By Caitlin Magness
New and updated resources from LCMS Life Ministry are designed to teach youth about the life of a child in the womb. The resources, under the title “Looking at Life in the Womb,” emphasize prenatal development, the sanctity of human life, and God’s perfect design and loving care for each person. Through age-appropriate content and activities for early childhood, elementary school students and teenagers, the resources explore God’s development of a child in the womb from conception to birth. Scripture passages encourage students to consider unborn children in light of God’s Word, with each person being “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).
“We want to stress the flexibility of the resources, which can be used in LCMS classrooms and also in the home and in Sunday school,” said Deaconess Dr. Tiffany Manor, managing director of Human Care and Ministerial Support for the LCMS Office of National Mission (ONM). “There is a curriculum with lessons for schools and also activities and videos. People can pick and choose whatever works for them. We are going to continue to add to this set to offer Christ-centered resources.” (In the elementary curriculum, Scripture passages and reflections are included in their own section so that the curriculum may be also adapted for use in secular schools.)
The curriculum (which has two versions, one for teenagers and one for elementary-aged children) is divided into modules according to topic. Each module includes:
- A basic lesson;
- A PowerPoint presentation;
- A teacher’s guide;
- Vocabulary terms;
- Discussion questions;
- Further exploration and readings on the module’s topic (for teens); and
- Scriptural application.
The resource for early childhood (3–5 years old) consists of activity mats, drawing pages and a poster. The early childhood resource does not cover the issue of abortion like the main curriculum but does present information on development in the womb as well as reflections on Scripture for young children, affirming their inherent worth as beloved children of God.
Stephanie Neugebauer, a registered diagnostic medical sonographer and manager of Health Ministry for the ONM, has been involved with creating the set of resources since its inception. She cites her firsthand experience working in pregnancy resource centers with abortion-vulnerable and abortion-minded women as part of the inspiration for the project.
“It’s hard to put into words the change that happened on the exam table as I performed an ultrasound — most women, who before had considered abortion a mere medical solution to a biological problem, saw the very humanness of their unborn children, and suddenly abortion became an unthinkable solution to a very human circumstance,” she said.
“I’m seeing these [women and girls] come in, as young as 14 and as old as 45, many not understanding how their bodies work, how human gestation and development work. The thought occurred to me: How can we teach people (both young men and young women) about life in the womb so that they get a chance to see what I get to witness every day? … What if we equipped them earlier with this information and experience, so that hopefully their eyes are opened to the human living in the womb?”
The new resources were created with funding provided by a grant from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League and reflect the Synod’s ongoing commitment to uphold the sanctity of life. In July 2023, the Synod in convention adopted Resolution 3-01, “To Encourage and Support More Fervent Teaching, Proclamation, and Efforts to Promote Culture of Life among God’s People.” The “Looking at Life in the Womb” resources continue the work of LCMS Life Ministry to support congregations, districts and Recognized Service Organizations who are seeking to build a culture of life in the LCMS and beyond.
“Looking for Life in the Womb” can be downloaded for free after creating an account on the LCMS Life Ministry website.
Caitlin Magness (email@example.com) is a writer and editor living in High Ridge, Mo.
Posted Oct. 27, 2023