Inspiration for Health Ministry, by LEM

A Healthy, Happy Family


Principles of Ministering to Families

(For this study, read also: Ministry of Healing Chapter 33)

     As a part of health ministry we don’t want to just treat diseases or even individuals.  Whenever possible we want to make efforts to provide care and education for whole families.  Teaching principles of happy families can help to restore God’s original ideal for the families which will bring peace and happiness the members and make it a place where Christ can dwell.

1. What kind of problems can families typically have? 

     Many families are in crisis.  There are arguments and fights, things are messy and unsanitary, there are problems with unhealthy air or water sources, alcoholism and substance abuse as well as physical and sometimes sexual abuse sadden the lives of those who dwell in the home.

     Poverty often goes hand in hand with these problems, but many families that are well-off financially are not immune to some of the very same problems, as numerous celebrity police records can testify.

     Chaotic family environments are not best for the mental, spiritual or physical health of family members or development of the children.  Families are the most basic unit of society and thus the health and stability of families has a huge impact on society.  Human beings need a peaceful and loving home life in order to flourish.

     It is many little words and actions that determine whether the home will be a happy place or a stressful, miserable place.

2 How can we reach out to families that are in need?

     We may be able to make friends with them, visit them.  It is important to be careful for safety reasons, however, and watch out for potentially dangerous situations.  Do not attempt to enter homes in situations in which there could be violence or illegal activities going on.  

     Health and community programs or offering free classes which local neighbors might be interested in can be a good way to get to know people in the community.

     Offer programs to people of different ages so that you might have a chance to get to know different members of the same family.

     As we get to know families we can slowly introduce them to principles that will help make their home more peaceful. 

     Clinics and health services can also take a similar approach in caring for families of their clients. 

     When individuals come in for health services or to participate in church programs you can offer them a survey which asks questions about family life and provides information about upcoming family-focused programs.

     When possible, attempt to focus on different aspects of things which effect home life – including helping family members learn skills so they can find work or start businesses, helping moms learn useful skills to provide for their children’s needs, etc.

     Many people are in need of programs and information about many aspects of home life including; parenting, children’s health and nutrition, environmental health of the home (sunlight, fresh air, etc.), substance abuse, healthy cooking, etc.

     People are also in need of resources which they cannot provide for themselves, such as counseling, food resources and car maintenance help or legal counsel.  Churches can have programs that provide these services or collect information about community resources for assistance in these areas.

     A nice family ministry method which could be used is to have little seminars or classes within individual homes for just 2 or 3 families to gather together and listen to. Teach simple things of how to care for kids when sick health ministry helps bring families together.

     House churches can be a very nice way for families to support each other and provide strong Christian fellowship for members of the families.

     Those who have been strong Christians for longer can teach lessons about family, and set an example through church families and our attitude in relationships.
 
3. What are some principles of keeping Christ-like love within the family?

     Chapter 33 of Ministry of Healing, page 1-9, 16-18 and 20 go into detail in speaking about principles of healthy, happy families.

     The ideal for families is true, genuine love and trust between family members, between parents and children as well as brothers and sisters.  Jesus wants families to have true love for each other.

     Children arguing and fighting with each other should not be considered the “norm.”  The way that siblings act toward one another and parents and children relate to each other often lays a basis for how people will relate to their spouses and children after they become adults.

     Parents need to learn to have steady, consistent discipline combined with caring love.  True love is made up of the two elements of both mercy and justice.  Dysfunctional families often may focus primarily on either mercy or justice – they are either too lenient or too strict on the children, or swing back and forth unpredictably between the two extremes according to the unregulated moods of the parents, leaving children with no ability to guess what is coming next. This is not a healthy environment for the growth and development of the children.

     Tough love must be both firm and tender, consistently. Unhealthy family patterns tend to follow a pattern of ignoring the children for long periods of time, followed by loud bursts of scolding and yelling.

     Only with true love can there be true happiness.  We need true love in our church, school, and in families to satisfy our hearts, and draw outsiders to know Jesus.

     The church is God’s family, and individuals who make up churches and Christian communities are practicing and modeling behaviors for future families to imulate at home.

     Inter-generational families can be a very good model.  Though not followed in the United States as much as in other countries, such as those in Asia, it can be a blessing if members are respectful of each other and do not try to control or manipulate each other. 

     Those doing ministry to families should also recognize that the ideal cannot always be reached in situations where a family member, grandparent or relative is controlling, manipulative or abusive.  Church members or those doing health ministry should not be too simplistic about requiring people to feel obligated to allow that type of family member to have increasing influence over them based on verses such as “honor thy mother and thy father.” 

     There are many verses and common-sense principles that help provide a balance view – including that Jesus said we should not love family more than we love him.  That helps us to understand that if a family member, such as a grandparent, is attempting to manipulate or have a controlling influence while having a detrimental effect on the spirituality of the family, the parent or parents should put Christ first and follow him, and limit the ability of the grandparent to do this. 

     For example, if repeated attempts to let concerns be known to the individual does not work it may be necessary to move away to a further distance or not have as many activities together.  

     It is important for parents to watch carefully for any evidence that someone who has contact with their child might be abusing them.  Do not turn a blind eye when a charismatic adult seems to take an especially strong interest in a child – many times this can be a tactic that abusers use to gain access to children.

     Limit and monitor screen time and decrease media exposure, encourage more natural forms of entertainment and activity.

     Yelling things across the room is not the best way to get a message across to children or influence their behavior.  It is important to draw close to children and look them in the eye, speak to them with love and firmness, ask them questions about their behavior that will get them to think about what they are doing and why.  Let them know by your manner of speaking that they will be expected to comply with rules. 

     It is very important to encourage any good behavior in children.  Many times children are ignored unless they misbehave, so that sends a message that “if I want attention from my parents I must misbehave.”

     Be firm with children and do not let them have their way just because they scream or throw tantrums.  Consistent discipline and removal of privileges should be administered when children do not have good attitudes or behavior.

     Parents have the right to put Christ first and make every effort to secure a peaceful, healthy environment for the upbringing of their children.

     Parents should be encouraged to pray for wisdom in knowing how to deal with negative or detrimental influences and challenging situations.

     God will hear the prayers of concerned parents who are seeking a blessing. He will bless those who courageously follow principles of truth to the best of their ability, by the grace and power he provides.

     Ministry of Healing, pg. 394 of chapter 33 shows what a beautiful outcome can be for children who grow up in a peaceful, loving Christian home;

     “Brought up under the wise and loving guidance of a true home, children will have no desire to wander away in search of pleasure and companionship. Evil will not attract them. The spirit that prevails in the home will mold their characters; they will form habits and principles that will be a strong defense against temptation when they shall leave the home shelter and take their place in the world.”

     Imagine the transformation that could occur if some families could begin to live by principles of health, happiness and love.  Then they can invite Jesus into their home, and it can be said that where two or three are gathered he is in their midst.

