“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”—Matt 9:35
Jesus calls every member of His Church to embrace His mission of loving service for others. As His people meet the physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs of their communities in His name, His character is powerfully revealed. Our commitment to and love for Jesus compels us to follow in His footsteps of compassionate ministry. Ellen G White succinctly summarized the Savior’s selfless service in these words.
“There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit.”—MH 143
The purpose of the comprehensive health ministry study group is to develop strategies to foster a renewed interest in what the Seventh-day Adventist Church historically has called, “medical missionary work” and to develop creative models, methods and materials on “Christ’s methods” evangelism. The study group includes church employees and lay people, administrators and field workers, health professionals and educators and representatives from supporting ministries and church entities. In the last twelve months a medical missionary study group has met on three separate occasions for one or two days. Most recently (March 4-7, 2013) representatives from the General Conference Health Ministries department, the General Conference Ministerial Association, and the world divisions met at the world headquarters to restudy Christ’s methods, share ideas, listen to reports, strategize, vision, and pray together. The focus of the meetings was on developing a far-reaching comprehensive health ministry strategy involving each church member and church entity. The study group voted to pass on the initiatives below for consideration to the President’s Council (April 8, 2013) and the Spring Meeting in Battle Creek, Michigan (April 14, 15, 2013).
COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH MINISTRY INITIATIVES
- Organize Health Summits in 2014 and 2015 for training world division leaders in Christ’s methods of comprehensive health ministry.
- Dedicate the Week of Prayer readings in 2014 or 2015 to comprehensive health ministry.
- Cooperate with Ministry magazine in producing a special issue on Christ’s methods alone.
- Develop resource materials for pastors and church members for use in comprehensive health ministry outreach.
- Explore possibilities of more fully integrating comprehensive health evangelism and Christ’s methods of outreach into our theological and health professionals’ educational curriculums.
- Produce a series of TV specials for Seventh-day Adventist media outlets and use in local churches on Christ’s methods alone.
- Discover models of successful comprehensive health evangelism and feature these models in our periodicals, media outlets and news releases.
- Support the work of the centers of influence where comprehensive health ministry is already taking place.
- Develop and pilot small group materials for use in home groups.
- Coordinate in every institution, every church, and through all members an International Health Outreach Week in 2015 as a “Gift to the Community” as part of Mission to the Cities.
The members of the comprehensive health ministry study group prayerfully submit that as the loving ministry of Christ permeates “Mission to the Cities”, the result will be “the setting in operation of a mighty movement such as we have not yet witnessed.”—MM 304 When hundreds of thousands of Seventh-day Adventists minister to their neighbors in Jesus’ name, the earth will be “lightened with the glory of God,” His character of love will be revealed to a waiting world and a watching universe and our Lord will return.