Advocating solely for the sanctity of life is just not enough. To see a decrease in abortions, we must also champion the sanctity of marriage and the family.

That was the premise offered by Care Net President and CEO Roland Warren when he was the guest on a recent National Association of Evangelicals podcast. Warren was interviewed by Dr. Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), an organization that represents approximately 40 denominations and thousands of churches, schools, and nonprofits.

On the podcast, Warren unpacked Care Net’s Pro Abundant Life Movement, a holistic, compassionate perspective based on John 10:10 (“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”) and focused on God’s design for the family.

Warren lamented that the pro-life movement often focuses on a narrative that “has been framed by the other side… We have a strategy about helping the woman and saving the baby, but what we lost on the way was the whole notion of reaching the guy.”

At Care Net, that narrative began to change approximately 10 years ago, Warren said. At the time, only about six percent of Care Net-affiliated pregnancy centers offered any resources for men. Today, close to 70% of affiliated pregnancy centers have some form of ministry for men and staff members who engage men.

Warren, who has been the President and CEO at Care Net since 2012, previously served as president of the National Fatherhood Initiative. His shift in perspective regarding the pro-life movement and men began to change when he considered the implications of the Christmas story. The birth of Jesus, an unplanned pregnancy, exemplifies God’s design for the family, he said.

“Mary had hopes and dreams for her life that did not include a child at that time and in that way,” he said. “And what does she do? She focuses on the certainty that there is a life growing inside of her. It’s not a life worth sacrificing, but it’s a life worth sacrificing for.”

But that’s only half of the narrative, Warren notes: “What did God do to make sure that Mary’s unplanned pregnancy wasn’t a crisis pregnancy? He sent an angel to Joseph.”

“Joseph faced a similar dilemma as any abortion-minded man – He was going to put Mary and the baby away quietly, which in that culture was how you did abortions – The angel comes to him and says, ‘No, no, no. I’ve got a plan for you. It’s different than the one that you have. I want you to be a husband to her and a father to the child growing inside of her.’ “

“The Holy Family was a father and mother united in marriage; loving each other, loving their child, and loving God.”

Likewise, the Pro Abundant Life approach involves ministry to men, calling them to fatherhood in the same manner that Joseph was called to provide for and protect Mary and Jesus.

“We have to be just as aggressive in seeking out men,” Warren said.

Warren cited a survey conducted by Care Net and Lifeway Research, which revealed that the most influential person in a woman’s abortion decision was the father of the baby. It wasn’t even close.

“Yet, for 40-plus years, we built a movement that largely neglects the narrative that’s in the first chapter of the first book of the New Testament,” he said. “God has given us a framework of what to do when someone is facing an unplanned pregnancy.”

On the podcast with Dr. Kim, Warren said another pillar in the Pro Abundant Life movement was discipleship, a combination of living out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.

“The life issue needs to be viewed this way,” he said.

Discipleship and mentorship need to happen within the walls of the local church. And more churches need to provide ministry on-ramps to help people facing pregnancy decisions, offering compassion, hope, and help to couples facing unplanned pregnancies, Warren said.

Care Net offers a Making Life Disciples course that is designed for small-group use in churches.

“It comes down to being the hands and feet of Jesus,” Warren said. “We are not going to solve the abortion issue if we don’t build strong families.”