     More from Ministry of Healing about the topic of the family can be found in the following chapters; 28, The Builders of the Home, 30 Choice and Preparation of the Home, 31 The Mother

     Key topics are covered, including how the parents lay the foundation for the children's lives, youth of today make up society tomorrow, the home can be a refuge for the youth, and much more about how to train and care for children, infants, etc.

Here are some more excerpts from Ellen White's writings;

Who was Ellen White? ; Ellen White named by Smithsonian among the 100 most significant Americans of all time , EGW Link 2

"The far reaching influence of the home."

"The Christian Home Is an Object Lesson.--"The mission of the home extends beyond its own members. The Christian home is to be an object lesson, illustrating the excellence of the true principles of life. Such an illustration will be a power for good in the world. . . . As the youth go out from such a home, the lessons they have learned are imparted. Nobler principles of life are introduced into other households, and an uplifting influence works in the community." {Adventis Home 31.1}

"The home in which the members are polite, courteous Christians exerts a far-reaching influence for good. Other families will mark the results attained by such a home, and will follow the example set, in their turn guarding the home against Satanic influences. The angels of God will often visit the home in which the will of God bears sway." {Adventis Home 31.2}

"Influence of a Well-ordered Family.--It is no small matter for a family to stand as representatives of Jesus, keeping God's law in an unbelieving community. We are required to be living epistles known and read of all men. This position involves fearful responsibilities." {Adventist Home 31.3}

"One well-ordered, well-disciplined family tells more in behalf of Christianity than all the sermons that can be preached. Such a family gives evidence that the parents have been successful in following God's directions, and that their children will serve Him in the church." {Adventist Home 32.1}

Something for Everyone

Health Ministry to People of Different Ages


Ministry of Healing Chapter 32 The Child, Chapter 33 Home Influences.  (See also chapter 2, pg. 35-38 about children).

(For this study, read also: Ministry of Healing Chapter 32 and Chapter 33 )

 In doing health ministry, we will meet many different ages. At every different stage in life people have different interests, learning needs, and health needs. It’s important to keep in mind these differences when doing ministry.

1. What are some general principles of ministry to different age groups?

     First, consider the common health needs each age group.  There are conditions which commonly effect different age groups and things which different age groups are at risk for.  We want to help prevent people from “becoming a statistic,” and to prevent human suffering.

     Consider the common interests of each age group.  Within reason, we can think about what they would be interested in hearing about related to their life stage and incorporate some of those things into our teaching and personal ministry, in order to reach their hearts.

     Understand the benefits of intergenerational relationships and try to utilize this in planning programs.  Research studies confirm that intergenerational relationship are beneficial. Our textbook for this study course, Ministry of Healing, pg 204, also talks about the benefits of taking care of elderly in the home, and interactions of older and younger generations;

     “There is a blessing in the association of the old and the young. The young may bring sunshine into the hearts and lives of the aged. Those whose hold on life is weakening need the benefit of contact with the hopefulness and buoyancy of youth. And the young may be helped by the wisdom and experience of the old.”


2. What are some principles of ministry to children?

     We take inspiration from the ministry of Jesus.  He loved Children.  Study and seek to follow Christ’s example of personal caring when ministering to children.

     Ministry of Healing, starting on page 38, speaks about Jesus’ ministry to children. It speaks of the effects of his ministry.  He sought to come down to their level in order to reach them.  He knew that they would listen more readily even than those of older generations.

     A huge percentage of the world’s population is made up of youth.  Almost 1/3 of the population in the underdeveloped countries is less than 15 years old.  In many places where adults are dying young from AIDS and other contagious diseases, children may be responsible for entire families. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_pyramid

     Talk to children as a way to reach out to them socially.

     Use verbal praise and encouragement for small successes.

     Try to come down to a level with children, join them in their activities and play.

     Understand that most health habits are established in youth, so efforts to prevent things like substance abuse among young people are extremely important.

     Understand also that habits such as substance abuse are more common among young people who have fewer meaningful relationships with persons of older age groups (per research).  Things like substance abuse can often be merely a symptom of a greater problem, such as depression or (abuse, neglect, discouragement). 

      In order to make a difference we must truly care about people and let them see that we care, not just preach at them.

      Get kids out in nature. The natural environment is an ideal place for children to learn, and best for their physical, mental and spiritual development. God has made nature full of interesting things for children to learn.  Taking them out into nature for lessons or classes, living in the country, going for weekend trips to parks or camping (when carefully planned), all can have beneficial effects on children’s health and help them to disconnect with some of the multimedia influences that are often teaching messages that are not good for health or spirituality.

     When you talk about reasons they should adopt a certain health habit be sure to focus on things they are interested in, things they can see and feel rather than consequences that will not develop until decades later.  For example, say things like “it will help you grow” or “it will make you strong” rather than “it will prevent osteoporosis.” 

     This is especially true of young children, because they may not even know what the words “prevent” nor “osteoporosis” mean and do not have enough experience to be able to imagine what their life may be like after 5 more decades.

     As much as possible, include activities that involve the five senses for learning.  Use lots of colors, pictures, things they can touch not just see (fuzzy wool on lamb picture, etc.), children’s picture Bible, colorful presentation with fruit, etc. encouraging them to eat “red, yellow, green,” vacation bible school crafts, etc.  You can do nature nuggets, games, crafts, etc.

     Instead of just talking a lot, ask them questions and get feedback.  Ask them to raise hands, answer questions that you ask in a friendly give and take manner.  Asking questions will get people to focus their attention immediately on what you are saying.

     Develop a relationship with young people.  Social relationships are one of the greatest influences in life.  Social support research is showing that simple things like learning young people’s names, playing a game of ball with young people can help improve their health behaviors and reduce substance abuse.  Being involved in programs like Big Brother/Big Sister can be a great way to make a difference in the life of a young person.

     Speak with love in your voice, and don’t forget that children may be present when speaking to any large congregation. Even a complicated message can be made so that children who are present may understand some and listen. For example, a lecture for a congregation which includes information which includes a lot of examples, stories and pictures which all ages may be interested in.  Especially when spoken with kindness in your voice, even more complicated messages can be somewhat understood by kids.

     A likely reason why this does not happen more, unfortunately, is that many who get up to speak are more interested in making an impression by using big words and complicated terminology, rather than sincerely hoping to bless the lives of those who are listening. 

     Create a “teachable moment” before trying to give people health information which they aren’t necessarily interested in.  The way to do this is to create an experience where people will feel a personal need to learn more about a health topic.  For example, before talking about weight management have people weigh themselves on a scale.  Or, have a booth where you check young people’s blood pressures before giving them a pamphlet about healthy eating and blood pressure and talk to them a little about it. 

     Anything that involves a physical, personal experience like blood pressure taking will focus their mind on your topic much more than just words or theories – because it makes it personal.  And it can help them to start thinking “what is my blood pressure,” “am I at risk for high blood pressure?” “what can I do to prevent high blood pressure.”  Then you can talk to them and they will be ready to listen.

