Seventh-day Adventists are best known for two distinguishing characteristics, the Sabbath and an interest in health. More than any other major group Seventh-day Adventists have explored and embraced the Bible’s message about health.
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” (1Cor. 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.
Our pioneers argued that the complete development of our spiritual powers require the full cooperation of all our mental faculties. Unhealthful habits impair the mental powers. The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when if they had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan (Testimonies for the Church, 3:492)
Responsibilities of the Health Ministries Department
1. Health Promotion
- Keep church members aware of the importance of health and educate new members of the significance of health and temperance.
- Organise a “health emphasis week” to increase the level of awareness and practice of health principles in the local church.
- Encourage the support of health and temperance work through the annual health and temperance offering.
- Create an awareness of our health and temperance journals: The Winner for children, Listen for teens, and Vibrant Life for adults.
- Organise health screening projects for example, high blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and other health related problems.
- Provide “stop smoking” plans, cooking schools and seminars on nutrition, cancer prevention, heart disease, stress management, weight management and physical fitness.
2. Health Education
- The only hope of better health is in the education of the people in right principles. Unhealthful conditions should be changed and wrong habits corrected.
- A question is 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 Ministries Department is responsible for the health education of the new members in the Adventist Lifestyle.
- Introduce the Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP) in your local church beginning with the MicroCHIP for team building.
- Teach the Bible basis for healthful living.
- Taking advantage of courses and training provided by the North England Conference (NEC) to develop your skills and knowledge required to be effective in your Health Mistries
- The Ministry of Healing by Ellen G White (1942, Pacific Press) is the most fundamental statement of the goals and methods of Adventist Health ministry.
- Ministries of Health and Healing (1997), Health Ministries Department, North American Division is the handbook for Health ministries. It includes overall mission and objectives.
- Health Ministries update is the official newsletter of the Health and Temperance department designed for health ministries leaders at all levels.
- Compassion in a time of AIDS (1994, Church Resources Consortium, North American Division) is an excellent resource manual.
- Ministries of Compassion (1994, Church Resource Consortium, North American Division) is a handbook for inner city programmes and social action projects.
The above resources are available from Advent Source.