The ProLife Team Podcast | Episode 56 with Brian Ottinger | Talking About Connecting Churches to Life Saving Work

The ProLife Team Podcast
The ProLife Team Podcast | Episode 56 with Brian Ottinger | Talking About Connecting Churches to Life Saving Work
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Listen to Brian Ottinger and Jacob Barr talk about LoveLife’s desire for activating the church into service and helping save lives.

Summary

This is Jacob Barr, and in today’s episode of the Pro-Life Team Podcast, I had an insightful conversation with Brian Ottinger from Love Life. Brian, as the National Director for Expansion, shared the organization’s mission to end the orphan and abortion crisis through church mobilization. He detailed their 40-week journey of hope, encouraging pastors to preach about life, and the congregation to engage in prayer and activism.

Brian’s personal story is deeply moving. He spoke about his own transformation from a self-proclaimed zealous sinner to a dedicated follower of Christ, driven by a profound personal realization and repentance. His journey led him to actively participate in pro-life work, especially after understanding the profound impact of his past actions.

We also delved into the specifics of Love Life’s approach. Their strategy includes post-abortion care, sidewalk counseling, encouraging adoption, and discipleship. Brian emphasized the importance of community and church involvement in providing holistic support to those affected by abortion.

This conversation highlighted the power of faith, repentance, and action in addressing sensitive issues like abortion. It’s a testament to the transformative power of love, community, and relentless commitment to a cause.

#ProLifeTeamPodcast #JacobBarr #BrianOttinger #LoveLife #ChurchMobilization #JourneyOfHope #Transformation #CommunitySupport #FaithInAction #SidewalkCounseling #PostAbortionCare #AdoptionAdvocacy #Discipleship #EndAbortionCrisis #ProLifeMovement #Activism #SpiritualJourney #Repentance #CommunityOutreach #PodcastSummary

Transcript

The transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors.

Jacob Barr :

Welcome to the pro-life Team Podcast i’m Jacob Barr i’m here with Brian with Love Life and we’re going to talk about his group’s mission to activate the church in order to get involved on the sidewalks and post abortion care and helping women find hope and restoration from the harms of abortion. So Brian, I’m excited to have you on the podcast. Would you introduce yourself as if you were talking to a small group of pregnancy clinic leadership teams and executive directors?

Brian Ottinger :

Yeah, thanks for having me my name is Brian Ottinger i am the national director for expansion with a ministry that’s headquartered here in Charlotte, north carolina called Life. And Love Life’s mission is to unite and mobilize the church to help bring an end to the orphan and the abortion crisis. And the way that we do that is we mobilize churches, we activate them by adopting a week we have a 40 week journey of hope. And basically what we’re asking pastors to do is to adopt a week and to preach on the issue of life on Sunday and to get their church to be all in for that adoption week. So on Sunday, they hear the tragic truth of abortion and the reality of what’s going on in their city and across our nation. And they get to hear the solution in Jesus Christ and the hope and the gospel. And then on Wednesday, we ask the church to corporately pray and fast for the abortion situation in their city, whether it’s for moms or abortion workers, you know, sidewalk ministries, pregnancy care centers, all the above, really. So they hear on Sunday, On Wednesday they pray, On Saturday they go. And so we invite the church to come out corporately to the abortion center and we ask them to come and see for themselves the issue of abortion so it takes it from being a theoretical social media talking point or something they vote on every four years it becomes a reality. There’s 700 abortion centers in America currently, and pretty much any city you live in, there’s an abortion center nearby. And then beyond the prayer walk, we ask them to connect. We have 4 connection pieces, no particular order post abortive care we know that one in four people in America, including those in the church have a history with abortion. And so we want to offer post abortive counseling, healing biblical studies so that the gospel can bear witness on that area of their life i myself am actually a post abortive father and so this is a, you know, particular side of the ministry that’s near and dear to me. Next we have a sidewalk counselors, people who offer the hope of Jesus and the help of the church. So we have people who’ve been on staff here at Love Life for a couple years, but they’ve got over 20 plus years experience of interceding outside the abortion centers to these moms and dads offering the hope of the gospel and so we want to train people how to do that in a way that’s truthful and loving. Then we also, you know, as you know, we get accused oftentimes of being pro-life as pro birth. We don’t care about children outside the womb or so we’re accused of and so we want to help equip the church, those who have been adopted by God the Father, to get in the business and practice of adopting children outside the womb. And then the last thing is mentor and discipleship really this is the crux of our ministry as you know, Jesus has commanded us in the Great Commission to make disciples. And so if a mom or dad chooses life, or even those that don’t choose life decide they want to be discipled or mentored, we would plug them into a local church where they can be exposed to the family of God and so we know that, you know, there’s some complexity around the issue of abortion so we want to make sure that we help train and equip pastors and churches to help really love these moms and meet them where they’re at. And so those are the four pieces of connections. And that’s really based out of the Book of Nehemiah, Chapters one through three. You notice that Nehemiah hears the problem, that the walls are crumbling down and he does something that is unlike me i’m the kind of guy, when I hear there’s a problem, I just instantly want to go in and solve it. But Nehemiah, here’s what happens and then he takes time to pause and fast and pray, and then he goes to the city walls for themselves he sees it. Then he starts to connect the people of God to help rebuild the walls and that’s really what got laid on the heart of our founder, Justin Reeder. He was brought to an abortion center and he was confronted with the reality of abortion. We live in Charlotte, which is considered the city of churches there’s supposedly a church on every corner. I would say maybe the landscapes change in the past couple years, there’s a lot of people in flexing to Charlotte and we’ve not quite the city of churches anymore but nevertheless, Justin was met with the reality of abortion in our city and God laid it on as hard as he was reading through Nehemiah that this is the strategy here pray, go connect. And so as pastors adopt this week, they’ll come and bring their people out here, their people get connected beyond the prayer walk to these other ministries and it’s really helped create a culture of love and life in Charlotte, north carolina we have over two hundred partnering churches and ministries that have adopted this week. And so on week 40, it’s really an amazing thing i don’t know if your people can check check it out, but lovelife.org You’ll see some pictures of Week 40 when all the churches come back together there’s literally thousands of people standing outside of the abortion center where the gospel will be proclaimed and there’s a worship service and there’s prayer and there’s testimonies of babies who’ve been saved, abortion workers who left the industry, pregnancy care centers partnered with churches, partnered with sidewalk ministries it’s a beautiful thing to really see the body of Christ united in that way. And I know you’re going to ask me more questions, but I’m going to try to give you a lot right now so that way it can give you more of a, you know, holistic understanding what we do so love life, didn’t intend to do anything outside of Charlotte, just was a ministry that God put on Justin’s heart i was a partnering pastor. My church was heavily evolved. I helped pastor a church plant here in the city called Convergence Church and it was a blessing to me and our congregation we were discipling moms we our people were coming out we got a lot of youth in our church. They were really getting involved, which really cool thing too as a pastor to see our youth get activated. But eventually I came on board in 2020 as a response to really COVID. You know, COVID was it was a bad thing for many people and if I could use the words that it was good for us in essence, you know, as abortion was considered essential, the church was not. And so we had people in our city that still want to come out and be the hands and feet of Jesus during COVID and we had some pastors in Charlotte that came out to the abortion center here in Charlotte the abortion center in Charlotte, It’s on a street called Latrobe Drive and it’s actually the busiest abortion center on the East Coast. We have more abortions happening here at this abortion center. It was two fifty and since the overturning of Roe versus Wade, it’s about four fifty a week at this one building and they don’t do, you know, any kind of other services other than abortion so we know that every car that goes in there, the mom is going for an abortion so anyways, you know, that’s really why the ministry started was for this one abortion center but when these pastors came out during COVID, they got arrested. And they got arrested just for being outside, praying, offering the hope of the gospel during the lockdown. And So what?