     Don’t forget to include a gospel presentation- to encourage young people to closely link their lives with God as the source to find power to make lasting health changes.  And, encourage them to become socially engaged with Jesus as their truest friend, as someone they can talk to about all their joys and sorrows and seek help from. 

     This is so important because many teen health behaviors are more strongly affected by social factors than anything else.   So, helping them to connect with Jesus for the fulfillment of an element of their social needs can help them become more strong and independent of peer pressure influences.

 Cautions to consider when ministering to young people;

     Avoid doing all the talking or doing all the demonstrating if you have some kind of demonstration. Call for volunteers to come get their hands into whatever you are demonstrating. Better yet, have a hands-on learning seminar instead of a lecture.  This applies to adults too.

     When attempting to incorporate things that young people are interested in into your ministry, be cautious about going too far.  Not every interest that different age groups have is helpful or uplifting.  For example, avoid music styles which are similar to worldly fleshly lusts and which may leads to drugs and sexually permissive lifestyles. 

     If kids want to go to a rock concert, they can do that somewhere else. But many churches try to use these kinds of methods in order to increase their numbers, which is based on a very superficial numbers-game idea that if we can count more people in church it can be assumed that our ministry was successful. 

     But that is simply not true if you have let go of Christian principles in the process and your efforts actually break down barriers to worldly revelry, becoming as a bridge to “drugs, sex and rock-n-roll” rather than a hedge of protection from those things.

     Having a hypnotic, rhythmic brain drugs experience with lots of exciting noise and color stimulation might draw a crowd…

…but it won’t win a crown.

     We should avoid merely entertainment-style ministry.   Never assume that young people cannot understand some more complex topics or that they would not be interested in learning about spiritual things.  Many young people are capable of more than you might think, and their minds can be fresh and responsive to new ideas which older generations might reject.  It is commonly believed that Jesus chose fairly young disciples, and it is probably for this reason.

     Kids need to learn to take on responsibilities and focus their youthful energies into channels of ministry. They will not be truly satisfied or happy until they learn to do this, and won’t grow in their spiritual life.  In helping them to find a ministry or mission, in giving them opportunities to minister to others you will give them the greatest gift and some of the most enjoyable experiences of their young lives.

     Maintain appropriate professional and emotional boundaries. Even if you have not gotten your “baggage” sorted out, do not involve impressionable young people into personal dramas and relationships in order to feed your own emotional needs.  They are confused enough as it is at this stage in life.  

     Do not be afraid of teenagers.  Do not think that you have to be “cool.” “Care” is cooler than “cool.” Kids will respond to genuine caring, even if you know nothing about the videos, games and movies that they think are “cool.”

     Stop trying to make an impression. From many years of teaching and working with young people and children in various lines of work, it is my honest conclusion that many who work with children are often more interested in their own career development and creating a guru following than in truly uplifting young people.  So, they put on a lot of show and try to get “likes,” but it’s for the purpose of being noticed and glorified rather than because they genuinely care.

     Then, teachers seem to get jealous of each other and try to put each other down or stab each other in the back if they think there’s any chance the students like what another teacher is doing.

    It would be well for Christians to remember that such behavior will not be rewarded in heaven;

     “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1

     On the other hand, there are those who take a strict, authoritative approach to dealing with children and young people.  We should avoid reprimanding children constantly or being too authoritative.  This often is not really “tough love” as they would try to suggest – it’s actually just “tough,” therefore it does not help children much.  Many adults who constantly reprimand children are doing so because they feel impatient and secretly feel annoyed by children - not because the are really trying to “teach them a lesson.” 

     “Let not your un-Christlike character misrepresent Jesus. Do not keep the little ones away from Him by your coldness and harshness. Never give them cause to feel that heaven would not be a pleasant place to them if you were there.” Ministry of Healing pg. 43.1

     “The Saviour regards with infinite tenderness the souls whom He has purchased with His blood. They are the claim of His love. He looks upon them with unutterable longing. His heart is drawn out, not only to the best-trained and most attractive children, but to those who by inheritance and through neglect have objectionable traits of character… The Christian worker may be Christ's agent in drawing these faulty and erring ones to the Saviour. By wisdom and tact he may bind them to his heart, he may give courage and hope, and through the grace of Christ may see them transformed in character, so that of them it may be said, ‘Of such is the kingdom of God.’” Ministry of Healing pg. 44.3

~

Examples of health topics for young children;

Dental hygiene
Hand washing
Eating fruits and vegetables, good nutrition
Avoiding talking to strangers
Examples of health topics for school-aged children;
Bike safety
Water, hydration
Avoiding too much sugar
Electrical shock safety
Nutrition
Exercise

Examples of health topics for teens;

Dangers of smoking and vaping, addictive substances
Avoiding sugar, sugary drinks (finding healthy alternatives – have a cookie contest for cookies that are sweetened with dates or bananas only, for example)
Encouraging increased exercise
Intake of fruits and vegetables, water, etc.
Sexually transmitted disease prevention

3. What are some principles of ministry to adults in their productive years?

     Ministry of Healing chapter 28 pp 6-8, also page Pg 319, 388

     In adults we begin to see the results of life and established habits. It also can afford us opportunity for them to become interested in health, because people start to feel a need.

     Adults can be the best students because they have a sense of responsibility and life experiences which have shown them the importance of things. Many adults may be zealous to learn.

     We can use more complex information with adults, but we must consider their education level and area of professional expertise.  Even college graduates who may know professional terminology in their own professional area may not understand a plethora of health terms, so it’s better to keep things simple or explain some terminology.

     Be gentle and encourage gradual change. Adults often have long-established habits that can be very difficult to change, and have to deal with family members who may not be ready to make changes with them.

     Encourage goal setting based on benefits they may expect to experience.

     Along with discussing long-term benefits and disease prevention, also emphasize many short-term benefits to health changes which people can see and feel immediately.

     Ask questions that make them think and that they can respond to or give their opinion about.  This often gets people interested in something more than just giving them information. 

     Give them a turn with the microphone.  Let people share about their health experiences, testimonies and what has helped them.  Let them ask questions and give feedback. Dialogue is always more beneficial than monologue.

     Emphasize the power of Christ to help them make changes.  Help them connect with Jesus as a personal friend and savior.

     Draw close to people as Jesus did.  While maintaining appropriate personal boundaries, build friendships through which you can care for and influence people in a good direction.  People will learn more from a friend than from a lecture. 

     Make things personal – create teachable moments through health evaluations and screenings, personal counseling and listening skills.

     Find ways for adults to connect with each other for support and encouragement in their health journey and personal struggles.  Encourage prayer partners and support groups.

     Use motivational interviewing techniques which encourage people to take charge of their own health, rather than just trying to tell them what to do.

