Ministry Spotlight: Bob Hershey, Cleveland Pregnancy Center

Welcome to Real Life. Join my conversation with…

Bob Hershey, Executive Director
Cleveland Pregnancy Center

Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
and that you may love the Lord your God,
listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.
Deuteronomy 30:19–20 NLT

I’m a junior in high school. I’m pregnant. My parents don’t know. The man involved doesn’t care. Abortion seems to be my best option. What would you tell me? (This was my friend’s situation when we were in high school.)

First, I listen—well and with compassion. Then ask, “Are you certain you’re pregnant?” If not, we schedule an appointment to confirm the pregnancy.

If she is pregnant, we (CPC) help eliminate the crisis—not the child. Most women want to have their babies. But they can’t see beyond the crisis. They believe abortion is the only solution. “I was pro-life before I got pregnant. Now that I’m pregnant, I don’t know what to do,” many will say.

“What is abortion?” I ask.

“Well, it’s my choice,” many have responded.

“Yes, but what does it do? Abortion ends a life.

Bob, how did you get involved with the ministry of the Cleveland Pregnancy Center?

Forty years ago, my wife and I were both eighteen and high school sweethearts in our first year of college. She became pregnant. We didn’t know what to do. Fortunately, we visited a doctor who said, “You’re young and intelligent. You can do this. You can have this baby.” We talked in the car afterwards. I realized I needed to step up and marry her. We’ve been married forty years. We have three children, all married, and four grandkids.

Six years ago, I was out of work. My buddy suggested I volunteer at a pregnancy center. “How? I’m not a woman,” I said.

“Well, there’s the other part, the guy part,” he answered.

“Now you’re speaking my heart language,” I told him. My passion is encouraging men to be godly leaders in their families. So, I volunteered at Cornerstone Pregnancy Service for a year. Then, for three years, I became the Volunteer Coordinator at CPC. I returned to work in the private sector afterwards. A couple years ago, CPC was seeking an executive director and called me.

Now, I’m blessed to help others help others. “Consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” as Hebrews 10:24 says. I’m living the dream!

When a woman meets with an options counselor and her guy is waiting in our hallway, I ask him, “How are you doing?” I listen. Then, tell him, “I’ve sat in your chair. I know what you’re going through. Here’s how life looks on the other side.” I share our story and encourage him. “If I could do it forty years ago, you can do this today with the resources we offer to assist you.”

Tell us more about the ministry of the Cleveland Pregnancy Center.

The Cleveland Pregnancy Center assists women who choose to carry their baby to term by providing emotional support and practical assistance while sharing God’s love and plan for their lives. We offer pregnant women and parenting women and men a wide array of supportive services which include: Pregnancy Support, Life Development Classes, Post-Abortion & Grief Support, Frontline Fatherhood Program.[1]

Lilli Women’s Center provides a free pregnancy test and ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. The woman sees her baby’s heart beating on the screen. Then, she meets with an options educator. If considering abortion, we explain the risks and surgical procedures. We discuss adoption. We explain resources we can provide to help her carry the baby to term.

We offer Life Development Classes on Sexual Integrity (required), Budgeting, Infant Massage and Development, and Bible Study. We provide a nursery for the children while mom is in class.

A Life Coach meets with each client throughout her pregnancy. The coach answers questions, explains what to expect in each trimester, teaches good nutrition, and connects her with any resources she needs.

Our Boutique carries brand-new baby items. Women earn points to purchase them by attending classes and meeting with a life coach. It’s an incentive that also teaches budgeting. For each woman who carries her baby to term, we provide a layette (30-40 lbs.) with diapers, onesies, a small Bible, and enough supplies for the first couple months.

Carenet takes our ministry into the local church. So that a kid in Youth Group will know how to respond to a friend in a crisis pregnancy. Four in ten abortions happen within the church.

Safe Families is a ministry of families who provide temporary care for a baby until the mother is able to care for the child herself. For example, until she finishes school.

If we can eliminate the crisis aspect of the pregnancy, we’re having babies. Women want to have their children.

Share a CPC success story.

Debbie[2] arrived alone, five months pregnant. Her family was negative and unsupportive. A friend recommended CPC. Immediately, she began attending our Bible study and growing in her faith. She never missed a class or a meeting with her life coach.

We helped Debbie find a church in her area and they continue to support her. Her small group hosted a baby shower and helped her move into an apartment. Now, she’s an Uber driver. The flexible hours enable her to earn a living without taking too much time from her baby (now seven months old). Debbie’s grown so much over the past year.

What is CPC’s greatest challenge?

The ministry is going so well. But we can always do more.

Lately, we’re attracting more abortion-vulnerable women through Heroic Media ads. Our challenge is answering the phone with confidence, providing clear information, and listening well. Then, helping each woman understand her options.

The culture says, “Abortion is the way to solve this problem.” All a woman sees is the crisis. She hasn’t considered consequences or risks. We try to talk women off the ledge. We connect them with resources to alleviate “the crisis” aspect of their pregnancy.

If a woman chooses abortion, we support them if they struggle afterwards. Our HEART Ministry (Healing the Affects of Abortion Related Trauma) helps women and men find peace.

Do you have a vision for the future of CPC?

Our vision—work ourselves out of a job. No more crisis pregnancies. Part of the solution is training men and boys. Often, if we solve the guy problem, we put the fire out, and solve the pregnancy problem.

If we want to get involved, how can we help? What type of volunteers do you need? Do you accept donations?

We need compassionate, good listeners to answer the Lilli Center phone. We train volunteers. Depending on your desire and availability, the commitment can be anywhere from a few hours once a week to daily, Monday–Thursday.

We have a Donor Development position open. We also need a volunteer to assist with events.

How can we pray for your ministry?

Dear Lord,
Please help the CPC continue to be faithful.
Help them listen well with compassionate hearts.
Give them grace in relationships with people and churches.
May they be good stewards of your resources.
And may they finish well.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Displayed in CPC Hallway

[1] Quoted from the Cleveland Pregnancy Center website.
[2] Name changed to protect her identity.


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