Andrew Wood, Hope Resource Center (Knoxville, TN)

Roland Warren (RW) and Andrew Wood (AW) are known as follows for their statements. The following is not the full transcript, only a few questions and answers were extracted from the interview for highlighting. You can find the full transcript of the interview here.

Roland Warren (RW): How did you get involved in working at the pregnancy center?

Andrew Wood (AW): Thank you, Roland. We are doing a lot of things in and around our country for the greater good and for the Pro Abundant Life movement for pregnancy centers. God drew me to this work. I majored in political science. I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember, in church every time the doors are open. That’s how I was raised. That’s how I continue to live today. But for most of my life, I’ve seen the world through a political lens, and especially the issue of abortion and life, and so there are times when I’m more concerned with how you vote than where you spend your money. your eternity. And the Lord just shook me.

When we moved to Knoxville in 2008, things happened with some friends in our lives, and the Lord really convicted me, you talk a lot, but you don’t really do anything when it comes to the issue of abortion or life. Yes, you vote and you put a bumper sticker on your car, but what do you do outside of giving lip service to these things? And voting and bumper stickers are great. I literally have 20 bumper stickers on my car right now so I believe in bumper stickers, don’t get me wrong, but there is a lot more to this work. And so at that time I just googled “Pregnancy center in Knoxville” and ended up at Hope Resource Center. At the time, I was a bi-vocational kids pastor in the area. I was working full-time at the University of Tennessee, and I just felt like something was missing.

And so the pregnancy center reached out and they said, “We want you to come and pray once a week.” At that time, I was leading the class of a married boy. Of course, as a millennial, we don’t call it Sunday School, but that is what it is. It was a Sunday school class, and it was full of 20-somethings who had recently gotten married. And I thought, “Man, I’m going to share this with them and they need us to make a new room at Hope (Center) to pray.” And that is not the case. I’m the only one who shows up often. So once a week I go to the Hope Resource Center and I pray.

Some of my friends come with me from time to time. And then we started giving gifts for the staff and making things for baby showers and really felt connected. Like, “Okay, our pro-life ethic motivates us to do something.” And so then I was sitting at my desk one day at the University of Tennessee, and I got an email because I was on the pastor’s email list, and it just said, “Do you know anyone who’s interested in being the Executive Director?” And I just couldn’t stop it. At that time, it was 2015. I was 30 years old. I had a good job, a safe job, and I just came home and I said to my wife, “I can’t take this. I think I’m going to have to put my name in the hat for this. I think I’m going to bring something. to table.” And the board took a chance on a 30-year-old man, and I thank God they did, and so we’ve been here ever since.

But when they offered me the job, I sat down with my wife and said, “Right now, if we raise our children the right way, one day they’ll ask us, ‘What did you do while 3000 babies were being aborted every day?‘” And I said, “So far our answer is, ‘We voted and we have a sticker.'” And I was like, “I’m just not comfortable with that answer.”And so I said, “If I take this job, that answer is, ‘Daddy gets up every day to love and serve and help a staff that serves women and men facing unplanned pregnancies.’” And that moves the needle, Roland. And so the last eight years, that’s what I’ve been doing, and it has just been blessing after blessing to be a part of the work of pregnancy centers, not just here locally in the state .of Tennessee, but all over the country, to see what God is doing in our midst.

RW: Well, amen to that. What a great testimony and what a great story. So, tell us about your center, about Knoxville. What are the demographics, the types of clients you serve? Tell us a little about that.

AW (05:47): Yes. The Hope Resource Center was established in 1997. It is actually one of our founding partners that is connected to this ministry and another ministry in town. And he was actually at the Promise Keeper convention. In a meeting with him, he said it was as if God heard him at the Promise Keeper meeting and said, “You have to do something about abortion in the city of Knoxville.” And so he said, “I don’t understand it.” He went and said to his wife, because he’s a businessman and a business developer, a real estate developer, and his wife was like, “Well, I don’t know why God would choose you, but let’s just lean on that , and let’s see. what happens.”

