By adopting the most healthful lifestyle with adequate exercise, rest, and a healthy diet, by abstaining from things that harm our mind and body, by nurturing healthy interpersonal relationships, by maintaining a positive outlook and hopeful attitude, and by seeking to know God deeply and trusting in His leading of our lives, we can begin to experience an abundant life today while also making a positive impact in the lives of those around us.
Health ministries are an integral part of the mission of the Adventist Church. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31). Health ministry is the gospel of Christ illustrated, the message of God practiced. Without it, the gospel witness is muted; it is merely a theory, an idea.
The most important objective of health ministry is to help men and women reach their full potential, mentally, spiritually and physically. To reach full potential, health principles must be practiced.
The more closely these principles are followed, the better health the person enjoys. The more active a church is in public health education, the more effective will be its public evangelism, for health is the most universal entering wedge.
Duties of the Health Ministries Leader
The ministry to which a person is called when he or she becomes the health minis- tries leader in a local church can be described in the following ways:
1. Health promotion. Keeping church members aware of the importance of health and educating new members on the significance of health and temperance is one of the major responsibilities of the health ministries leader. This responsibility should be carried out at every opportunity; however, in the second week of October, a special program and emphasis should be planned. The Health Emphasis Week is a unique opportunity to increase the level of awareness and practice of health principles in your local church. Ministry is most effective when there is adequate personnel and financial resource. Request a budget from your church board early in their fiscal year. Get the support of your pastor and church leaders for any project you undertake. The last Sabbath in February of each year is set aside to create an awareness of our health and temperance journals: The Winner for children, Listen for teens, and Vibrant Life for adults.
2. Continuing health education. There is a question asked in the New Testament, “How can they learn without a teacher?” This is especially true regarding the health education of new church members. The health minis- tries leader is responsible for the health education of the new members in the Adventist lifestyle. Here are a few suggestions:
a. Provide each new member with the pamphlet Good Health in One Package. This little pamphlet, available from The Health Connection catalogue, explains the eight basic principles of health and temperance. Call (1-800-548-8700).
b. Invite the new church members systematically, for the first few months at least, to your home or to the church’s fellowship dinners, to acquaint them with vegetarian food.
c. Loan or give them one of the Ellen G. White health classics, especially Ministry of Healing.
d. Ask them to assist your local church in outreach programs.
e. Invite them to training seminars on health ministry; invite them to camp meeting or other special meetings on health.
3. Committees. You are the chairperson of your local church health minis- tries committee, and a member of the church board and the church minis- tries council. Your committee is the place to plan particular activities and events. On the board you will represent the interest of health ministry in the policy and financial decisions of the local church. If your church has a church ministries council, you will coordinate your activities with those of the other leaders in these meetings to plan a comprehensive, balanced church program.
4. Program development. It is your responsibility to take the initiative in coordinating the planning and organization of health screening and health seminars for the public. Everywhere Adventists are known as providers of stop smoking plans, cooking schools, and seminars on nutrition, heart dis- ease, stress management, cancer prevention, physical fitness, weight control and the Bible basis for healthful living, as well as screening projects for high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and other health problems. Constant attention is given to these programs in the press across the United States and Canada. Major corporations and civic leaders often request the help of Adventists in these areas. Unless you bring together your commit- tee and develop programs, these will not be available in your community. You cannot do it alone, but you can recruit and coordinate a team that can make it happen, using the proven guidebooks and kits available.