If you’ve followed Care Net for a while, Andrew Wood’s name may sound familiar to you. He has been involved with Care Net on many fronts over the years, from our courses to speaking engagements and podcasts. We are always encouraged by Andrew’s passion for ministry that serves families.

In this episode of Care Net TV, Care Net President and CEO, Roland Warren speaks with Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Hope Resource Center in Knoxville, TN. Find out more about what Andrew Wood and Hope Resource Center is doing to serve and support families facing pregnancy decisions, and how, ultimately, they are giving compassion, hope, and help to Knoxville, TN. Watch or read more of the interview and get inspired with Andrew’s vision for leadership and ministry.

Watch the Full Interview: Andrew Wood, Hope Resource Center (Knoxville, TN)

In this new episode of Care Net TV, Care Net President & CEO Roland Warren chats with Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Hope Resource Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. Roland and Andrew discuss what ministry looks like in Knoxville, Tennessee””and how Andrew communicates to his community in our post-Roe world.

Roland Warren (RW) and Andrew Wood (AW) are noted as follows for their remarks. What follows is not the full transcript, only a few questions and answers pulled out of the interview for highlighting. You can find the full interview transcript here

Roland Warren (RW): How did you get involved in pregnancy center work?

Andrew Wood (AW): Thank you, Roland. We’re making a lot of things happen in and around our country for the greater good and for the Pro Abundant Life movement for pregnancy centers. God pulled me into this work. I was a political science major. I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember, been in the church every time the doors were open. That’s how I was raised. That’s how I continue to live today. But for the bulk of my life, I saw the world through a political lens, and especially the issue of abortion and life, and so there were times I cared more about how you voted than where you would spend your eternity. And the Lord just rocked me.

When we moved to Knoxville in 2008, some things occurred in some friends of our life, and the Lord really convicted me on, you say a lot of things, but you don’t really do much of anything when it comes to the issue of abortion or life. Yeah, you vote and you put a bumper sticker on your car, but what are you doing outside of giving lip service to these things? And voting and bumper stickers are great. I literally have 20 bumper stickers on my vehicle right now so I believe in bumper stickers, don’t get me wrong, but there’s so much more to this work. And so at that time I just googled “Pregnancy center in Knoxville” and came across Hope Resource Center. At that time, I was a bi-vocational kids pastor in the area. I was working full-time at the University of Tennessee, and I just felt something was missing.

And so reached out to the pregnancy center and they said, “We’d love for you to come and just pray once a week.” At that time I was leading a young married’s class. Of course, being a millennial, we don’t call it Sunday School, but that’s what it was. It was a Sunday school class, and it was full of 20-somethings that were recently married. And I thought, “Man, I’m going to share this with them and they’re going to have to make us a new room at Hope (Center) to pray.” And that wasn’t the case. It was just me that showed up often. And so once a week I would come to Hope Resource Center and I would pray.

A few of my buddies would come with me periodically. And then we started providing gifts for the staff and doing things for baby showers and just really felt connected. Like, “Okay, our pro-life ethic is now moving us to do something.” And so then I was sitting at my desk one day at the University of Tennessee, and I got an email because I was on the pastor’s email list, and it just said, “Do you know anyone that would be interested in being Executive Director?” And I just could not shake that. At that time, it was 2015. I was 30 years old. I had a good job, a secure job, and I just went home and I told my wife, “I can’t shake this. I think I need to put my name in the hat for this. I think I have something to bring to the table.” And the board took a chance on a 30-year-old dude, and I thank God they did, and so we’ve been here ever since.

But when they offered me the job, I sat down with my wife and said, “As it is right now, if we raise our children the right way, one day they’re going to ask us, ‘What did you do while 3000 babies are being aborted every single day?‘” And I said, “Right now our answer is, ‘We vote and we have a sticker.'” And I was like, “I’m just not comfortable with that answer.”And so I said, “If I take this job, that answer will be, ‘Daddy got up every single day to love and serve and to help a staff that is serving women and men that are facing unplanned pregnancies.’” And that moves the needle, Roland. And so the last eight years, that’s what I’ve been doing, and it has just been blessing after blessing to be a part of the work of pregnancy centers, not just here locally in the state of Tennessee, but all over the country, to see what God is doing in our midst.

RW: Well, amen to that. What a great testimony and a great story. So, tell us a bit about your center, about Knoxville. What’s the demographic like, the kinds of clients that you serve? Tell us a little bit about that.

AW (05:47): Yeah. Hope Resource Center was founded in 1997. It was actually one of our founding partners who was connected to this ministry and another ministry in town. And he was actually at a Promise Keeper’s convention. In a meeting with him, he said it was like God audibly spoke to him in that Promise Keeper’s meeting and said, “You’ve got to do something about abortion in the city of Knoxville.” And so he said, “I don’t understand this.” He went and told his wife, because he’s a businessman and a business developer, a real estate developer, and his wife was like, “Well, I don’t know why God would pick you, but let’s just lean into that, and see what happens.”

