Jeff Bradford Interviews Lauren McAfee
Jeff Bradford: We’re here with Lauren McAfee, the founder of Stand For Life, a corporate ambassador for Hobby Lobby, and you are getting a doctorate in ethics.
Lauren McAfee: That’s right. Yes. Working on a PhD, in process.
Jeff Bradford: And in the midst of all that, you’re a mom. You just tell us about your new addition. Yeah.
Lauren McAfee: We have two girls. We have our oldest daughter through the miracle of adoption internationally from China. And then we’ve been in the domestic infant adoption process and just brought a new baby into our home this month. So, we are back into the newborn phase.
Jeff Bradford: That’s amazing. I just got to see her. She is beautiful.
Lauren McAfee: Thank you.
Jeff Bradford: What an incredible blessing. We’re here at the Stand For Life Leadership Forum, and you are the founder of that. Tell us a little bit about Stand For Life, its mission, what you guys are looking to accomplish.
Lauren McAfee: At Stand For Life, we really want to see organizations within the pro-life movement come together so that we can together be more effective. Linking arms, trying to engage in the pro-life work.
There are so many incredible organizations out there. And so, Stand For Life, we really want to focus on helping the pro-life movement connect with the church and doing so in a really holistic way.
And so, we love getting to partner with other pro-life organizations, partner with churches and say, Hey, how can we work together to further the understanding of human dignity and the value of all human life and see our churches engage in that?
We want to partner with one another and then connect with our churches and provide them with resources with educational materials with ways that the church can be engaging in the life movement in a real tangible way, wrapping around moms, wrapping around women facing unplanned pregnancies and caring for life in the womb as we also care for the life carrying that child. And so, we want to just help all people see the value and the dignity of human life. So, life outside of the womb and life inside of the womb.
Jeff Bradford: I’ve got to see this a little bit firsthand and really the power of a collective impact initiative. And I’m so excited about it. I think it is going to change the movement. I think you’re going to do incredible things. And really, the power of that is not anything that anybody can do individually.
Talk about that a little bit about what you see the vision long term. What do you think is possible?
Lauren McAfee: Yeah, so I got to see my uncle lead in some of this collective impact alliance work in the Bible translation space and through something called Illuminations.
They were bringing together all of these Bible translators from different areas and some even in different countries and saying, Hey, how can we together share best practices, understand where each of us is working so that we’re not reduplicating efforts and help together for us to accomplish this bigger vision than any one of us could accomplish, which is to eradicate Bible poverty, meaning every language in the world has access to some portion of the scriptures in every person’s heart language, their original language. And so that’s a huge goal.
And these organizations realize, we each have a part in that, but individually, none of us can accomplish that big goal individually. But together, they are working toward accomplishing that. And what would have, they estimated, taken a couple hundred years to finish the remaining languages, they’re going to be able to do in the next decade.
And that’s an incredible testament to just the power of working alongside each other, having unity and being together and working toward a bigger vision. And so, we’re applying that same vision to the pro-life space like there are so many incredible organizations. How can we together really accomplish this bigger vision wanting all life to be valued and for women to see the support and the care that they have so that they make a choice for life and understand the value of that life. And so together, we’re wanting to do that in a collective impact alliance work.
Jeff Bradford: But it’s really exciting. You see the power of unity and what people can do when they focus on something. You saw Roe v. Wade being overturned because people have been praying and working together for 50 years, and that not any one organization can do by themselves but together, there’s so much that’s possible.
I’ve also seen a firsthand, relationships being built between some of the leading pro-life groups in the country and the power of that. What, how has that impacted you?
Lauren McAfee: That’s been one of the best things about being involved in this work in the pro-life movement. It’s just getting to see people relationally connect with one another and have that opportunity to build that trust, build that connection and be inspired by other areas of the movement.
So honestly, a lot of the organizations, they’re so busy doing their day-in and day-out and accomplishing their organization’s mission, understandably, that they’ve not always had the opportunity to connect with other organizations out there and have missed the opportunity to see other areas of the movement.