     Consider influences that effect their life at this stage- their interests, caring for family, family relationships, stress management.  Use therapeutic listening to show them you care about their difficulties. 

3. What are some principles of ministry to older adults?

     Hearing and vision deficits can make it difficult for them to understand what you are saying.  Be sure to speak louder, project your voice and let older adults see your lips moving when you speak so that they can understand easier.

     Depending on their state of mind and health, you may need to speak more slowly and focus on a few more simple topics.

     The learning of adults of all ages is not so different than with children – people learn best when they can involve their 5 senses.  Try to use colorful things that they can taste, touch, feel and see – such as cooking demonstrations.

     Praise and encourage any progress or improvement, in a sincere way.

     Find ways for them to be able to feel that they are making a difference for someone. Those who can knit or sew can make blankets for hospitalized children.

     Involve older adults in interactions with young people and animals.  Examples include having a cat or two in a nursing home or having a group of older adults take care of chickens.  It can really spark their interest and make a huge difference in their happiness.

     Involve them in gardening projects, or even kitchen pot gardens.  Crafts and hobbies are also beneficial, especially if it involves sharing what they have made with others.

     Find opportunities for older adults to tell their stories and share their wisdom, it is very therapeutic for them and can be beneficial to those of younger generations.

     Find ways for older adults to connect with each other for support.

     Teach with simple parables, stories and examples, following Christ’s model.

     Ask questions that make them think and that they can respond to or give their opinion about.

     Older adults are often at risk for dehydration which can lead to dizziness, falls and broken bones, etc.

     Think of creative ways to get them to drink water.  They may enjoy drinking water with citrus slices and mint leaves more than just plain water, for example.  Putting water with apple slices in the refrigerator over night can give it a nice flavor, or give them herbal, non-caffeinated tea instead of just plain water can help.

     Look for free public resources for people with special needs, such as vision or hearing difficulties.

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Ellen White Quotes:

Ellen White Quotes: Who was Ellen White? ; Ellen White named by Smithsonian among the 100 most significant Americans of all time , EGW Link 2

Here Are some beautiful words from the pen of Ellen White that could save many a precious life from going down the path of ruin and degradation…

"Our homes should be a place of refuge for the tempted youth. Many there are who stand at the parting of the ways. Every influence, every impression, is determining the choice that shapes their destiny both here and hereafter. Evil invites them. Its resorts are made bright and attractive. They have a welcome for every comer. All about us are youth who have no home, and many whose homes have no helpful, uplifting power, and the youth drift into evil. They are going down to ruin within the very shadow of our own doors." {Ministry of Healing pg 354.3}

"These youth need a hand stretched out to them in sympathy. Kind words simply spoken, little attentions simply bestowed, will sweep away the clouds of temptation which gather over the soul. The true expression of heaven-born sympathy has power to open the door of hearts that need the fragrance of Christlike words, and the simple, delicate touch of the spirit of Christ's love. If we would show an interest in the youth, invite them to our homes, and surround them with cheering, helpful influences, there are many who would gladly turn their steps into the upward path." {Ministry of Healing pg 354.4}

"Our sympathies are to overflow the boundaries of self and the enclosure of family walls. There are precious opportunities for those who will make their homes a blessing to others. Social influence is a wonderful power. We can use it if we will as a means of helping those about us." {Ministry of Healing 354.2}

“The Multitudes in the Valley” 3:14




Reaching Out to People of Different Cultures and Religions


How to Reach Out to Different Cultures and Religions

Effectiveness in Health Evangelism (For this study, read also: Ministry of Healing Chapter 11)

Here are some concepts of “missiology” which can help us to be more effective in health evangelism efforts to all different people groups.  It works for overseas/cross-cultural missions and it also works at home in our own country- because there are so many different cultures here and also age groups which have their own “culture” as well.

We must reach people in the context of their own culture when possible, using those things which are compatible with Christianity. The book “Eternity in their Hearts” by Don Richardson, based on the principle of Ecclesiastes 3:11, goes into this in detail, with examples from all over the world of how it seems God has allowed some cultural examples and stories that people are familiar with to be used in explaining truths to people.  The book outlines that the reason why some mission efforts have failed in the past is because they did not make efforts to understand the culture or build on some pre-existing concepts of the God of heaven which were good and useful.

Ellen White in the book Desire of Ages, chapter 6, describes in detail the wisemen who came seeking Jesus. God gave her special insight about this story. These men were being lead by God and were more familiar with some of the scriptures and prophecies than the Jews were.  They were judged as pagan and their ideas dismissed due to the pride of the Jews who looked at them superficially, but God knew their hearts.

Understanding people’s religious background and viewpoints is also important.  Mark Findley’s book “Studying Together” contains a useful guide toward the back about the Various belief systems of multiple different religions and suggestions for how to reach them.

What are some methods we can use that follow these concepts?


-First, we need to find out what people’s world view is and do cultural studies.  We must study the culture, religion and world view of other people, (and ideally the language, in the case of foreign missions) to find out what they understand about life and the universe, and what kinds of things they might have questions about.  When reaching out to foreign cultures, some missionary organizations, such as Adventist Fronteir Missions, has missionaries study the culture and language for up to 2 years before even beginning to try to work among the people. 

-Have social interactions within the culture, listen and learn what is important to people and what kinds of things they talk about.  Those who minister within their birth culture will have an easier time, but it is still important to spend time getting to know each person that you hope to influence. It’s important to listen and take the time to understand people.   

-Study to find out what kinds of unanswered spiritual questions people may have in their hearts, as well as what errors people may have in their understanding of God and the universe.  Then we will know where to begin gently guiding them into more truth. Find out what people’s views are about life after death, creation, etc. great controversy/sin, the reason for sadness in the world, etc.  Knowing what people’s deep questions are can help us find a point of interest that could cause people to become interested in what we have to share. 


-Discover what truths they may already understand.  Learning what elements of their culture and understanding might contain elements of truths which we can build on.  Try to find out what they already know about God. Understanding people’s culture and religion can help us know where people are coming from, and what types of concepts we need to introduce people to.  Many religions and cultures already have beliefs compatable with Christianity and the Bible. Also, People often have strong concepts of right and wrong based on their conscience, which we can encourage, while at the same time seeking to help them to refine and develop their understanding.

Example of preexisting truths; there are many cultures which have flood stories all over the world that are similar to what the Bible teaches.  The stories have usually been altered throughout the years, so we should not encourage people to view them as entirely factual, but we might be able to help them understand that some of these ledgends originated from real things which happened, and the original story is preserved in the Bible.


In some cases in which people can see that the Bible helps explain their own culture better, in relation to the ancient history of the world and its origins, it can help them value the Bible’s relevance to them personally.  This is truth with the history of Ancient China.  There is a lot of evidence that the ancient Chinese people were faithful worshipers of the God of heaven, and the ancient Chinese characters are a pictographic system which includes multiple references to things which the Bible talks about – such as Noah’s ark with 8 people on it, the Garden of Eden, etc.  Without the Bible there is no context for understanding the true meaning of many things about Chinese culture.


