Help Wanted: Men in the Movement

by Mark McDougal, Development Director of Ruth Harbor MinistriesMen Make an Impact

What would motivate a man to participate in the pregnancy help movement? What would motivate women to ask or encourage men to get involved?

Consider two key reasons and a few practical thoughts.

1. To Steward His Gifts

God uniquely designed us on purpose, male and female, to accomplish His purposes and the work we were called to complete (Genesis 1:27, 2:18-23). There are certainly circumstances, conversations, and tasks that are better suited for one gender over the other, but the work of the pregnancy help ministry is enormous! Thankfully, the body of Christ is diverse, and each individual is gifted to accomplish God’s work (1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12:4-6a). We can have success utilizing less than our full potential, but why not take advantage of the entire body of Christ—His original design—when it is available to us? For instance, most single moms would suggest that parenting is more manageable and generally more successful when a dad is positively participating in their child’s life.

Biblically, the Lord has given men the role and responsibility of protection and covering for the family unit (1 Peter 3:7). The impact of a male presence should not be overlooked or underestimated. The presence of men can give a sense of safety, care, or protection. Though not exclusive to males, men make great coaches, consultants, mentors, and advisors. They round out, bring diversity, and give perspective in decision-making and to leadership staff or board.

2. To Model God’s Design

When we live out our ministry, our work, or our board life utilizing God’s design, we testify or model that design. It may seem passive, but it is an effective form of discipleship and an example for others. And since we care for more than just a decision for life, clients should see mature Christian men and how they interact with women with whom they are not romantically involved.

Many women (and men) we serve have never experienced interactions with a male who honored them, set good boundaries, and honored the Lord. This is not just an introduction to a broader view of men, but an opportunity to help female and male clients see themselves the way their heavenly Father sees them: cherished, loved, accepted, and valued. On more than one occasion, new moms impacted by our ministry have said, “I want to find a husband like ______.” (Insert name of male staff member)

Male team members can have this impact, and female staff members who are married can also encourage their husbands to be around and volunteer in appropriate ways.

Over time, affirming and healthy relationships between men—individually or as a couple/family—often yield a very positive impact; even from short encounters such as helping deliver furniture, assisting in purchasing a vehicle, taking them to church, cooking a meal, job coaching, and discussing finances, maintenance, or repairs. As we “do life” and interact with clients, they observe our interactions and relationships and begin to make comments about how it is different than what they have experienced in the past. Voila! An open door to share God's redemptive story and how it can lead them to choose something different for their future!

When a woman in trauma or abuse is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, seeing a godly, Christian man walk out his faith, and show love and affection for his wife (and children), while biblically serving vulnerable pregnant women and their children, can be life-changing and healing for her. It's supernatural and beautiful!

And finally, a few practical thoughts:

  • There are certainly some client conversations/activities that should come from women. However, if we wish to reach men, we specifically need male volunteers and staff for some conversations/activities.
  • When I hear “men should rise up and participate,” most often it’s voiced by women.
  • Men need to be invited to participate in the pregnancy help movement, by women AND by other men.
  • Men can encourage and challenge other men in ways women can't, by encouraging them to step up to their responsibility as fathers, boyfriends, husbands, or leaders. Men can get other men involved in the movement by encouraging them to use their gifts or finances to make a difference.
  • To quote some female colleagues in the pregnancy help movement, “We tend to fight less with each other when men are present.”

If you are a man who serves in pregnancy help, thank you for your commitment and impact! I encourage you to invite a male friend to your center to see the invaluable work you do.

If you are a woman who serves in pregnancy help, thank you for exercising your spiritual gifts for life! I encourage you to invite a man in your life to your center to share about the impact men can (and do) make in the pro-life movement.


Mark McDougal served Ruth Harbor Ministries in Iowa as Executive Director for over 20 years as well as the leadership teams of Heartbeat’s Maternity Housing Coalition (MHC) and National Christian Housing Conference (NCHC). He has hired male staff team members, and couples as house parents, and typically has 50% or more male board members. He recently took a new role in their ministry as Development Director to make more time for family and consulting with other maternity homes and pregnancy centers. Contact Mark by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..