And so he got some other folks together. They went and traveled around the country to look at medically-focused pregnancy centers that were doing the medical side of things, as well as the material assistance and counseling, and they wanted to bring that to Knoxville. And so they bought a piece of property that no one wanted that was right across the road from an abortion clinic in Knoxville, and we started building the building that we currently are in today, 25-26 years later. And it’s amazing. He tells the story. He said, “I sat down with the director or the person that ran the abortion clinic, and I said, ‘Look, we’re going to be good neighbors. We’re not going to protest you. We’re not going to be hateful, but you will close your doors.'” And he’s a businessman after all. And so in 2012, praise God, they did close their doors. And then after June 24th of 2022, all the abortion clinics have closed their doors in Knoxville, and so we’re grateful for that.

We are a university town. The largest land grant institution in Tennessee is the University of Tennessee of Knoxville. And so we are within walking distance to the campus. At any given time there are 20,000-ish students there, and then probably somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000 students that are living on campus. We’re within walking distance to the sorority village. We have a relationship with them. And so our demographic is similar to a lot of folks demographics. 18 to 24 is the bulk of the patients that we serve. Obviously some younger, some older. But a lot of college students, a lot of folks that… And the beautiful thing about operating here in a college town is many of those students are from all over the world.

And so the Lord is really literally bringing the nations to our doorstep and we’re able to provide assistance to folks that are facing unplanned pregnancies, that they have nobody here, and if they can speak the language, they can barely speak the language. And so we’re able to connect and be there for them. And so we are fully medical with pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STD testing and treatment, and well-woman exams. And then we are also doing parenting education both for moms and dads and material assistance. We do about 80 baby showers a year for first-time moms as well.

RW (12:03): Well, because I know just from talking to you, you have a passion for not just saving the baby, but also the family and God’s design for the family and that kind of piece, and then also the gospel. How have you integrated those pieces into your ministry model?

AW (12:25): We’re unapologetically pro-gospel. I think sometimes it’s interesting when pro-lifers have to say, “We’re unapologetically pro-baby.” I’ve never met anyone that wasn’t. But I think when it comes to the gospel aspect of what we do, the genesis of our life ethic for believers comes from the Scripture. God created life. He breathed life into existence. He didn’t breathe life into the animals, but He breathed life when he was creating man and woman. And so these things matter to us. The picture of marriage matters to us, and we want to help in getting this information to our patients. Because many of our patients… Years ago it was, “My granddad was a pastor,” or, “My parents were always involved in church.” So, there was this very surface-level Christianity.

And I think we’re even moving away from that. I think many folks are coming in now saying, “I have no faith. I have no religious background.” I saw a poll today out of the Wall Street Journal that says, from 1998 to today, we are seeing a drastic decline in the values that shaped what we know of as the United States of America. And so what we have to understand is the faith aspect of what we do matters greatly. And one thing that the Lord has really convicted me over the last couple months of is, when I would have these discussions with folks in the culture, so secular folks, they would say, “Well, you can’t use the Bible as an authority because it’s the Bible and we don’t believe in it.” And I would take the bait. I would go, “Well, fine. I’ll debate you when it comes to the medical literature or the science or the policy of it all.” And I would feel good about myself because I’m well-read in those things, and I could debate you, and I would still win the debate.

But in taking that bait, I was putting God on the shelf. In my mind, I was going, “Hey, I put on the armor of God and I take it off when it doesn’t work for my liking.” And the reality is, we can’t leave God back at the camp. If David would’ve left God back at the camp and faced Goliath, it wouldn’t have gone as we know it had gone. And so we have to be people that are gospel-centric in terms of the work that we do. We need to be praying for folks. We need to be loving on folks. And when they say, “Why are they loving me in this way?” It’s not simply because you are in need. It’s because you bear the image of God, and that requires something of God’s people. And so we want to talk about Jesus. The reason we’re called Hope is because the only hope that we have is in the God of the universe. And so it’s not in this building. It’s not in our partners. It’s not in the donors. It’s not in me. It’s not in any of our staff. The hope is going to be found in a truth that’s so much greater than all of us.

Thank you, Andrew.

Thank you, Andrew, for what you do on a day-to-day basis, for sharing what God’s put in your heart, and just the heart that you have for Knoxville and the surrounding area, and just the leadership that you’ve exhibited, not just there, but across the nation in so many different settings that God’s really gifted you. We are delighted to co-labor with you here at Care Net.

Care Net TV Spotlight:
Hope Resource Center (Knoxville, TN)

  • Who: Hope Resource Center

  • What: Founded in 1997, Hope Resource Centers serves Knoxville and surrounding areas by helping families with care from baby showers to medical testing.  

  • Where: Knoxville, Tennessee

  • Executive Director: Andrew Wood

  • For more details visit Hope Resource Center

  • Details about Andrew Wood: Andrew serves as the Executive Director of Hope Resource Center in Knoxville, TN, and as Vice President of the Tennessee Pregnancy Center Network. He hosts a weekly podcast, “œA Conversation on Life,” and often speaks and writes on the issue of life around the country. Andrew has been married to Erin for 17 years and they raise their four children in Tennessee. You can follow his work for more details.
  • You can find the full transcript for this interview here

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