Another example is the story of Don Richardson’s “Peace Child,” in which he as a missionary used a cultural practice to draw an analogy of what Jesus did for humanity when he came to earth.  The practice was the giving of a child from a different tribe to end a war.  


If we first understand people, we then can help people understand things like Christ, the great controversy between God and Satan, etc. within context of culture, as far as possible, sometimes using things they are familiar with to build on.  If the people can understand that what you’re bringing in is not something that is just foreign, but rather something that fulfills their culture, they will be more willing to accept it. It is important to try to reach people in the context of their own culture, but without compromising the truth. 


To reach those of different religions we need to study to understand the beliefs of those of different religions, and also of non-Christians.  Each person is individual and may not believe everything exactly the same way as others of their religious group, so it is an individual work of getting to know people.


Health Ministry and Culture;

We should also find out what people’s health beliefs are based on culture and religion (cold fruits and warm ones, etc). There are usually some good concepts which can be built on or encouraged, and which we can include or acknowledge in our efforts to reach people, and there are also usually misconcepts which we will need to make efforts to correct and help them learn more accurate viewpoints.  Ideas regarding health should not all be accepted – they must be also scientifically valid and not in conflict with Christianity. Yet we should try to be understanding.            

We should also consider the specific health problems common to that people group, culture or age group.  Do research and study the common health problems, the reasons for these issues and what spiritual or ideological problems they may be related to.  For example, smoking or drinking alcohol among teens may be common, which could be related to several social issues including peer pressure but also lack of the social support of strong relationships with caring adults.  Much research has shown that children and teenagers who have strong relationships with caring adults do not engage in nearly as many high risk behaviors.  Understanding this helps us know that the substance use and abuse may be merely a symptom of loneliness or lack of direction and guidance from loving relationships, and we can focus our efforts on caring for them as well as helping them find stronger support systems.

The example of Jesus’ caring for people’s physical needs is one of the best ways to reach people.  We can use health evangelism anywhere. Learn first aid and family care, do simple hydrotherapy for comfort, colds, and other things.  Even offering someone a simple cup of herb tea when they are sick can help to establish a bond of caring in which people are aware that you care for them.

In some areas that have no access to medical care of any kind, some health education efforts can be made if organized in a careful manner. The book “Where there is no doctor,” is extremely helpful in developing a plan to know how to help people in those types of situations. Health evangelism has been used in places such as the Phillipines and Papua New Guinnea for bush medicine, doing primitive medical missionary work and health teaching in the jungle, etc. 

Cautions;

1)     We should not make the mistake of letting go of the uniqueness of Christianity in our effort to reach people in their cultures.  For example, it’s not a good idea to try to turn church into a dance party with rock music based on the knowledge that young people are tempted to drink, party and dance.  Christianity is not compatible with thrill-seeking entertainment world.  Love is what will change lives- not more thrills and glitters.  This is not a numbers game – how many people we attract is a superficial measure which has nothing to do with true fruits of Christian work.  Our goal is to convert people to Christ and his love, rather than convert the church to become like the hedonistic world.  The things of this world are inherently dissatisfying to people, and also jangle the nerves with overstimulation that causes an unhappy let-down after the “party,” that’s why they cannot be happy with those things and are in need of knowing God’s love.  It will not help if we just offer people more of the same unsatisfying things that they can find anywhere in the world.  They  have no special reason to come to church if what we have to offer is almost the same as the world.

2)     As we learn about people’s culture and seek to guide them into more truth, be very careful to avoid acting condescending or drawing attention to ourselves as a “wise” person who wants personal recognition.  Only real Christian virtues of humility and love will bring conversions.  People will see right through a phony, self-serving attitude on your face.  That’s why many Christian efforts are unsuccessful, because people are not truly sincere in their efforts to reach others.


Example of ministry in the culture of Taiwan- how to introduce God to people in Chinese culture for establishment of the gospel in Taiwan 


-Different cultural settings are there in Taiwan include; Christian, Buddhist, atheist/secular, young, elderly, aboriginal, foreigners, those who have gone abroad, different languages, elderly who know Japanese and Taiwanese


-Taiwanese cultural understandings of God include some prophecies of Christ, etc. Menicus messianic prophecies, etc. calling the sky “heaven” (‘tian’), teachings of righteousness and respect for elders that matches the Bible. The Chinese characters confirm many Bible stories, especially the ancient oracle bone characters but even some of the modern traditional characters.  For example the word “boat” pictures 8 individuals, a reference to Noah’s family. (reference “God and the Ancient Chinese” by Samuel Wang, and ancient Chinese character study).


            -Health message and interest in natural healing is similar to Chinese culture interest in herbs and more natural healing, massage etc. There are many vegetarians already in Taiwan- they can be interested in sharing vegetarian recipes, etc.)


-Some cultural health concepts we can accept, if they are compatible with Christianity.  Not all are compatible, though… concepts such as energy, Feng Shui, etc. are based on magical pagan ideas and nature worship. 


-Taiwan has many people in the valleys who are not Christian. The mountain people/aboriginal are more likely to be Christian here. 


Ellen White Quotes: Who was Ellen White? ; Ellen White named by Smithsonian among the 100 most significant Americans of all time , EGW Link 2




At Capernaum Jesus dwelt in the intervals of His journeys to and fro, and it came to be known as "His own city." It was on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and near the borders of the beautiful plain of Gennesaret, if not actually upon it. {DA 252.1}



Capernaum itself was well adapted to be the center of the Saviour's work. Being on the highway from Damascus to Jerusalem and Egypt, and to the Mediterranean Sea, it was a great thoroughfare of travel. People from many lands passed through the city, or tarried for rest in their journeyings to and fro. Here Jesus could meet all nations and all ranks, the rich and great as well as the poor and lowly, and His lessons would be carried to other countries and into many households. Investigation of the prophecies would thus be excited, attention would be directed to the Saviour, and His mission would be brought before the world. {DA 252.3}




An Unnoticed Kind of Poverty

Principles of Ministering to Wealthy People

(For this study, read also: Ministry of Healing Chapter 14)

1 Timothy 6:17-19 "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;"


1. Why would rich people need help?


Revelation 3:17  "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:"


     Many people in this world mistakenly think that money can buy happiness.  They spend a life time chasing after all that glitters only to discover it to be an unsatisfying desert mirage that leaves happiness ever out of reach.  The soul hunger for goodness and truth and the God-shaped vacuum that is in all of our hearts cannot be satisfied by all the trinkets and toys that money can buy, and the spirit remains destitute of what it truly needs.  Testimonies from insiders who have grown up inside the riches and glory of Hollywood sometimes relate the realities of emptiness and suicidal ideation that goes on behind the scenes. 


