stories for Christians to converse about life and abortion, we have found immense potential for the Church to shape a culture of life in Singapore.
There are five key pillars, from foetal stage to life, that can significantly alter the country’s climate towards the matter of abortion.
After all, if the Church of Singapore wants to see a nation without abortion, then Singapore needs to see that the answer to unsupported pregnancies comes from the Church.
1. Supporting unplanned pregnancies
There are many unplanned pregnancies every year. However in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, while there are unplanned pregnancies, there are no unwanted children.
The Church in Singapore can come together to help those in a crisis pregnancy make life-giving choices.
“While there are unplanned pregnancies, there are no unwanted children.”
Safe Place that is run by Jennifer Heng does that. They seek to empower women to take personal responsibility of their situations, be equipped with life skills for themselves and their child, and embrace motherhood with confidence and hope.
Over a span of two years, Safe Place has come along side 102 woman to help them make life-giving decisions.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35, NIV)
Dear Pastors, may this model that Jennifer and her team pioneered be a vision that there could be a safe place in each of our churches that would support believers as well as the community that we are planted in.
2. Supporting single mothers
The Church can come alongside to help single mothers too. Many single mothers who made the brave decision to carry their child to term are estranged from their families and are forced to manage with little support.
“There are no super humans. Instead, God’s command is for the church to be super-neighbours.”
Some of them are the sole provider for their child, Consequently they must place their child in childcare while they work. In the event that their child falls ill, these mothers have to take urgent leave to bring their child to the clinic, which could leave them severely disadvantaged at work.
Single mothers are often also the sole caregiver for their child’s physical, mental and emotional needs twenty-four-seven, without respite.
They are called to be “Supermums”. Yet as extraordinary as all mothers are, there are no super-humans. Instead, God’s command is for the church to be super-neighbours.
How can the Church support singe mothers? Leo Hee Khian and his wife, Roxanne, provide a shelter for several single mothers through a form of community living. They cook for the mothers and children and provide social and emotional support where they are able to. Their kindness is especially appreciated during the times when the children of the single mothers fall ill.
They require all the help they can get and if you are interested to get involved either personally or more corporately, by deploying your life group network, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Fostering vulnerable children
In Singapore, there are about 1,200 children who are under foster care for reasons such as abuse, neglect or abandonment, or their parents are unable to care for them. These could be because of imprisonment, physical or mental illness or the death of one or both parents.
According to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), only 600 of these vulnerable children, separated from their birth parents who are unable to take care of them, are in the care of foster parents.
If every church fosters just one child, we can provide homes for most of the vulnerable children.
The rest are residing in children’s homes, where they will assuredly receive the care they need, but not the security and stability of a home environment and the nurturing love of foster parents.
Just last month, a boy was sexually abused in one of the institutionalised foster homes.
Fellow Pastors, there are about 600 churches in Singapore. If every church in Singapore fosters just one child, we can provide foster homes for most of the vulnerable children who can benefit from a family environment.
The math of the matter makes it sound simple. But yet it seems like it would take a miracle for churches to rise to this task.
I believe that good families will rise to foster. And we would truly live out the words in Psalm 68.
The privileged Church in Singapore is sometimes known more for what we are against than for the love that the body of Christ ought to demonstrate.
I believe that good families will rise to foster. And by doing so, we would truly live out the words in Psalm 68 for the fatherless in our city:
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” (Psalm 68:5-6, NIV)
To find out more about fostering, you can contact Home For Good.
While most newborn babies go from hospital to home, Baby Kaela had a different story. Kaela was fostered out the same day she was born. Her biological family couldn’t care for her and given their circumstances, fostering would be the best care plan they could hope. Her grandmother cried out to God with a desperate plea, that He would find a loving family for her granddaughter. But could a stranger ever love her granddaughter as if she was their own child? Find out how one family changed the life of a child and be inspired on how you can make a difference too.#EveryLifeMatters #HeartbeatProject
Posted by The Heartbeat Project on Wednesday, 4 March 2020
4. Turning from abortion to adoption
Adoption of children into families is a beautiful parallel of God’s adoptive love for us. It is a physical and tangible way of showing love to a child, born out of love and relationship, not just from the womb.