Jacob Barr :

They was. Were they on public space or were they like?

Brian Ottinger :

In the yeah perfect. Yeah public sidewalk they were social distance they even had some hand sanitizer out there and it was really and the charges have been dropped and everything like that but it was it was kind of a charade if you will. But what was what happened though is I think it was one of the senators in Texas retweeted showing the you know they where is these people’s Amendment rights and what happened to free speech and all that and what happened is we kind of went viral And so people all across the nation started reaching out to us here in Charlotte saying we’d love to bring love life to our city. And then I got hired basically to help steward and vet and train and equip and develop people across the nation to what we call love life America so we went from one city to 14 cities and honestly there’s probably about 14 more that we could launch but we really want to make sure that we’re launching our cities well, we have city directors, we have sidewalk directors we our model was based upon a business owner so justin Reeder was a franchise business owner and he understood the biblical principles of business and applied them to this ministry. And so it’s really quite organized and very effective. And it’s really unlike anything I’ve even seen in my own church in terms of developing people and the processes and making sure that there’s a good outcome and a good experience for our prayer walks and for our training process and training and developing people so that’s a long answer to a short question, but I just want to give you more of a insight on what we do so.

Jacob Barr :

When I yeah so I’ve got a couple of questions as you sort of gave me like the nutshell or the summary of love life and your group. But before I go through some of the love life sections, will you will you Share your story of like, how did God pull you into the pro-life work like what’s the back? What’s the what’s the back story for you and your journey to get to where you are now?

Brian Ottinger :

Yeah, really thank you for thanks for having me and thanks for asking that question. I’m currently 44 so in 2010 I was 32 and I didn’t grow up in a Christian home i didn’t grow up around, you know, even basic Bible stories didn’t really have knowledge of that stuff even though I grew up in the South. I was in the military for 10 years, but I didn’t really have any kind of biblical understanding of who Jesus was or the gospel. And so in 2010 at the age of 32 I kind of hit an all time low in my life. I was, I tell people all the time I was a zealous center. I was very passionate about you know entertainment and medication as far as alcohol and narcotics and traveling the world, anything that would kind of you know, give you any sort of temporal high that was what I was chasing after. And eventually like any other you know non Jesus fulfillment it doesn’t fulfill, it leads you to a pit of despair and I was at the point of basically crying out to you know friends and family and just in my misery saying I wish, you know I wish I was dead. I mean that’s where I was i wish that I wish I didn’t really wish much more of my life would go on. And by God’s grace, a friend of mine shared the life changing news that you know this world and anything I could possibly produce and of myself would not offer any true hope but that Jesus Christ came to die for my sin, that he came to live the life I couldn’t live and die of the death I deserve he was buried and rose from the grave three days later, defeating death, sin and shame and by trusting in him I could be forgiven and set free and he shared this news with me and I was like, hey man, it’s cool story bro. And you know, didn’t really think much of it until the Lord, you know, just supernaturally kind of rubbed my face and my sin and showed me that I was a Sinner and I needed a savior. And God was so gracious and kind to reveal himself to me and he saved me August thirtieth two thousand and, ten. And instantaneously I was went from living this life to now living this other life. And by God’s grace he took away all the obvious sins i gave up, you know, all the bad sin, the easy stuff that not easy stuff, but the easy stuff to identify. And he gave me a new heart, and he gave me a new desire to follow after him so I became very passionate about evangelism and sharing the gospel with people i got plugged into a church where I’ve been discipled, and I was discipled by a guy who told me it was OK to share the gospel with people. And so we’d go out and share the gospel and do things like that. And then I kind of got a little bit of a reputation of my city for being someone who’s, you know, evangelistic. And I got connected with another friend named Adam, and he said, hey, we should go outside the abortion center and share the gospel there and I’m thinking to myself, man, that’s crazy, like, why would I ever want to go there? And, you know, i declined his first invitation and then he invited me again a couple months later. And I took my wife with me at the time, who was pregnant with our fourth son, Lucas. I’m married to Carolina and we have 5 boys. And my poor son Lucas was in utero. And I remember going to the abortion center here in Charlotte and thinking to myself, yeah, I’ll go out there, we’re going to share the gospel i heard babies get saved and people could get saved and all that. And when I get there, he kind of puts me down near the driveway and he puts my wife up near where the microphone is. And at this point I’m the zealous evangelist she’s kind of the more timid, quieter one, you know, especially compared to me. The next thing you know, I hear her on the mic and she’s speaking Spanish to a couple and she’s, you know, a you know, she’s speaking Spanish. And this family comes out and talks to her and chooses life that day for their child. And I was just blown away like, oh man, like, I didn’t see that coming and it was beautiful, you know, that she was pointing to her stomach and this particular family she was talking to had three children, and we had three children at the time. And so there was all this stuff going on and it was just a powerful moment and I would just tell you, i understood that an abortion center was a place that you could, you know, do ministry but I didn’t. I didn’t really value it as the place. And then I had to come out maybe once or twice a year that was in 2013 And then in 2016 God had called me to help plant the church that I’m still a pastor of now, Convergence Church. And guys were coming to the love life prayer walks and when you come to a love life prayer walk, you get a really pretty blue shirt i wish I had some pictures around here. They’re in the office no worries they’re.