     But this is a type of poverty that goes unnoticed. Few would sympathize with those who seem to have everything.  Not many realize that dissatisfaction, unhappiness and depression are real risks for those who are wealthy in the things of this world.  But if you understand it, and also realize that this short life is not all there is for us humans, you will see that we should certainly sympathize with those who have a form of superficial riches without hope of eternal life. 


     More than sympathize, we should seek to reach them. As Ellen White so eloquently describes, efforts need to be made for the rich and “God is seeking souls high as well as low.”


     Jesus expressly indicated that it is difficult for the rich to enter heaven. Though we often think of ministry to the poor, which is certainly a worthy goal, we should not forget that it is prosperity that is most dangerous spiritually. 


2. What methods can we use to reach the wealthy? What kind of programs?


     Health ministry is ideal for ministering to all types of people, including those who are materially wealthy.  As previously described, working for the body to reach the soul is one of the most effective methods there is. Through demonstrating caring for people’s health as Christ did you can win people’s friendship and confidence which will open doors of opportunity to share about spiritual things in a non-threatening way. 


     Those who have material riches are often interested in their health and can become interested in personal health ministry or health programs.

     Personal effort, massage/hydrotherapy, home visitation, exercise and nutrition counseling, programs for the elderly


     Get them out into nature enjoying the beautiful scenery and fresh air, as well as a little gardening work and manual labor outdoors. Many of them have spent their lives indoors pouring over computers and fighting stress.  Their minds and bodies are imbalanced through the overtaxing of the brain and lack of use of the muscles.  The humbling work outside can help to restore the spirit and help them find true joy and freedom from stress.

     Stay-in patient health programs are quite suitable for them, it is required that it is more expensive in order to have nicer facilities, doctor, etc. and church programs can be done for the poor families who cannot afford the more expensive stays (except with sponsorship and fundraising, which can also be done).



     At a program like this which I worked with in Taiwan we had a steady stream of people which included CEOs of Taiwan companies, Taiwan government officials, Hong Kong businessmen, etc.  Multiple individuals came to stay in the program to improve their health and took the message to others. They seemed to be blessed and helped by the program and often commented positively about being inspired by it.


3 What should we be cautious of in ministry to the rich?

    We should avoid asking them for money, making any reference to hoping they will donate to us or seeking to win their favor in hopes of gaining financial support.  If they feel impressed to spontaneously give something to a health center which is in a position to legally and lawfully receive donations, it can be acceptable to receive it.  But this is an extremely sensitive matter as the trust which leads to their eternal salvation can so easily be broken if they feel that those involved in their care have ulterior motives. 


     It is the responsibility of Christian healthcare workers to trust firmly in God’s provision, while doing your best work, instead of seeking shortcuts to gain financial help through the typical ways which can so easily lead to misunderstanding and mistrust.  It would be better to refuse financial help from rich people than to either 1) cause them to doubt your Christian sincerity and unselfish care, or 2) put yourself in a position in which you feel more obligated to please some “rich people” than God in what you do and say because they provide a large amount of your resources.  Such things can cause you to quickly loose God’s blessing, which will lead to the ultimate downfall of the institution.

     Sometimes wealthy people can be more difficult to please, as well as more likely to sue. We must be aware of the need to be careful of all legal aspects, but we do never fear any human being because of this type of thing.  We do the best we can and trust our ministry to God’s protecting care.  We worship God – who is richer than any man or woman and holds the power of eternal life and death.

     We must have a high level of professionalism if you will have a program that serves them, as they are often aware of scientific and medical standards, which are important.


     But at the same time, we must balance this by avoiding caring too much about the ways of the world, using man’s wisdom which glorifies man’s accomplishments instead of doing simple, natural methods which get people in touch with nature and bring glory God.  Sometimes this can be difficult for them to accept at first, but many of them will begin to understand when they see the benefits of health which come – just as the story of Naaman demonstrates.


     We must avoid giving them preference over other clients. Treat all people with respect and dignity, and do not perpetuate the false societal ideas that personal worth can be measured by money. Those kinds of ideas are not in harmony with God’s spirit and could set them up for unnecessary loss of self-worth or even suicide if they ever run into tragedy.  We must gently guide them into higher ideas, and the true understanding that God human worth is measured by God’s love for man, and his being created in God’s image.


     James 2:2 clearly outlines the principle of treating all people with equal respect; “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?


5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? 8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”


      Ministry to wealthy or famous members of society must always be selfless, for the benefit of those who may loose their souls without your help.  We should never seek to gain personally from interaction with them, such as to gain an element of fame, glory or even admiring their riches.  The story of Gehazi is a serious warning of this exact type of thing.  Because different aspects of the story is so pertinent to this topic, I will include the entire chapter from 2 Kings 5 here;



1 “Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. 2 And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife. 3 And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.

4 And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel. 5 And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. 6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.


7 And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me. 8 And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.


9 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. 11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.


12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?


14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. 15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.


16 But he said, As the Lord liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.  17 And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the Lord. 18 In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing. 19 And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.


20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. 21 So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well?


22 And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments. 23 And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him. 24 And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.


25 But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither. 26 And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? 27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.”



4. Other thoughts about ministry to wealthy people;

  They are just as in need of sincerity and caring as anyone else, our message needs to touch the heart.



     They need to learn to reach beyond themselves, to realize what the responsibility of riches involves.  They should be gently brought to understand the importance of their responsibility to share with those in need.  This will bring true satisfaction and joy into their lives which can never be attained through self-seeking or hoarding blessings.  But never connect any solicitations for donations to such a message or you will loose respect and trust and risk the loss of their salvation.


     God is able to reach the hearts of rich men and women.  The greatest men on earth are not beyond the power of a wonder-working God.


     Biblical examples of rich people Jesus med include Zacheus, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea

     We need to keep in mind that those who are rich in the things of this world are not immune to tragedy.  Doctors and medical students have a higher rate of suicide than some others.  Many rich people may fall from their heights due to problems caused by substance abuse, scandals, personal difficulties or financial loss at some point in life.

     Also, just because people look rich and successful does not mean that they feel secure or happy, or that they are not facing serious battles and impending difficulties in their lives.  Many people who are rich and successful are chasing a life long need to prove themselves “worthy” because of deep-seeded self-doubts instilled by abusive or neglectful parents, or may have serious difficulties in their personal relationships which are serious barriers to happiness. 


     Besides this, just as Jesus said in Mark 8:36 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”  Those who are striving to gain the whole world but loosing out on eternity, have not found true riches.   


     For all of these reasons, and more, we want to minister to wealthy people with the same kind of Christian compassion and mercy that we show to those who are poor or have already fallen into more obvious tragedy or difficulty.


     The life-changing message of temperance and values which can be implanted into the heart by the indwelling of Christ’s spirit is the very thing that many rich people are missing, which their lives will be empty without.  It is the very most important insurance policy that they could get to help them avoid multiple serious problems which the sinful heart can get them into – such as corruption scandals, sexual temptations and substance addictions.



