Every other Tuesday we publish a new episode of the Equipped for Life Podcast, available to everyone who purchases our course, “Equipped for Life: A Fresh Approach to Conversations about Abortion.” Generally these podcast episodes won’t be available to the general public, but we plan on occasionally making exceptions, and we’ve decided to make our 11th episode the first one we make available to everybody.
This is the first part in a two-part series on practical sidewalk counseling tips, from the person who has impressed me most with the way he thinks about decision making in front of abortion facilities, our Operations Coordinator Jacob Nels.
It has been a transformative year at Equal Rights Institute.
In our second full year as an organization we gave 27 speeches in Illinois, California, Missouri, Massachusetts, Michigan, Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, and Washington, DC! Thanks to some great logistical planning from Jacob Nels, we also did five full-day seminars in California, Michigan, and Virginia. All in all we trained approximately 1,377 people!
It’s easy to think of these people as statistics. We have gotten fantastic responses from the students we have spoken to. Here’s just one testimonial from Anthony Jones, the Vice President of Robinson Rams for Life, a high school Students for Life club that I spoke to recently while in the DC area:
Mr. Brahm brought clarity, enthusiasm, and a fresh perspective to our club in regards to the pro-life position. Although some of us had previous experience in defending life, the presentation enhanced everyone’s knowledge and gave us greater confidence to dialogue persuasively. Students came into the event with varying beliefs about abortion, but they all left with the common knowledge of a logical and charitable approach that championed equal rights. Once Mr. Brahm had concluded, one student exclaimed: ‘That was the best pro-life argument I’ve ever heard,’ already confirming that the presentation had made a tangible difference in equipping our club to accomplish its mission more effectively than ever before.
The Equipped for Life course has only been out for about four months, but we’re already getting a sense for how it’s helping the people who’ve taken it.
My favorite bit of feedback we’ve received is from Rachel Crawford, the president of the University of Michigan Students for Life group. (Full disclosure, Rachel is also coming on staff next year, so she’s not unbiased, but her students are.)
One of the main concerns Tim and I had while creating this course was that people would take it, but wouldn’t then do the next step of talking to pro-choice people in their lives or during campus outreaches. What has happened with Rachel’s club gives me some hope that that’s not going to be a common problem.
This is how Rachel recently described the impact of the course on her club during an interview for the Equipped for Life podcast:
This was my students’ first exposure to Equal Rights Institute. They’re unanimously coming back to me and enthusiastically requesting we have more outreaches.
We went out and did outreach all day on a Saturday recently. Even the shy and quiet students, after watching some of the course or completing the entire course, were coming up to me saying, “I’m really quiet and I didn’t know if I was gonna be able to have a conversation today. But I totally stepped out of my comfort zone, and I totally gave it a try, and oh my gosh, I’m so happy I did! Can we do this next week?”
All of these students were super-excited. And we had the fortunate ability to have this outreach in the fall semester. We’ve had about 30 new students joining our club this year. The new students are telling me that “the dialogue tactics are helping me understand the proper mood and tone of the conversation. They’re making me feel more confident about opening a dialogue because I’ve learned about body language or learned about asking more clarification questions.”
Then the more experienced students are like, “I’ve been reading apologetics books all through high school and I’m super-excited.” Those students are really refreshed by the materials and the actual content of the more advanced parts of the course.
Just two months after starting Equal Rights Institute, Josh and Timothy Brahm gave their first seminar together on pro-life dialogue. In order for that to be possible, they had to very quickly take their growing body of original content and combine it with the most helpful tools they had learned from other pro-life leaders. From August 2014 to August 2016 only about four hundred individuals have had the opportunity to experience ERI’s full seminar in pro-life dialogue.
The Equipped for Life Course makes it possible for any individual or group to experience ERI’s pro-life dialogue training.
Learn what the ERI staff have learned about how to make the most of an opportunity to help someone change their mind about abortion.
Moving ERI’s training online has wonderful benefits other than making it possible to train thousands of pro-life advocates a year. Students will have the opportunity to revisit the training when their memories are failing them. They can watch or listen to the lessons over and over instead of having to attend a seven-hour seminar and only hear the content one time.
They can also continue to learn with and interact with the ERI staff directly through the exclusive podcast and forum.
Here’s what two people who attended ERI’s live seminar had to say:
“I love apologetics, and I have never heard such great methods and arguments as I did today. I especially appreciate your emphasis on being compassionate. I realized that I need to be more compassionate, listen, and treat people as human when I talk to them.” ~Meleah
“I think that this is the best, most productive, and most effective pro-life training I have been able to find. This seminar has changed me in that I have a marked increase in my confidence in these arguments. I really think I will be able to dialogue more effectively and more lovingly.” ~Sean
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