Jacob Barr :

On the website too. I’ve seen them on the Love Life site,

Brian Ottinger :

Yeah so you get this blue shirt and they were coming to church and talking about love, life and these prayer walks and they were like, hey, pastor, you need to come and I was like, Nah, man, like, i don’t know. It just seemed very skeptical i’ve never seen anything, you know, pro-life or anti abortion that was like cleaned up and you know, that was marketed so well. And so I was very skeptical and then eventually I came out to the week 40 prayer walk that’s when all the churches come back together so I came to week to year one and week 40, and I brought my two older sons with me and two of the other pastors of our church. And we came out and I was still very skeptical but my skepticism was met with legit credibility in terms of they called abortion what it was it was the sin. It wasn’t. They didn’t it wasn’t they didn’t try to water it down. They called it murder it was a sin. So that checked that box i was like, wow, these guys are biblical in that regard they said this is about the local church and pastors taking ownership of the city. This is the church’s responsibility as a pastor who’s planning a church that checked the next box. I saw sidewalk guys who I knew who are faithful on stage being honored that was like, wow, I couldn’t believe that was really cool. And then the next box that got checked for me was that it was about the gospel. It was about it wasn’t just about saving babies, praise God, babies get saved but it was about building the Kingdom of God and that was like, wow, that was really cool. And then the next box that got checked, I didn’t even know it was a box that needed to be checked. But my oldest son was with me that day and he and he looked at me as he’s we’re hearing all this stuff go on he kind of looks at me and said, hey Dad, have you ever had an abortion in your past? And you know, I’ve told the story a thousand times the first hundred and fifty i couldn’t tell without tears in my eyes but I looked at him and I just broke down and started weeping. And at the time he was 13 he’s actually 18 now he’s in, actually the my two oldest sons are in boot camp as we speak, in the Navy but so I just start weeping he grabs me he’s weeping. And i’m trying to like process in my mind what’s going on. And what I realized was, you know, theologically I understood that Jesus had removed my sin as far as the East is from the West, I understood that I was justified, justified, declared righteous by faith through grace alone and Christ alone and all the wonderful, you know, theological points of the Bible but I had a part of my heart that was still broken and needed to be restored. And so it wasn’t until I come to the prayer walk and I learned about the forgiveness of Christ through abortion or in abortion through this message being proclaimed from the stage where I started to receive healing and ended up getting plugged into one of those, you know, biblical studies I was telling you about. And that’s really what led me on the path to want to get more involved with Love Life. I’ll tell you, Love Life has just done a tremendous job of teaching me to honor pastors. I was the pastor who was being honored so the next year they did a kickoff where they were inviting all the pastors in the city to come. They did it at a place called Chima i don’t know if you know what Chima is. It’s a Brazilian steakhouse where it’s one of those got a green card, a red card and.

Jacob Barr :

Oh yeah, they may bring.

Brian Ottinger :

Yeah, and I’m literally, so I’m at this thing. I’m like, these guys are getting ready to talk about abortion center ministry and we’re at a steakhouse like this is just weird but what it was what I realized was, yes, abortion was the issue that we were coming to confront, but it wasn’t the main issue in terms of the main issue being we are the salt of the earth, we are the light of the earth and anywhere that darkness is because there’s an absence of light. And so David and Jason Benn of Justin Reeder, our founder, and Andre Gonzalez, the city director at the time, we’re just presenting this message of, hey, we’re calling the church to be the church. We’re calling the people who have the hope of the gospel and the help of the church to come alongside people who are lost, hurting and going to murder their child and tell them, hey, not only don’t do that, but we’re going to walk with you. So all of a sudden, this paradigm shift in my mind started happening it was very attractive and our church, it was all in we adopted, you know, our adoption week we did a Youth for life week we came back for week 40. Like I said, a mom chose life. She started being disciple in our missional community that our church started being activated my children so at this point we have 5 kids, we take them to the abortion center and my kids would be the ones telling me that we need to pray for the babies. And so it just began to impact my heart, my home, my community, my church and I just saw the body of Christ, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Calvinists, the Armenians, the black church, the white church, the Korean church, all these people at the abortion center saying, hey, we are going to unite around this issue we may disagree on gifts of the Spirit or eschatology. Or order salute us but we do believe that you know, abortion is a gospel issue we’re going to come together and link arms for this. It was a beautiful thing and so in 2020 when we start expanding it was it was very easy decision for me to want to come on board and help with the expansion. And now I help oversee New York City, Detroit, michigan and central pennsylvania as well as anywhere there’s a new work i help to kind of vet, process, train, develop any new missionaries to eventually hopefully become on as city directors that will help us thoroughly expand in their cities.