Ellen White Quotes:


Who was Ellen White? ; Ellen White named by Smithsonian among the 100 most significant Americans of all time , EGW Link 2



Labor for the Wealthy

Those who will exercise their God-given ability for the conversion to the truth of the intellectual, the refined, and the world-absorbed wealthy class, are doing a good and essential work. Many look upon this class as hopeless, and they do little to open the eyes of those who, blinded and dazed by the power of Satan, have lost eternity out of their reckoning. But here is a field of labor that should not be neglected. These persons are stewards to whom God has committed important trusts. We should come close to this class, for I know that many of them are soul burdened; they long for something, they know not what. {Medical Ministry 243.3}

If saved to Jesus Christ, they will be useful agents in the hands of God to communicate the light to others. If converted to the truth, they will have a special burden to draw other souls of this neglected class to the light. They will feel that a dispensation of the gospel is committed to them for those who have made the world their god. They need the awakening which the Holy Spirit of God can give them, and those who have an experimental knowledge of the truth are under obligation to God to communicate the precious light to the world-absorbed, world-loving soul. {Medical Ministry 243.4}

Some will be convicted and will heed the words spoken to them in love and tenderness. They will acknowledge that the truth is the very thing they need to set them free from the slavery of sin and the bondage of worldly principles. There are opened before them themes of thought, fields for action, that they had never comprehend. { Medical Ministry 244.1}

In Jesus the Redeemer they discern infinite wisdom, infinite justice, infinite mercy--depths, heights, lengths, and breadths of love which passeth knowledge. Beholding the perfection of Christ's character, contemplating His mission, His love, His grace, His truth, they are charmed; the great want of the soul is met, and they will say with the psalmist, "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness." The divine object of faith and love they see to be Jesus Christ; with them the love of the world, the worshiping of earthly treasures, has come to an end. . . . { Medical Ministry 244.2}

When Your Up Against a Wall

Intro

Barriers We May Face in Doing This Work

(For this study, read also: Ministry of Healing, Chapter 37)

     1. What kind of problems do we face with health evangelism?

     ● Difficulty making contacts with home visitation
     ● Difficult to get people to attend church programs or seminars
     ● Misunderstanding, distrust or prejudice against the church, because it is an unknown organization to them.
     ● Resistance to the message about health, unwillingness to change
     ● Churches sometimes seem cold, lack of enthusiasm, don’t seem to notice or welcome visitors, unwilling to join activities.
     ● Criticism, gossip and unexplained problems that come up against those who are trying to work for God.
     ● Our own discouragement, such as when people seem unwilling to hear the message, etc.
~
     2. Possible solutions to difficulty making contacts with home visitation efforts;
     People may not welcome you at the door because they don’t know you, or don’t like to receive visitors.
     Door to door work is still a good way to reach people, but it’s even better to find some other way to make a contact first, such as by getting to know people at community activities first, then respond to home visits by permission for those who are interested.
     One example of this is too have a booth at market night or flee market events where you can get to know people and get them to sign up for home visitation there.
     Another good way is to have seminars about health and have people sign up for home visitation at the seminar.
     3. Possible solutions to difficulty getting people to attend church programs or seminars

     It may be due to not enough advertizing.  So, be sure to develop good pamphlets and try to make adequate advertising efforts.

     People can say they are too busy to come. Be respectful and don’t force people if they feel they are too busy or not interested.  But sometimes this is also because they don’t feel they know you or don’t have a felt need for programs about health.  Since they do not feel sick, they might not realize that their health is actually at risk due to lifestyle, etc.

     If you do something that involves a physical and personal experience involving health – such as providing free blood pressure checks or chair massage (if you are qualified to do those things), it can get people to thinking about their health. Then, while their interest is peaked, offer to have them sign up for a health program or personal visitation.

     4. Misunderstanding, distrust or prejudice against the church, because it is an unknown organization to them.
     Look for opportunities to form relationships with people in the community, including with neighbors.
     Join community activities, do community service, let people hear about our church.
     The health work itself, in which we care for people’s health issues first before sharing the gospel message – helps to break down prejudice and build trust much better than if you just try to approach people with questions of a spiritual nature first.
     5. Resistance to the message about health, unwillingness to change
     Consider the reasons for people being unwilling to listen to our message, or change their lifestyle. Sometimes it has to do with how it is presented.   If the health message is just presented as dry information, or as an attempt for someone to gain professional glory, it will not stimulate information.
     Also consider if the views presented were extreme and unreasonable, or balanced and helpful. Sometimes if the message is presented in an extreme or unreasonable way it will turn people off.
     But if the message is shared with compassion, attempts to reach them on a personal level and show loving concern for them, as well as engage them by seeking to get them responding verbally to the topic being presented... they will be much more likely to develop interest!
     Adjust your expectations! Sometimes people need exposure to a topic multiple times before it sinks in or starts to spark an interest.  Don’t expect people to instantly respond if it’s their first time hearing about something!
     As human beings we are too focused on external results so that we can have hard data to report about the number of people who have responded to the program by changing. But this approach can actually turn people off because we make them feel pressured into doing things they aren’t ready for- and as a result the changes are not lasting.
     So,  instead of trying to force people to change too quickly or feeling discouraged if they don’t make a drastic change immediately – just encourage any interest people have toward health or lifestyle change topics.
     Just as in nature growth is slow and imperceptible, so also with people – it is more natural and lasting to let them grow a little at a time as they are ready to accept the message we are sharing.
     People need a lot of patience, love and encouragement in order to grow and make changes.
     With many people, especially those who have not heard the message before, we are planting seeds which may spring up quickly or may not sprout and grow until many years after it was planted.
     And just as you cannot force a seed to grow, you cannot force people to change.  Seed of the message can only grow when nurtured by the moisture of kindness, love and patience, as well as the sunshine of friendship and cheerful humor!
     It can also be good to study behavior change methods in order to understand the different stages people go through when thinking about and preparing to make changes.
     Sometimes failure to have results that make lasting changes for people have to do with lack of follow up. Be sure to follow up on efforts that have been made.  Record people’s names, divide the name list among program helpers for continued support or follow up through emails, calls or visitation as they accept (start this based on your relationship with them that was developed in person and avoid coming across as a pushy salesman).
     Another good way to follow up after lifestyle programs is with periodic fellowship meals, small support groups, continued cooking classes, etc.

     6. Churches sometimes seem cold, lack of enthusiasm, don’t seem to notice or welcome visitors, unwilling to join activities. 
     Example of a lady that I was supporting through her effort to stop smoking.  When invited to church, no one seemed to notice or welcome her – just walked right past her.

     Instead of being frustrated with the church members or giving them verbal reprimands, teach them to love by ministering to them with the love of Christ!

