By Kirk Walden
This week (April 18-21) is #HeartCon17, Heartbeat International’s 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago, “On a Mission from God.”
The theme comes from the 1980 movie, The Blues Brothers, with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Their mission was to raise money for the orphanage where they grew up; our mission during the conference is to gain tools and encouragement to fulfill our mission of creating a new culture of life in America and around the world.
Meeting new friends and building long-term relationships during these days, it strikes me that all of us in the pregnancy help community are still learning, because the mission is still in front of each of us.
Having been in the pregnancy help community for more than 25 years, the challenge is for me is to stay fresh, and here, it is easy to find innovation. For proof that I must be becoming an old man, I’m incredibly impressed with the young people (an “old man” word) and the talent they bring to the pro-life table.
From stunning visuals like those offered at one of our luncheons by Save the Storks, to creating a powerful online presence like my friends at StandUpGirl are doing, it’s clear the life-affirming community has a bright future. Later this week I’ll connect with a young leader who knows how to reach fathers effectively and creatively, Gary Freeman. I’ve been a dad a lot longer than Gary, but he is teaching me plenty on reaching out to fathers, many of whom are fatherless themselves.
As I walk through the exhibit hall and see the workshops being presented I’m emboldened again, realizing that we—the life-affirming community—are always looking forward with vision.
Fact is, we need these new ideas. Heck, I need ‘em.
Those who—like me—have been around a while can look at an upcoming conference and justify not attending by saying, “I know all of this stuff by now.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
All of us; young, old and in-between, must keep learning. I love it that I will hear from a stalwart like Anne Pierson of Loving and Caring, who began her life-affirming work with her late-husband Jim in the early 70s. And, I’ll also listen to Ryan Bomberger, whose Radiance Foundation takes on many social issues with a new and powerful voice.
The young learn from those with experience. Those of us with some years under our belts—like me—can pick up new trends from those who bring with them a new take on connecting a life-affirming perspective to an information superhighway where everything flies at warp speed.
And to add to a conference jam-packed with power, Heartbeat International will unveil a new initiative which will likely revolutionize the way all of us in pregnancy help fulfill our mission. What is it? At Thursday’s general session, 1,200 men and women on a mission from God will find out.
The announcement underlines the truth that we are all learning, because in this journey there are always new places to go. Even though I’ve had a preview and know what is coming, I’m still excited.
But what I don’t know is the next big initiative, the next wave which will take us closer to making abortion unthinkable and life more celebrated than we can imagine. I hope I keep learning, because I can’t wait to find out… what is next.
Editor’s note. This appeared at Pregnancy Help News and is reposted with permission.