Jacob Barr :

Wow, awesome. So while you were talking about sharing, you know your story with your son. The verse James five sixteen comes to mind where it says confess your sins one to another so that you may be healed and the prayers of a righteous person availeth much and so like just that you know, giving voice to sin is a way of providing, you know, finding that healing from it, from that damage that it provides. And along with that prayer, you know prayer with another person who you know. One of the things that I feel like churches, you know, need in this kind of space is like a confessional community where it, you know, becomes, you know, it’s we have a safe place to confess to one another in a way that can provide healing and it can provide, you know, not just for you know, the, you know the damage done by the sin of abortion but by you know, any sin really and in the sin of abortion that can then be included in that confessional community. And the other verse that comes to mind, it’s been coming up a lot lately this year for me is Hebrews ten twenty four where it says let us consider one another that we may spur or spur people towards love and good works or stir them up, stir up love and push them, you know, and bring them towards good works. And I sort of feel like that’s what the sidewalk counseling is doing the you know the post abortion counseling seems to be in that light the mentoring and discipleship is definitely, you know you know that Hebrews ten twenty four seems to be a guiding you know direction or you know with the Bible promoting these ideas that you’re working on. And so when it goes, when it comes to the, when it comes to the let’s see these different services within love life or these different areas or ministries. So the post abortion does your group have like its own curriculum or are you partnering with one of the post abortion weekend retreat groups or another post abortion curriculum? What’s your approach on the post abortion side?

Brian Ottinger :

Yeah, great question so we have a lady on. She’s one of our best volunteers she probably does thirty forty hours a week. She’s also has abortion her pastor name’s Stephanie Reinhart and I believe she’s been with us since 2016 maybe 17, but she is leading the way and so as you can imagine, as we go into different churches, we have over, I think over 6 or 700 partnering churches across America. As you go in and start talking about abortion, we always offer, you know, a restored life as a way so if you go to love life dot O R G slash restored life you can you can fill out in an anonymous entry form well, she’ll reach out to you. We make it anonymous because sometimes people are afraid that their pastor will find out. Sometimes it’s pastors who are who are filling these forms out and they just, it’s been such a secret for such a long time, they’re not sure how to how to go on with it so we make it anonymous in that way and then we actually encourage people to, you know, let other people know. But because she’s been doing this for so long, she has a variety of resources that she will use we don’t try to reinvent the wheel. There’s a lot of really good post abortive curriculum out there it used to be that it was primarily only geared towards women and the past couple years there started to be some really good one ones for men, some for you know as you’re probably aware of different people who have participated in abortion some sometimes there’s a sister who will drive, you know, her sister to the abortion center now she’s dealing with basically being an accomplice to that. And so there’s all kinds of very specific post abortive studies and weekends like you’ve mentioned that we will plug people into our main thing is it’s we want to make sure it’s biblical that we’re not. You know, we’re not it’s not me centered or we centered but it’s he centered that it’s focused on God. It’s focused on Jesus Christ being the hero of the story and really he’s the only one that can offer you know the forgiveness and the restoration that people truly need so but that yeah, there’s so many that I could start naming but Stephanie, if anyone who’s watching this you know wants to get plugged in any of those or learn about those, you can go to restored life or love life dot O R G slash restored life or you can just reach out to stephanie@lovelife.org.

Jacob Barr :

Ok, awesome. And then when it comes to the sidewalk counseling, is that is that a similar approach for you have someone on your team sort of like building the plan or are you partnering with like one of the existing sidewalk counseling organizations?

Brian Ottinger :

Yeah, great question so when we when we first started here in Charlotte with the prayer walks in 2016 there was already a ministry in existence called Cities for Life that was run by Daniel Parks and Vicki Casey Org. And they have been doing this since the early two thousands i think Daniel dates back to 2005 And so you can imagine that’s like between the two of them, like 35 years of experience or whatever it is. And so they made a lot of mistakes along the way. If you’ve Have you ever been outside the abortion center?

Jacob Barr :

I have, yeah i’ve done some time out there and also and I and I, there’s definitely different approaches like there’s the love approach, there’s the hate approach and there’s a wide variety. And then there’s, you know, prayer groups that support someone doing the, you know, the discussions and there’s a lot of thought they can go into and different ways of going about it.

Brian Ottinger :