So he was with other people. They went and traveled all over the country to look at medically oriented pregnancy centers that do the medical side of things, as well as material assistance and counseling, and they wanted to bring that to Knoxville. And so they bought a piece of property that nobody wanted that was right across the street from an abortion clinic in Knoxville, and we started building the building that we’re in now, 25-26 years later. And it’s amazing. He is the one telling the story. He said, “I sat down with the director or the person who runs the abortion clinic, and I said, ‘Look, we’re going to be good neighbors. We’re not going to protest you. We’re not going to be hateful, but you will close your doors.’ ” And he is a businessman after all. And so in 2012, praise God, they closed their doors. And after June 24th of 2022, all abortion clinics close their doors in Knoxville, and so we’re thankful for that.

We are a university town. The largest land grant institution in Tennessee is the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. So we are just walking distance to the campus. At any given time there are 20,000-ish students there, and then maybe somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000 students living on campus. We are just walking distance to the sorority village. We have a relationship with them. And so our demographic is like a lot of people’s demographics. The bulk of the patients we serve are 18 to 24. Obviously some are younger, some are older. But a lot of college students, a lot of people who… And the great thing about running here in a college town is that a lot of those students are from all over the world.

And so the Lord literally brings the nations to our door and we are able to give help to people who are facing an unplanned pregnancy, that they have no part in it, and if they can speak the language, they can barely speak the language. And so we can connect and be there for them. And so we are fully medical with pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STD testing and treatment, and well-woman exams. And then we also do parenting education for moms and dads and material assistance. We do about 80 baby showers a year for first time moms as well.

RW (12:03): Well, because I know from talking to you, you have a passion to not only save the baby, but also the family and God’s design for the family and that kind of piece, and then the gospel. . How have you incorporated those pieces into your ministry model?

AW (12:25): We are unapologetically pro-gospel. I think sometimes it’s interesting when pro-lifers have to say, “We’re unapologetically pro-baby.” I’ve never met anyone who didn’t. But I think when it comes to the gospel aspect of what we do, the beginning of our ethics in life for believers comes from the Scriptures. God created life. He breathed life into existence. He did not breathe life into animals, but He breathed life into them when He created man and woman. And so these things are important to us. Wedding photography is important to us, and we want to help get this information to our patients. Because many of our patients… Years ago were, “My grandfather was a pastor,” or, “My parents were always in church.” So, there was a very superficial level of Christianity.

And I think we’re getting away from that. I think a lot of people are going to come in today saying, “I have no faith. I have no religious background.” I saw a poll today from the Wall Street Journal that said, from 1998 to today, we’ve seen a sharp decline in the values ​​that shaped what we know as the United States of America. And so what we need to understand is that the faith aspect of what we do is very important. And one thing that the Lord has really convicted me about in the last few months is, when I want to talk to people in the culture, very secular people, they say, “Well, you can’t use the Bible as an authority because this is the Bible and we don’t believe it.” And I’ll take the bait. I’ll go, “Well, fine. I’ll debate you when it comes to the medical literature or the science or the policy of it all.” And I’ll feel good about myself because I’m well read on those things, and I can debate you, and I’ll still win the debate.

But in taking that bait, I put God on the shelf. In my head, I’m going, “Hey, I’m putting on the armor of God and I’m taking it off when it’s not working the way I want it to.” And the truth is, we can’t leave God back in the camp. If David leaves God back in the camp and faces Goliath, it won’t go away as we know it’s gone. And so we need to be gospel-centered people in terms of the work we do. We need to pray for people. We need to be loving towards people. And when they say, “Why do they love me this way?” It’s not just because you’re needy. It is because you bear the image of God, and that requires something of God’s people. And so we want to talk about Jesus. The reason we are called Hope is because the only hope we have is in the God of the universe. And so it’s not in this building. It is not among our partners. Donors don’t have it. None of me. None of our staff have it. Hope is found in a truth that is greater than all of us.

Thank you, Andrew.

Thank you, Andrew, for what you do on a daily basis, for sharing what God has put on your heart, and the heart you have for Knoxville and the surrounding area, and the leadership you have shown, not just there, but all over the country in so many different settings that God has really given you. We are happy to work with you here at Care Net.

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