This is a guest post from Wayne Chesley, the volunteer Men’s Mentoring Director at Metro Women’s Care.
As I was nearing retirement, God convicted me that it was time to leave the business world and He impressed on me a sense that I had more important things to do. I wasn’t exactly sure what His plan was, but knew that I was motivated to volunteer in my community.
I had been financially supporting my local pregnancy center, Assist Pregnancy Center (APC) in Annandale, VA, for many years. Soon after retirement, while attending their annual fundraising banquet, I learned they needed male volunteers. I thought back to my my personal experience with an unplanned pregnancy in college. My girlfriend (now wife of 45 years) and I decided to “do the right thing,” by marrying and parenting our child. I recalled clearly the challenges, pressures, and obstacles we experienced. I also remembered how in subsequent years God led me to accept Christ as I matured as a father to my son.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that God had prepared me to work with others facing unplanned pregnancies. I submitted my application and became a volunteer Client Mentor. I joined a volunteer team which already had two other male Client Mentors. These men were still working full time, so the extent of the ministry to men when I joined was an educational program one night a week. It became obvious to me that I had more hours available than these men, and more importantly, hours during the day. So I started to work with the leadership of APC and developed a plan for expanding services to men.
God has greatly blessed our efforts to minister to men. Here are some of the specifics that worked for my center, as I became the “champion” for the men’s ministry.
I focused my attention on two sources of knowledge and materials: Care Net and National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI). Because there is so much literature and Pro-Life communications available, I found it necessary to narrow it down. I used NFI’s “Father Friendly Check-Up” as a guide to ensure that our Center acknowledged male partners and treated them with the same importance as our female Clients.
I used Care Net’s Welcoming Him manual and earlier materials that describe the path to establishing Pregnancy Center services to men. I also started recruiting other men, which involved meeting personally with potential volunteers and visiting churches. I specifically encouraged men to volunteer who were available during daytime operating hours. Because we placed increased emphasis on encouraging female clients to bring their partners to their appointments, and more than 90 percent of these appointments are during the day, we would miss the opportunity to engage the father if there was not a male volunteer available to meet with them.
We now have about 55 percent of our daytime hours covered by male volunteers and pray that God will provide for total coverage soon. When a male volunteer is not available to meet with a male partner, we have established procedures for him to fill out a “Request for Services” that is very similar to that used for women. A male volunteer then makes a follow-up call to him using the contact information provided.
In our interactions with male clients, we rely extensively on NFI and Care Net for resources such as tip cards and brochures. These are important “take away” items that support discussions held during a Client “intake session” or visit. Other materials that have been impactful include Care Net’s “Before You Decide” magazine that is essential when speaking with an abortion-minded or undecided man.
For my personal growth, I’ve joined NFI’s Fatherhood Engagement Learning Community and interacted with peers on that network. I also made sure I was on NFI and Care Net’s email lists and regularly read their blogs. I also watch a lot of Roland Warren’s presentations, like this one on what it means to be “Pro Abundant Life.”
t takes someone to step up and be a “champion” to set a men’s ministry in motion at a Pregnancy Center. Is God calling you to do it? I assure you that if you get involved you will be greatly blessed.
Wayne Chesley attended Colgate University (BA). Earned a MS degree at Naval Post Graduate School. Served 26 years in the Navy, retiring in 2001 and continued to work in various executive positions in private industry before fully retiring in 2014. I’ve served as a volunteer at Metro Women’s Care for almost 5 years as the Men’s Mentoring Director.