Yeah so what I was going to say was these guys, you know, we would say that it’s truth and love, and we would say that love without truth is not love and that truth without love is not truth. Jesus Christ walked that very thin line of being 100 % truthful and 100 % loving so, you know, along the way I’ve been out there many times and it’s you know, we have a lot of opposition here in Charlotte, people getting your face ringing cowbells, you know, calling you all kinds of names and so it’s really easy to have that fist of the flesh start to rise up. And so because Daniel and Vicki have been doing this for so long, they just have a wealth of wisdom, you know, what to do and what not to do. For us, our priority first and foremost is to honor the Lord Jesus. So we are God first and then we’re going to go to the baby. We’re going to appeal to the mom that she’s pregnant her baby is a blessing from God and then we’re going to appeal to her motherhood and then we’ll try to reach the fathers and that’s kind of the order for us but like I said it’s I’m not if Michael Jordan’s on my team, I’m passing him the ball. You know he I’m going to let him take the shot. And so Daniel and Vicki are kind of like our Michael Jordan’s we defer to them. So they were with cities for life what we noticed in 2016 as we were doing the prayer walks was a lot of people were getting plugged in. And as we started to expand across the nation, we thought it would be wisdom to merge cities for life so cities for Life came up underneath love life. And now Daniel is the director of our sidewalk ministry he also helps oversee the West Coast, some of our West Coast cities out there, which is by the way that our West Coast stuff is blowing up. The church out there on the West Coast is really doing a great work. They are leading the way in a lot of ways with our new expansion efforts but so Daniel yeah helps train we have and that’s one thing i’ll tell you that’s the cool difference with love life especially i can kind of confess as a pastor a lot of church planners and pastors it’s like you know we fly by the seat of our pants we try to get as much stuff done as possible but sometimes we lack in our processes and that can be confusing at times for people or can kind of wear people out. And so at Love Life, we try to do a really good job of setting the expectation, walking with people and pastors through the process and making sure that we’re not moving too fast or we’re not moving too slow, but we’re walking alongside of them and having a guy like Daniel on our staff to walk with our sidewalk folks. We’ve seen, golly, I think forty four hundred babies saved in the past six years probably average about 20 a week. You know, in all our 14 cities and here in Charlotte alone, we just, I think there was 3 today. And the reality is it’s and you say, how does that happen a lot of people say, are you padding the stats or if someone flips you off, did you count that as like a sign that she chose like we’re not doing any of that stuff. We are. We have a team of sidewalk counselors out there every day the abortion center is open and they are calling out in love, in truth, offering the hope of the gospel, the help of the church. And so we have these moms who will hear what’s being said. They’ll come out and they’re saying, hey, I was looking for a sign when I saw your shirt or I saw you out here or I heard what you said. I knew already that I shouldn’t do this, but it was that you stood out here and said that you’re willing to help me. And that’s the difference is we’re not just telling them what not to do what we’re saying hey, you can’t have this child you can be a good mother let us help come alongside of you. We offer resources up to the moms up to two years. Of course it’s contingent upon, you know her walking with us we’re not going to hunt people down we’re not going to, you know, stalk them or do anything like that but if a mom is willing to receive help, man, we will. We will walk with them the first two years, baby showers, doctor visits, anything we go above and beyond but what happens is as you build that relationship out over that two years and she becomes part of the family. And then not to say it’s like, you know, hook, line and sink or anything like that, but you know, if you feel welcomed and you feel loved, you’re going to continue coming back. And that’s what the church should be, is a family that loves people with the love of Christ, the words of Christ you know, really fulfilling what I was talking about earlier, that Matthew 28 commandment teach them to obey all that Jesus commanded. So yeah, so that’s the organization we partner with. We have training online. If anyone’s watching this, it’s more interesting they go to love life dot O R G slash america and there’s three connection points if you’re in a city where we’re not currently located and love life dot org slash america one is, you can become a catalyst and help us bring love life to your city. The second is your church can sign up to become a House of refuge. And these are basically sanctuary churches so if a mom’s looking for abortion, hopefully she’ll get redirected to your church and we teach your church how to walk alongside of her as she makes a decision for life and then the third is sidewalk ministry. And so we have on demand training where people can come and receive training they don’t have to officially be a partner with love life, but to teach them to start going out, it starts with prayer, then going out and then calling out and calling out to the moms and we’ve seen it, you know, in places like Denver, colorado and you, know upstate new, york upper, lower california washington, all kinds of cities are popping up all around the nation cause ’cause God’s people are just saying, hey, listen, we have a voice and we have a message and it’s a message of hope it’s a message of help and we want to bring that to people who are hurting. And so it’s just been a joy to be a part of so that’s a little bit more i know I’m rambling.

Jacob Barr :

Brother, I don’t.

Brian Ottinger :

I do not answer your questions short i should have warned you ahead of time.

Jacob Barr :

No, that’s fine. So when it when it comes to sidewalk counseling so when someone does a confirmed, you know, U-turn meaning they’re, you know, they were going to the abortion clinic, but then they decided, you know, I’m going to take on this offering of hope. What is that how do you know, what’s that where does that go are you taking them to a pregnancy clinic to get an ultrasound or are they. You mentioned that you might take them to a church to walk alongside them for two years, but how do you, how does that, what’s that journey look like let’s say they decide to do AU turn and they they’re walking back away from the abortion clinic where? Where do you guide them or walk with them next?

Brian Ottinger :

So it’s a great question and I’ll just tell you every city is very different. Some of our cities we’ve been established for years, some of them we’ve just a couple months. But in Charlotte, north carolina, we have an ultrasound unit that’s outside of the abortion center. So what we found is if we can get her to that to see her baby on an ultrasound, it’s like some crazy statistic that like 90 % of them that see their baby will choose life. It’s a super effective tool. And some of our cities, you know we’re the Planned Parenthood is on two of the busiest streets and there’s no room for an ultrasound unit so in that case, we would try to get them to a care center where they could, you know, show them the baby. But the reality is as we do these prayer walks, you got to imagine, you know, in Charlotte couple thousand people from 200 different churches are coming to a prayer walk not everyone’s called to be a sidewalk counselor not everyone’s called to be in an adoption fostering. But so as these people come out, what we start to see is we’re building up this database of mentors who are standing by so we have over 200 mentors in Charlotte. So when a mom chooses life, we don’t want to outsource the work primarily to a pregnancy care center because it’s really the church’s responsibility. You know, the pregnancy care center just like love life. We are a para church, pro church ministry, but the ministry of discipleship has been given to the church. And so how do you get someone saying raising their hand, wanting to be a mentor? You get them to the abortion center where they see it, the experience of the prayer walk and then they say yes, i can decide if I can mentor. And so the hope for us, just like the Good Samaritan, you know, the parable, the Good Samaritan is that we don’t just say hey, when you see someone the ditch, hey, just get him go to the end, right or we’re just going to give some money to the end. But the guy takes him to the end and then he comes back and he keeps checking on him. There’s this ongoing relationship and so we believe that that’s best done in the church. And so for us, if the pregnancy care center is available, we’ll use them if there’s if there’s housing, we’ll use them it’s the body Christ working together but it’s ultimately primarily the responsibility of the church. And so that’s really our end goal is that these moms and listen some of them come and talk to us, they choose life and they don’t want any more help. And like I said, we’re not going to hunt them down we we’ll do our best to give them our information. They can reach back out to us. But many i think there’s currently maybe close to 80 moms or something like that in Charlotte right now that are being discipled in churches and we just even had an abortion worker. She quit last week and she’s being she said she wanted to be mentored and discipled in a church. And so it’s really amazing it’s really just, Justin says it’s all the time our founder he says you can sum up the ministry of love, life in one word repentance. It’s you know, and repentance what is repentance doing the next right thing. So when we talk about our connection pieces or prayer walks, we’re just trying to get the church to do what’s right. I’m sure you’ve heard the famous Francis Schaeffer quote that says every abortion center should have a sign on it that says open by the permission of the local church. If the church, and I’m not bagging the church, I love the church. But in essence, the church has responded primarily to the issue of abortion in three ways. Apathy, anger or absence. And we’re trying to equip the church to be active, to be repenting, to be loving these folks as much as it depends on us, to be the voice for the voiceless, to rescue those being led to the slaughter. Everybody can do something like, I’m the evangelist and not everyone in my church has to go do what I do. But when I bring people into the church, there’s many people, my wife especially, who has the gift, just hospitality and making people feel welcome. And so you know, scripture teaches over and over that when the body is working together, it really brings glory to Jesus the head. So many different ways people can get involved.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah and I’ve heard the stat as well that you know 85 % when someone has an ultrasound experience, you know 85 % will end up choosing parenting or adoption and I think that’s coupled with rapport, you know, trust and care and these other you know, valuable things that come alongside with that ultrasound experience. But when it comes to the some of the cities that you’re working with, it sounds like you work with precis clinics in some situations, but you’re trying to primarily work with churches, you know, when the church is able or willing. So are you saying that some churches actually have like an ultrasound unit or a pregnancy type of clinic within their church to provide the ultrasounds or are the ultrasounds always being provided through a traditional pregnancy?

