Hope Center in Mayfield is challenging the idea that pregnancy centers are only for expectant mothers and babies.
For over three years, their For Men program has provided counseling and education for expectant fathers, teaching men how to fill a support role during pregnancy and an active role during parenting.
“It is valuable to have a men’s program at a pregnancy center because it gives an outlet for men to find the encouragement and counsel that is so beneficial for the particular season they are in,” said Ian Carrico, a current church evangelism strategist with the Kentucky Baptist Convention who served on Hope Center’s board of directors for 2 1/2 years.
“It is valuable for the mother and father to have that mutual place and ministry that is speaking the same scriptural admonitions and counsel simultaneously. As we often statistically see, and rightfully so, when men are proactive and involved, the chances increase for greater stability,” Carrico added.
During the 10-week For Men program, fathers meet with Jackson Greer, the executive director of Hope Center, or other counselors to watch videos on topics related to fatherhood, work through discussion questions, and set goals. Sometimes both the fathers and mothers will watch lessons on pregnancy and parenting together.
“One of the big things I’ve heard in the counseling room…when the dads are here, there’s a huge realization that (parenting) is a team thing,” Greer said.
Empowering fathers to step up and establish healthy habits before the baby arrives is one of the aims of the program, said Greer. And relationships developed in the counseling room have also paved the way for gospel conversations.
As a father himself, Greer has been able to use his own testimony to talk about the imagery of God being a father in scripture. He’ll often use the example of his newborn crying, unaware that dad was right there to keep him safe, in order to demonstrate the nearness of God.
“Life experiences, of using those windows, truly helped (gospel conversations) be much more organic,” Greer explained. “It’s an organic conversation because that’s (a) key part of my life.”
Whether clients profess faith in Christ or not, Hope Center has able to present the gospel and provide encouragement to numerous parents in the Mayfield area.
“The Hope Center is the voice in the area for pro-life causes, convictions and ministry opportunities,” Carrico added. “Its impact is threaded through the counseling rooms in the Hope Center, to the church rooms across the region and into the delivery rooms in hospitals where mothers and fathers have chosen life. I know God’s blessings and favor abide upon the Hope Center as they do everything they can, every day they can, to promote life.”