As Christians who have received adoption into God’s family, we should be the very ones who understand and embrace adoption. Not just adoption of “perfect babies”, but also children of different ages and needs. Just like how we were adopted in our weaknesses and imperfect states.
Adoption of children into families is a beautiful parallel of God’s adoptive love for us.
In 2018 there were 432 adoption applications by singles and couples looking to adopt, according to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MCFD). This was 15% more than the previous year.
Yet adoption agencies say that adoption is still a taboo topic amongst Christians and churches.
A lack of response could serve to discourage Christian women with unplanned pregnancies to seek an abortion instead of considering bringing the baby to term for adoption.
“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’.” (Romans 8:15, NIV)
As children who have been given new life through the Spirit of adoption, may we be the generation that makes fostering and adoption a common topic in the house of the Father who adopted us all.
5. Being inclusive to the special needs community
There are several churches with a ministry that supports the special needs community. This has allowed some families of children with special needs to continue to gather and be ministered to in churches.
It is important as the special needs community is part of the body of Christ. And even though they seem to be weaker, that is where the Apostle Paul writes that not only are they indispensable, they are to be treated with special honour:
The Apostle Paul writes that, not only are they indispensable, they are to be treated with special honour.
“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty.” (1 Corinthians 12:21-23, NIV)
However, it is not uncommon for this part of the community to be treated as an afterthought. When was the last time the special needs community was mentioned in your church? When did your last event or programme cater to them?
Fellow Pastors, I too am guilty of forgetting this part of the body of Christ. I have failed to acknowledge their presence and the need for the Church to take responsibility to care for them.
I believe, though, that when we acknowledge their presence and when we start to see them, God will show us how we can be a part of their lives.
Before we dream of an inclusive society in Singapore that can embrace the special needs community, let’s do our part first. Let’s create an inclusive church where our special needs friends are welcome to be part of God’s family, fully seen and embraced at the same time.
Majoring on a special needs programme for children might not yield as much economies of scale as a typical children’s ministry. But ministering to each one of them allows us the unique privilege to minister to our Lord Jesus, Himself.
May we truly be a Church that provides an eco system that gives life, and life to the fullest.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’” (Matthew 25:40, NIV)
I imagine them to be the ones that Jesus stops for. If you have been considering shifting resources and budget for this ministry, I would like to affirm you that you are on the right path.
May it never be said of the Church that we are “pro-birth”, merely lobbying for struggling mothers not to abort their unborn child. But may we truly be a Church that provides an eco system that gives life, and life to the fullest, even to the members of our body that appear to be weaker.
Impacting our land
Dear Pastors of Singapore, we’ve barely lived with the coronavirus for 50 days and have taken decisive actions at an unprecedented level. Yet this silent holocaust has impacted our land for the last 50 years.
The potential for the Church to play a part is so huge that every decision makes a significant difference.
In the midst of social distancing measures, online services and small group gatherings, I humbly request for you to consider addressing this matter in small, but decisive, ways.
For two of three young Christians, age 18 to 35, to say that abortion is acceptable most of the time is not a light matter. They are quite literally the future of the Church.
Even though we may have failed this paper this time round, we have the opportunity to turn this situation around.
The potential for the Church to play a part is so huge that every decision makes a significant difference.
As we move into the 51st year since the Abortion Bill came into effect, together we can work as one body to build a culture of life in Singapore – a culture that sees every child as a blessing and not a burden, a culture that values and supports every child, born and unborn.
As we speak to our young people about this matter, they can become the influencers of life in their schools and campuses.
The Church can become a safer place for those in a crisis pregnancy and actual lives will be saved.
When Mark and Sarah found out they were pregnant, their world collapsed. She was 18 and in school. He was 21 and had just entered the army. They were youth leaders in church and leading a double life. No one knew about their relationship. How would their friends and family react to their teenage pregancy? This Youth Day weekend, watch how 2 youths made a choice between life and death.#EveryLifeMatters #HeartbeatProject #YouthDay
Posted by The Heartbeat Project on Friday, 5 July 2019
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27, NIV)
Let us reflect our Father’s heart to Father the fatherless and defend the most vulnerable in our society, the unborn.
From One Pastor to Another,