PAT HUMPHREY/ANN staff
Health professionals and outreach
leaders from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America say a new focus
on comprehensive health ministry will rebrand the church’s traditional medical
missionary work, bringing healing and wholeness to church and community
“God called us all to work together and we will only truly touch the lives of
people as Jesus did, once we work collaboratively for Him with one mission and
one vision,” said Katia Reinert, North American Division Health Ministries
The call for blended ministry came last month at the North American Division
Health Ministries Summit in Orlando, Florida, United States.
Summit organizers, in partnership
with Loma Linda University, held a Health Professionals Conference at the event
to define the role of health professionals in comprehensive health ministry,
both in their clinical practices and their local churches. “We need more
involvement of our health professionals and our health institutions in health
ministry,” Reinert said.
This year¹s summit also outlined sample ministry roles for health
professionals, pastors, educators, young people and Adventist Community Service
volunteers. Comprehensive health ministry follows Christ’s method of meeting
physical needs as an avenue to spiritual ones.
“Collaboration is key,” Reinert said. “Having pastors, children¹s ministries
leaders, women¹s ministries leaders, community services leaders and many others
represented and involved in getting trained to meet people’s needs and
demonstrate God¹s love and compassion is essential.”
In recent months church officials have called for a
renewed emphasis on the comprehensive side of health ministry—the blending of
physical and spiritual components that depends on close collaboration between
health and ministerial leaders.
The new focus is meant to reboot
the church’s traditional approach to health outreach. The early church’s
medical missionaries brought physical and spiritual healing to communities
worldwide. A mission boat called “The
Morning Star” launched medical missionary work along the Mississippi River.
Later, another boat called the “Luzeiro” brought health outreach and a message
of hope to communities along the banks of the Amazon River in South America.
Reinert and other health ministries leaders hope the renewed focus on
comprehensive health ministry will continue that legacy. They envision every
Adventist church serving as a center of hope and healing in the community. “As
churches begin building connections and partnerships in the community, they can
place the church in a better space to minister and truly show that they want
their communities to be whole,” Reinert said.