Brian Ottinger :

Clinic yeah i would say if I had to put a number on it, it’s probably 80 % through the care centers and 20 % through either individuals or churches. I don’t know if you’ve seen these things i actually have one. I’m in my secretary’s office right now. But in our other room we have this you can plug into an iPad and you can do an ultrasound on the street i don’t know if you’ve ever seen these things it’s probably a couple grand. Yeah, it’s amazing i if I had time, I would run and grab it for you maybe I could send you a link. So it’s probably not as good. I mean actually, I know it’s not as good as the legit ones that you see in the care centers or the RV’s but yeah, those will happen. We’ve seen a church, there’s a church here at Calvary Chapel Lake Norman and a couple years ago, I mean everyone considers themselves pro-life and you know, against abortion and all of that but as I started coming to the prayer walks, the Lord laid there on the lead pastor’s heart and said, hey, right next to our church there’s an old mental ward where it’s basically an abandoned, almost looks like a dormitory. Let’s buy that and let’s convert that into housing so that moms who choose life can stay there for free and we’ll walk with them and disciple them and they can live there and give birth to their child, not to worry about, you know, homelessness or abusive situations. And so that’s one example another example is there’s some churches who are doing this very well watermark Church in Dallas has a pregnancy care center in their church. They have where moms will come straight to their church so it’s primarily done. Through care centers. And we’re not trying to compete with care centers. We’re not trying to outsource care centers. What we’re trying to do is come alongside of care centers we’re trying to come alongside and really unite and connect the body of Christ like how we work with cities for life. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel if you got a care center who is gospel centered and they’re building good rapport and they’re you know, loving these moms and I’ll send you a video actually, we just came out with the video from Riverside, california, where there was a care center that was next to Planned Parenthood. And some of our wonderful ladies in that area have been doing sidewalk counseling and they’re saying they’re seeing like three to five times as many moms choose life and come through their care center because what Love life’s trying to do is we’re trying to say, hey, care centers are awesome. It’s like the end in the parable of the Good Samaritan, but someone’s got to bring that person to that end. And we would even say that the church ultimately is the end that’s where you know they’re going to receive the most care, but someone’s got to bring them there. And so we’ve seen, you know, all of, not all of probably 98 % of our saves have come from sidewalk ministry. Ironically, we’ve seen really quick crazy story was there was a lady who came to the abortion center here, she was intercepted by one of our sidewalk counselors and she ended up, I think this particular lady ended up not choosing life for her child. But our sidewalk counselor started ministering to the Uber driver who brought her and he gave the Uber driver a pamphlet. And that was like a few months ago that Uber driver has like helped save like two or three babies lives as moms were scheduled there and he’s got these pamphlets and he’s telling them like, hey, you don’t have to do this And so God’s using like Uber drivers and just weird circumstances there was a daughter of one of our pastors she works at a hospital and a mom came in was having a complication in her pregnancy and she would actually, she took the abortion pill and there was a complication. And the nurse hears about it’s one of our partnering pastors who she’s come to a prayer walk and she starts ministering to this mom at the hospital like hey you don’t have to do this and she points them to our mentor program and the lady chooses life. The baby survives the abortion pill We have some things called abortion pill reversal. And the baby survived and the baby little baby Lamar was just born last week and baby Lamar and his mother are now being discipled in a church. So primarily it will happen at an abortion center but sometimes it happens in an Uber car or at a hospital one last story I’ll tell you is a few years ago a mom came from Greensboro to Charlotte, which is about an hour and a half, and she came to have an abortion. I think it’s back in 2019 And our sidewalk counselors were out there administering to her and pleading with her to choose life and, you know, declaring and displaying the love of Jesus. And she ended up going through with her abortion. Sad story. Well, two years later, the same mom ends up pregnant again, but this time she wants to choose life. And she remembers in her mind, if I drive to Charlotte, I know that the church is going to be outside the abortion center, and I know that they’re going to help me. And so she drives from Greensboro an hour and a half, to Charlotte to the abortion center, this time not to have an abortion, but because she’s looking for the church. And so she shows up and says, hey, I’m here and have my child and I need help. And instantly, man, they meet with her, They plug her into a church back in Greensboro and her baby is now alive and well. And so really the key what you’re hearing here hopefully is that we’re creating a culture where this issue that’s super controversial and oftentimes taboo has led to apathy, you know, anger and absence. We’re activating the church, the church empowered by the spirit of God who has the light of God, the love of God, the gospel of God, and is bringing it to these folks and we’re starting to see a small shift in our culture where men and women stop running to the abortion centers to murder a child and in some cases running to the abortion centers because they want to have their baby and they know the church is going to be there. But our ultimate goal is that they would run to the church, The pastors would talk about it would be, you know, a weird abortion’s a weird thing but that we would normalize it not that it’s normal, but that we would normalize speaking about it in such a way that whether it’s someone in the congregation finds himself an unwanted pregnancy or one of their friends and they would say, hey, you don’t have to have an abortion, you can come to our church and we’ll walk alongside of you. And really, it’s just Christianity one O 1 It’s faith and repentance.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah and I do know that a lot of pricey clinics will often connect someone with a church. You know, after they, you know, sort of, you know, meet them where they’re at and then helping them, you know, go along the next several steps of their journey. And I know that there’s one clinic that’s actually, you know, it’s part of that relationship building process they’ve actually brought in. They connected with churches to help people that want to get married after, you know, they’re making all sorts of incredible decisions, actually have a wedding and a venue and a pastor to conduct the wedding along with premarital counseling. And it just turns into like, you know, a whole new chapter, you know, going from, you know, going from an abortion decision to, you know, through choosing life and into a, yeah, into a new family with a new church family to go with it. And so that’s been, that’s been an interesting story to follow, but that’s more of a rarity i wouldn’t say that’s the I haven’t heard a lot of stories about that, but that would be it’d be great if that would become more common or more normal to have that kind of story being shared. But yeah, it seems like the ultrasound unit is such a key thing but one of when it comes to like crazy clinics, very often they will reach someone very often before they go to the abortion clinic like they’re trying to reach them while they’re searching or considering abortion but maybe before the sidewalk cancelling moments and but essentially like when a crazy clinic is located on a kind of church campus, very often a woman will do AU turn when it comes to like not wanting to you know go to a church she’s not connected with and or even she is connected to it. You know, very likely maybe not going to ask you know, I’m looking to get an abortion going to a church would be like a, you know, may not be a comfortable place to ask that question but once she decides to choose life, it very quickly becomes a desired place. Because churches, you know, churches may not be the place to seek help, to do wrong. But once you decide to do right, they’re an amazing place to seek where you know how to, you know, figure out how to do what’s right. And I think any pricing clinic sort of bridge it should have bridge that gap between you know someone who is looking for an abortion and then they can essentially have that 8590 % conversion story where someone will then decide to change their mind mostly because of the rapport and care building experience through that ultrasound it seems like and then they can but and I think a lot of parenthesis clinics need churches to connect with them i think that’s probably one of the things that I’ve seen is that a church coming alongside our parenthesis clinic and then hoping you know and having that desire to care for the single moms and for the for the orphans and for the young children and for these situations is it’s I think it could turn into like a doorway for a church to receive new people to care on in their communities but and.

