How should Christians respond to the abortion debate without engaging in the divisive political rhetoric that has come to define the issue?
Pastor Ken Peters of Covenant Church in Spokane, Washington, believes he found the right answer.
What did Pastor Ken do?
Sparing his Facebook friends his opinions on the abortion debate, Peters chose to take action instead, doing what evangelists do best: He planted a church — directly outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in the Spokane community.
That's right. Peters didn't assemble a group of pro-life activists carrying signs warning about the dangers of abortion, or how it is immoral to terminate a pregnancy for reasons that are very much in control of the mother. Instead, he simply gathered together a group of Christians to worship God.
It's called, "The Church at Planned Parenthood."
The church's website states:
The Church at Planned Parenthood is NOT a protest. It's a worship service at the gates of Hell. The Church at Planned Parenthood is a gathering of Christians for the worship of God and the corporate prayer for repentance for this nation, repentance for the apathetic church and repentance of our blood guiltiness in this abortion holocaust.
In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, Peters emphasized the Christian ethic toward serving the vulnerable, but doing so without causing friction and being a source of division.
"We gotta put legs to our faith," he said. "We've gotta find that balance between being mean and nasty and yelling, we've got to find the balance between that and doing nothing."
"We have a holocaust going on in our own country and this really brings it to light and we're confronting it with the Holy Spirit and with worship instead of in the flesh," he explained. "This really gets the light of Jesus right out in front of the community, right at one of the busiest intersections in town."
Are people showing up?
So far, the services have been wildly successful with hundreds turning out for the physical worship gatherings outside the Planned Parenthood clinic. Tens of thousands of others are tuning in online. In fact, one recent gathering garnered over 65,000 online viewers.
Because U.S. law protects a woman's right to access abortion, there are certain rules for the church. However, Peters told CBN his worship gatherings are only meant to stir hearts toward Jesus — not trouble.
"We're aware of all the rules and doing our best to stay within those, so the police are definitely there," he said. "They're watching. But we tell them we're not there to cause trouble. We're there to worship God. We're there to pray. We're there to preach the gospel."
The church gathers once a month.