BY ANSEL OLIVER, Adventist News Network
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has announced the first phase of a comprehensive approach to health outreach, one that for the next year and a half will involve promoting health evangelism to local church members and administrators.
In the coming years, top leaders hope local congregations will offer programs as a “gift of health” to their communities.
³What would happen if 70,000 Seventh-day Adventist churches opened their doors to teach wellness? asked Mark Finley, assistant to the General Conference president for evangelism. ³This will broaden the base for an evangelistic approach that goes beyond preaching addressing spiritual, mental, and physical modalities, he said.
Finley introduced the initiative to some 350 delegates at the 2013 Annual Council, the yearly meeting of the church’s Executive Committee at the church’s world headquarters.
For the next two years, a renewed emphasis on health outreach through church media will help prepare members and leaders for the upcoming plans and implementation of projects. “This is a conscious attempt to broaden the understanding and base of local church members and leadership,” Finley said.
The second phase of the comprehensive health ministry approach will begin in mid-2015, offering resources and ideas for local congregations to deliver as health outreach initiatives.
Health Ministries director Dr. Peter Landless said next year¹s summit in Geneva would offer training for comprehensive health ministry initiatives. Leaders also said each of the denomination’s 13 world divisions will have training programs to facilitate the outreach goal.
The bold emphasis on health outreach comes after months of planning to combine many health and ministerial initiatives. Leaders emphasized that the focus is not solely an initiative of the Health Ministries department, but a blending of all ministries.
“Comprehensive health evangelism involves all kinds of gifts, all kinds of ministries, and God will use us together in this thrust in the coming days,” said Jerry Page, secretary of the denomination¹s Ministerial Association.