Posted on : Wednesday January 21, 2015

Henry Hays ministers to men at a crisis pregnancy center. He met his wife, Melody through his ministry.

By Sharon Mager, BaptistLIFE Correspondent

SEVERNA PARK, Md.—Henry Hays always felt a strong commitment to help protect the unborn, to support the sanctity of life, but thought the idea of volunteering at a Christian pregnancy center was just for women. He discovered he was wrong. After viewing a video about pregnancy centers during a small group at The Church at Severn Run, he discovered that there is a real need for male counselors to minister to the husbands and boyfriends of women in crisis situations. Hays found himself intrigued but a little intimidated.

“At first I thought I couldn’t do it. Talking with guys, dealing with a difficult subject…these kinds of things seemed too overwhelming and I didn’t feel qualified,” he said.

But Hays persevered in spite of his misgivings. He took a training class and began volunteering. That was twelve years ago.

Hays now volunteers several times a month at The Pregnancy Clinic in Severna Park. He answers phones, and greets people but his primary focus is getting to know the men who sit tensely in waiting rooms while their wives and girlfriends seek counsel.

“Some guys are really nervous.They’re worried.They say a pregnancy now is not good timing, or they don’t have enough money. Some are worried about family reaction. Others are looking forward to a baby. It’s a mix, but most guys don’t mind talking.” Hays said. He gets to know them, asks about their situations, how they feel about it, he inquires about their lives including their spiritual background. That gives him a place to understand the men and be able to support, encourage and gently share as the Lord leads.

Hays emphasized that the center’s focus is on ministry, not manipulation. They don’t push women but allow them to make their own decisions. Volunteers offer women testing, sonograms and comprehensive information about pregnancy and about abortion that many abortion clinics do not.

The clinic also offers tangible support for women who choose to keep their babies and emotional support for those who return heartbroken after abortions, whether its thirty years later or the next day. Volunteers are there to care for women and men in crisis situations and offer them hope.

“The clinics are first and foremost a Christian ministry,” Angela Murray, outreach and volunteer manager at Bowie, Croften and Severna Park Pregnancy Clinics explained. The clinics are associated with the Christian pregnancy network Care Net.

“We have a spiritual discussion with every client that comes in. It could be a light discussion about what church they attend and their background to a full out Gospel discussion based upon their need,” Murray said. Clients are offered Bibles and referred to local churches.

Asked about if and how Hays has been blessed in his work at the center, he laughs and said he was absolutely blessed. In addition to having the opportunity to prayerfully encourage and support other men, It’s how he met his wife, Melody. While they were attending The Church at Severn Run, Melody came as a new member seeking a way to get involved with the sanctity of life ministry. She was referred to Henry, and the rest is history. Henry continues to minister at the center and Melody helps by participating in fundraisers and events.