By bringing leaders together and getting to have those conversations, start the dialogue and say, Hey, this is what this organization is doing over here. And you may have never met these people in this lane of the movement, but this is what’s happening here. We’re able to better understand all of these areas of the movement in a way that can help bring some cohesion to what we’re doing in each of our own lanes and the relationships there that have been built is just a beautiful thing.
I love the way that, in Scripture, we see that example of we’re all different parts of the body, but we’re all meaningful. And we’re all useful to the body. Being able to function and in the movement, we each have our different callings in our different areas in the different ways we’re trying to care for life and serve women, and we all need each other.
We all want to be successful so that we can see life cared for and protected. To get to see that happening in this platform with Stand For Life, bringing leaders together has been a great joy.
Jeff Bradford: It’s an incredible impact to the pro-life movement, and I’m excited to be a part of that and see what God does.
We’ve said we’re not going to end abortion without the church, and I was really excited to see this week how many church leaders, denomination, and people coming from all over the country came together. And I see that you’re bringing the church together. What’s been most exciting to you about meeting some of the church leaders and really helping bring them together?
Lauren McAfee: My husband is a pastor, and I have a huge heart for seeing the church engage on this issue. The church should be engaged on this issue. I think sometimes we think it, isn’t it a political thing? And yes, it is often talked about in that aspect, and that’s usually how we hear it talked about if we’re watching anything in the news media.
But the church also understands that the life issue is a theological and a biblical issue. And it is the church’s mandate to care for the vulnerable and to care for human dignity and to apply that to all people that we engage with. And so, we see in Genesis 1, God created man and woman in His image. And so, every person today is created in God’s image, is an image bearer. Which means that for those of us that have read the Scripture and believe in what it teaches, we know that all people that we come in contact with have the very image of God, and that includes life in the womb.
Biologists largely agree, you can ask, a survey was done of over a thousand biologists and they said, when does life begin? The majority, nearly all of them said at conception. And so if we say, okay, all of life has dignity, value, and should be respected, life begins at conception scientifically. Biologists agree on that. Then we need to care for that life as well.
To see the church catch that understanding of theologically, our motivation for caring about others and being engaged in human dignity issues, and then also not only that we should care, but then how we care, which is to treat others with the dignity. They’re deserving and that applies to not just caring about the life and the womb, but then also how do we care for the mother carrying that child and giving her the dignity that she is deserving as an image bearer?
As the church, as we engage in this issue and live that out well, really fulfilling what our calling is of giving everyone that due respect and dignity, it’s a beautiful thing. And the church has done this for millennia. You think about the first century, second-century church, they were the ones taking babies out of trash heaps and saving lives.
You look at the movement today and nearly every pregnancy center, and there are thousands of them in the country is started or founded and run by people of faith with biblical values. Christians are three times more likely to be engaged in foster and adoption than the general population in our country.
You’ve seen the church engage and do these things for hundreds of years and for thousands of years, and we get to just keep doing the good work, keep engaging, so that we will see a cultural change that does value all of life, including life in the womb.
Jeff Bradford: That’s fantastic. Looking in the room this week of all the different leaders from all over the country and all different walks of life, people coming together, praying for a revival in the country that they will see life as the most important thing that we need to accomplish, that God can come in and change hearts and minds.
And you guys at Stand For Life are leading that charge. So, thank you for doing that. Going into 2023, Roe‘s been overturned. What are you most excited about?
Lauren McAfee: You know what? I am excited about the church’s engagement. I think the church has been inspired this year in different pockets here and there. I’m truly excited about what is to come because I think that this is a unique moment in our movement, a unique moment in history for this life issue with the overturning of Roe. And I’m excited to see how the church continues to engage in the ways that it has and only continue to grow in that. I’m hopeful and excited and expectant for what the Lord’s going to do.
Jeff Bradford: Thank you for answering the call of the Lord to do this work. I know it’s hard work and I know you’re extremely busy with everything you’re doing, but you’ve been faithful, and you make an incredible impact. God bless you. Thank you for spending a few minutes.