When a couple is weighing their options regarding a crisis or unplanned pregnancy, one major factor that can tip the scales in favor of life is financial stability or having the resources to obtain it. For men, the reality of economic hardship can be a deterrent to supporting and raising a family, and for many women, without their partner’s support, abortion remains an option.
Kurt Ramspott, founder of St. Louis-based A Father’s Great Love, is familiar with this all too common scenario and is on a passionate mission to see it transformed. He founded A Father's Great Love in 2014 after a more than a decade-long work with pregnancy help centers through his Guys for Life mentoring and discipleship program.
A Father's Great Love takes the much-needed ministry one step further by placing the focus on raising up godly families by overcoming "the issues of abortion, abandonment and fatherlessness by transforming men's hearts so that men choose life."
Ramspott, who began his work with pregnancy help centers as the men's ministry director for Pregnancy Care Center in Springfield, MO, is convinced one of the main hurdles for men in crisis pregnancies is limited financial resources and job opportunities. Ramspott said these men struggle with “fear of the future," affecting their ability to make life-affirming decisions regarding their unborn child.
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Through A Father’s Great Love, Ramspott developed Hard Work U as a solution, a program that helps pregnancy centers connect male clients with Christian employers.
“When an unexpected pregnancy comes up, [fathers] start worrying about their billfold,” Ramspott said. “So what we like to do to help offset that is to have prepared and in place Christian employers who are ready to take these kids under their wings.”
Ramspott said pregnancy help centers creating job opportunities for male clients greatly increases the likelihood they will choose life for their child, and Hard Work U can help with that.
“Hard Work U helps reduce the risk of abortion-minded clients because you’re providing tangible help that is real, that is ‘now,’ which is what they want," he said. "As we raise up Christian employers, a network of them, not only do you have this mentor that is onsite to volunteer with that male client but you have a network of Christian employers who can help the male client beef up his resume or build a resume for the first time, and interview for a job. [The process] keeps moving forward and he actually gets a job."
Once the "money issue" is removed, Ramspott said fathers can then switch their focus to the mother and the child and on raising a family, which is the ultimate goal of A Father's Great Love.
Through Hard Work U, pregnancy help centers can be a big part of building families as they spearhead and tailor the program to their needs under the leadership, support and expert guidance of the A Father’s Great Love team.
Ramspott said to start with, centers will need to have available a group of dedicated male volunteers to match with male clients; a “supply list” or register of partners or donors who are Christian business owners or employers; and the internal capacity to formulate a timetable for the program and move it forward.
A Father’s Great Love will come alongside the pregnancy help center, Ramspott said, and provide free of charge the framework and “communicables,” or communications pieces and templates, to help the center effectively market the Hard Work U program, as well as provide free of charge proven training and results-oriented resources to help the center manage the program.
“Everything is going to happen in the center and we at A Father’s Great Love will train staff remotely and do online live training, and communicate weekly to develop best practices,” Ramspott said.
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Although Christian employers within a pregnancy help center’s Hard Work U network will be expected to offer job opportunities to male clients, those employers are under no obligation to hire every client. In the case where a male client is not selected for a position, Ramspott said the idea is the male client will still benefit from learning how to build a resume and interview for a job, an experience that will leave him with valuable insights to draw from as he pursues other job opportunities that are sure to follow.
Ramspott, who also works with churches and parachurch ministries such as Intervarsity, Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) and Young Life, personally knows the pressures – and hidden blessing – of an unplanned pregnancy.
“I was getting ready to go to the University of Missouri, I signed up for the marines ROTC program and two weeks before I was to leave Heidi came and told me she was pregnant,” he said. “Instead of doing that, I canceled going to the University of Missouri and became a dad. Two years later, Heidi and I got married.”
Now the parents of 10 children with a third grandchild on the way, the Ramspott’s mission through A Father’s Great Love is to raise up godly families that will in turn raise up godly families.
“What we noticed is that if we only work with women [in centers], at the end of the day we’ll produce single moms,” he said. “Several centers that went through our training where we raised up male volunteers, such as Cindy O'Leary [executive director of The Hope Center in Woodstock, GA], they all came to us and said, 'Oh my gosh, we’re now raising families.'”
Garrett and Ahna Roney, who faced an unplanned pregnancy while still in high school, have been forever impacted through Ramspott's ministry resources at Pregnancy Care Center in Springfield.
"As a young man, 17 years old, going through an unexpected pregnancy while trying to finish high school, there were a lot of unknowns, doubt, uncertainty, questions, and fears," Garrett said. "Being able to have a relationship and talk to a man trained by Kurt's ministry at the Pregnancy Care Center in Springfield, MO spurred confidence in my ability to be a successful father."
Tweet This: "There were a lot of unknowns, but @KurtRamspott and @SpringfieldPCC spurred my confidence."
The Roneys, who told their story to lawmakers in Washington, D.C. as part of Heartbeat International’s Babies Go to Congress in 2011, have since become involved in mentoring clients at the same center where they received services. Ramspott said stories such as the Roneys' are the greatest indicators of success for a pregnancy help center.
"When it's really clicking, godly families are producing godly families," he said.
For more information on A Father’s Great Love and Hard Work U, go to www.afathersgreatlove.com.