Brian Ottinger :

Like I said, we’re we are very friendly. The care centers around here love us because you know, as people come out and get exposed to this issue, they’re like where can we plug in And we’re like, hey man, there there’s a this mobile ultrasound needs a driver, you know, three days a week or hey, we help with fundraising, we help, we want it up, we want to put logs on the fuel logs to fuel their fire, so to speak. So, yeah, we’re definitely we definitely have good relationships with them. I would say, you know, primarily for us, we’re trying to catch people. We’re trying to change the culture of the church first and foremost so that churches will, pastors will speak about it, congregants will know what to do, what not to do, if they find themselves or they know someone who finds themselves in unwanted pregnancy and then we’re the last line of defense, you know, for people that aren’t going to show up to a care center, they’re going to show up here and many of those people, you know, there are some who are proud over their abortion and so on and so forth. But what we found is man, there’s a lot of women who were looking for help. Who even as they came here with tears in their eyes, they didn’t want to be here maybe their family members, their boyfriend, maybe in some cases their pimp was telling them, you go do this and I’m not. I’m not going to help you i’m not going to support you unless you do this and when they hear us outside pleading with them that we will help them, we are here for them. It’s just that it just encourages them, gives them courage to choose life. And that also applies to the dads too we call the dads to be men who will protect their family and protect their child so we have to work together. I mean, we need it all. We need all the different ministries working together under the banner of Jesus doesn’t.

Jacob Barr :

Feel like the pro-life world seems to have, you know, like the body of the pro-life work seems to reflect the body of Christ when it comes to like different parts working together we have a common mission and goal of essentially of honoring, you know, the image bearers who are being attacked by the devil essentially at the very moment of life they’re being threatened with assault and death and I think this body, you know, the church body, the body of Christ, really, you know, working together, we’re able to essentially live for Jesus in a, in a creative and beautiful way, bringing hope to those who are found in the darkness and so I think there’s a lot of room to. Yeah, like you said, it’s only dark there because the light hasn’t been there yet or the light hasn’t overcome the darkness and that’s why there’s still darkness in certain spots and so that’s a beautiful thing to consider. Amen awesome well I think this was a pretty good podcast that might be the I might cue the music there and yeah I appreciate your time and it’s and it’s good that out of curiosity do you have any cities in Florida? I was wondering if you had any love life cities that you’re working in the Florida area?

Brian Ottinger :

Yeah, we currently one of our best cities actually is in Fort Lauderdale, OK. So South Florida, we call it Soflo. They started the right way. There was a guy named Mark Douglas who was actually friends with our founder, Justin, and he was also a business owner. And so he rallied his friends using his network and his net worth. And they hired people and put them in the right places. And they’re just blowing up. They’re doing a very good job of staying organized and expanding from Fort Lauderdale to Miami and I’m trying to think of the other cities over that way it’d be fun to live there.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah in my in Miami there’s a clinic we work with heartbeat at Miami’s or they and they’re the Prancy clinics are called like Prancy Health Medical clinics and they have four locations and Martha Vias their director and whenever I talk to her I always think like.

Brian Ottinger :

She.

Jacob Barr :

Reflects the heart of God when it comes to like her passion for women and reaching out and she runs her, you know four locations off of a well a relatively small budget because of the amount of work that they’re doing but yeah per capita I believe there’s more abortions in that Miami area than anywhere else in the country and Martha is just, yeah, it’s an amazing work of being in a hostile territory and just in the amount of people that they have saved is just phenomenal like I think over the lifespan of their clinic being the existence there i think the number was like 40.000 thousand saved. It’s like it’s just that the quantity that the number of people in that area that are seeking abortions is unlike other areas of the country. And I would say, oh, sorry. Oh, well, one of the things I wanted to point out was, yeah, it’d be really beautiful if there was like a way for the church to for more churches to support at least Martha’s clinic because I know that heartbeat in Miami is they’re constantly sort of running on fumes, but they’re doing so much work like they need more volunteer.

Brian Ottinger :

Connect us.

Jacob Barr :

More and more if they need more fuel.

Brian Ottinger :

I would be super surprised if our guys already didn’t have a relationship down there because one of our guys, they might. Tom tom, walker he’s been he’s been, doing this stuff for like twenty thirty years he knows everybody. Everybody knows Tom and I would be very surprised. Actually, I think I’ve heard her name before when I was down there i’m pretty sure I’ve heard Tom mention it, but.

Jacob Barr :

I’ll send you an email because I know that she’s when it comes to. Honestly though in every market, wouldn’t it be awesome if the churches would find, you know make resources available in their church and that’s awesome. But then also connect with existing ministries that have the same mission in order to you know, as an opportunity to volunteer as an opportunity to obey God if they if they’re called to give and whether it be with money, time, you know other creative ideas because there’s no, you know, there’s no shortage of creativity when it comes to Christian work. And we can, we can get involved in a variety of ways you know sometimes it’s just a matter of being a voice for the for the group that’s doing really good work in a variety of ways so but all that to say is I think it’d be really cool because I know that a lot of clinics, well some clinics are doing well but then some clinics are essentially like I don’t know how they do it but they’re you know they’re doing God’s work on without having like the support that’s you know that some have and so and I know Martha’s group, it’s one of those that are doing just like unbelievable work without having like the unbelievable financial backing so it all makes it’s just it’s amazing that how much they get done with such, you know, essentially on a smaller budget. It’d be really cool to see that grow because she’s got a lot.

Brian Ottinger :

Of in our story too, man honestly but the Lord’s just continuing to bless us and people coming out of nowhere and you know excited about what we’re doing. But we. I would love to connect with her, you know and I’d love to hear more about, you know, you and I don’t know a lot about your podcast and anything you know. Any ways that I could help be A to be a blessing and connect you with people we know and whatnot?

Jacob Barr :

Well, and i would just love to see the church being more connected i love the fact that you’re trying to take church bodies and connect them with the reality of this work you know, essentially allowing them to serve Jesus by essentially taking false beliefs and replacing them with truth like that’s. I feel like that’s like the summary is that we’re trying to take these false beliefs that like, I have no other, I have no other choice than to get an abortion because I have to go to school or I have no other choice because my mom and parents or boyfriends said get the abortion and I’m being coerced. I have no other choice because I’m not ready yet and really, you know, that’s a really easy false belief we can all hear that tape playing like, I’m not ready yet but in reality, you know, God will provide and life is precious and it reflects the image of God and so you know, and also the reality is that someone’s already a parent when they’re thinking, you know, should I be a parent but the reality is that parenthood started a conception. It didn’t. It doesn’t start on the birthday like, the birthday is just a celebration of life. But life began my, you know, nine months earlier or several months earlier yeah. Amen we’re just we’re just having a party. You have a birthday that’s a party day that’s not That’s not when life begins.

Brian Ottinger :

That’s right, we’re just everything happens that’s what I told my kids was I celebrate my birthday’s in January. But I say, actually I was actually conceived or conceived in probably April, so I’m going to celebrate April and January.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, it’s just that talking about your parents conceiving you is a.

Brian Ottinger :

Little more awkward than talking about a birthday,

Jacob Barr :

But the truth is you know if we don’t know exactly what night it was or what day and so birthdays are very are definite.

Brian Ottinger :

Just roundabout just.

Jacob Barr :

Roundabout oh, but ballparking’s safe yeah you can definitely say it was eight ish months earlier. That’s a that’s a safe approximation. But yeah, hey, it’s been a pleasure talking with you i think I might include this last bit and I’ll add the music there.

Brian Ottinger :

Sure.

Jacob Barr :

But cool well, hey, I appreciate you and the work you’re doing and just that you’re yeah, bringing. Yeah, bringing churches into this space, which is, Which is really good i mean, there’s so much room to serve God in this space and I feel like loving on the innocent and especially loving on single moms and loving on orphans is the calling that we have as church bodies. Mister love on these groups who are being targeted by big corporate marketing and just some, yeah, major false beliefs there’s no shortage of false beliefs targeting these groups it’s insane.

Brian Ottinger :

That’s right. Yeah well, we have the truth. And so we can’t expect people who are in darkness to, you know, look for light, you know, But we bring the light that’s true. We expose those false beliefs we expose the deeds of darkness and the church is waking up, man we we’re seeing it happen. We, you know, we’ve partnered and you probably have experience with talking to people who’ve been in this fight for a long time and the stuff we’re seeing happen at the pace that’s happening, it’s stuff they never thought would happen. I mean the it’s we’re in a historic time. The church is being activated like we are in some. It’s perilous days obviously there’s some wicked agendas that are, you know, being perpetuated all throughout our country, really the world. But the Church of Jesus Christ is alive and well, and we are active and it’s encouraging to be a part of so for me, it’s just like, hey, do I want to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else run the race no, man like, it’s. I want to help i want to help others i want we’re trying to get them from the pews to the sidewalks to just, you know, let the Bible become full color. Like they get to experience life in Christ they get to experience discipleship they get to see babies be saved and churches be activated and it’s like why would you want to do anything else? You know, Netflix, I’m not going to 8 hours of Netflix is not going to produce any kind of real fruit in your life, you know, But standing out and praying and interceding and we see it all the time, man babies are babies are getting saved mamas and daddies are getting saved and you know, count me in.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, and saving someone, you know, having breath is wonderful, but then you know, knowing Jesus, you know it completes it. Like there’s, you know, having breath is not enough. It’s a matter of having the breath of life or having Jesus in your life And because you know, but you yeah, it’s just it’s a two-part recipe.

Brian Ottinger :

You got to have both.

Jacob Barr :

For it to be complete.