     Also understand that in many cases it has to do with the fact that they have not received training for doing ministry.  Many people may feel shy about approaching visitors and don’t feel like they would know what to say.
     Another issue is that people need to have their own health ministered to first and experience things such as hydrotherapy, massage, healthful food demonstrations, etc. before they can catch the “vision” for how good it is and why we want to share this with others.  Start by serving them, praying for them, doing simple natural remedies for them and letting them feel first hand the wonderful blessing of the natural remedies or service (then they may start to feel inspired about it). (NOTE; always follow recommended precautions, in order to avoid causing someone to have a negative experience through uncomfortable side effects).

     For doing health ministry, the first work must be for our own church members.  We must minister to the health needs of the local church, and let them feel genuine love and care that comes through the health ministry.  This will soften many hearts and bring a warmer, friendlier atmosphere into the church.

     Health workers may also do training seminars to help the church members learn how to minister to others through simple means also.  This will help to prepare the church to do service for the community and help provide you with workers to support ongoing programs.
     Teach church members the importance of greeting visitors, and how to so warmly with a handshake and nice smile.  Demonstrate it yourself by always warmly greeting the church members.
     Be patient with church members and work among them gently, instead of forcefully.  Often the lack of response may just be because of human weaknesses and limitations such as that they are too busy or exhausted, or don’t feel like they know how to help, rather than because they don’t want to help.
     Once again – we should also adjust our expectations.  Do not expect or hope for grand and large programs every time.  Do not worry if your activity turns out to be small, often this type of things will be that way.  Jesus often spoke to or worked with just one person, and that person in turn influenced others.

     7. Criticism, gossip and unexplained problems that come up against those who are trying to work for God.

     Just as in heaven, where Satan’s jealousy and criticism caused division, he is using the same tactics today.  He is especially unhappy to see the health and gospel work go forward, so often will respond by creating problems among the members.

     Resist the urge to become angry and defend yourself when criticized, but try to stay calm and trust that the Lord will make your program a success regardless of Satan’s efforts to stop it.

     Remember that diamonds are made under pressure!

     1 Corinthians 4: 12-13 teaches;  “...when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate.”

     People who have tried to do health and evangelism work also sometimes speaks of unexplained problems that come up.  Often Satan and his angels attempt to stop this kind of work. We will sometimes feel the ire of the evil one when we try to work against him.  But, nothing can stop the Gospel of Christ’s love for humanity, or the health work that He started.

     Throughout the history of the great controversy on Earth Satan has constantly worked against God’s purposes, but he has not been able to stop their progress forward. We must not be afraid!

     A good example is the children of Israel in desert being led through the red sea.  God’s work always progresses against opposition.

     We can move forward with undaunted courage and God will part the waters before us!

     8. How to avoid discouragement related to doing health ministry work.

     Recognizing our own weakness; God calls imperfect people into His service- don’t be discouraged when you recognize your own weakness.

     God can work much more effectively through someone who realizes their own weakness and depends upon Him for help and strength, than He can through people who are proud, self-righteous or arrogant.

     God says that he dwells with those who are humble.  His strength is made perfect in weakness because those who feel their own inadequacy will come to Him for help – but those who think highly of themselves and their abilities don’t feel their need for God and therefore don’t work in cooperation with God.

     Satan tries to influence God’s workers through oppressing us with dark feelings.  God can help us work through these feelings and find encouragement again.

     Try to focus on the little things that go right instead of worrying about things that don’t go right!

     With God’s help we can learn how to have stable moods and a consistent contentment of heart.  We can learn a little at a time how to maintain calm even under pressure.
     Instead of thinking about the barriers we face, focus on God’s power and His ability to provide for our needs!
     Develop a personal friendship with Jesus and talk to Him as your best friend- let your heart turn to Him any time that you are in need and have a situation you are concerned about!
     For me personally, I often feel that there’s no way I can be prepared well enough for the things I try to do – but somehow things come together with God’s help.  Often help comes up that you didn’t even plan for- which shows you that God knows your need and is able to provide for everything that you need!
     Depend on God to help, because the calling to do this work is from Him.
     Remember Ellen White’s beautiful and timeless words;

“Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.”
     Your extremity is when you are at your limit.  This means that at the very moment you think that you have no way to fix a problem - God will come through for you!
     Though the Lord may be saying now, “Oh ye of little faith!” but if you learn to cherish a spirit of courage, hope, love and perseverance – you will see that God will reward your faith!
     Mortal man is the channel of communication through which God communicates the Gospel message of His love to mankind, because people can identify with us and see the transformation that has been worked in our lives, which will be an encouragement to them.

     Be sure to keep a healthy body too.  Exercise, water, fresh air, sunshine, good nutrition with fruits, vegetables, fiber, nuts, and Omega 3 fatty acids all will help boost your happiness and courage from day to day!  A study about rats showed that those who ate Omega 3 fatty acids did not get frustrated and discouraged as easily with difficult tasks as those who did not eat them.

     Keep a song in your heart!  Singing can really help -  even if you don’t know how to carry a tune, if you just remember a cheering or encouraging song or hymn in your mind, by humming or whistling, it will help you to keep a spring in your step and a happy heart!
Ellen White Quotes: Who was Ellen White? ; Ellen White named by Smithsonian among the 100 most significant Americans of all time , EGW Link 2

In Excellent Company
The spirit of persecution will not be excited against those who have no connection with God, and so have no moral strength. It will be aroused against the faithful ones, who make no concessions to the world and will not be swayed by its opinions, its favor, or its opposition. A religion that bears a living testimony in favor of holiness, and that rebukes pride, selfishness, avarice, and fashionable sins, will be hated by the world and by superficial Christians. . . . When you suffer reproach and persecution you are in excellent company; for Jesus endured it all, and much more. If you are faithful sentinels for God, these things are a compliment to you. It is the heroic souls, who will be true if they stand alone, who will win the imperishable crown.--Y.I., May 28, 1884. {MM 256.5}

Gossip

There are some, both men and women, who gossip more than they pray. They have not clear spiritual discernment. They are far from God. When they talk with the patients, their attitude seems to say, Report and we will report it. {MM 212.4}

Helpers who follow this course are to be labored with and reproved. And if they refuse to change their course, let them be dismissed. If they are allowed to continue in the institution, they will bring about a condition of things that will separate the Lord from the institution. It is far better to send away the rebel workers than to shut the Lord out of the institution. Let the helpers, in whatever department they work, be discreet. If they repeat all they hear and talk of all they see, they will be a curse to the institution. There are those who find delight in telling things to create a sensation. This is demoralizing to an institution, and should not receive the least countenance.--Letter 30, 1887. {MM 212.5}

Teaching Extreme Views

It is the desire and plan of Satan to bring in among us those who will go to great extremes--people of narrow minds, who are critical and sharp, and very tenacious in holding their own conceptions of what the truth means. They will be exacting, and will seek to enforce rigorous duties, and go to great lengths in matters of minor importance, while they neglect the weightier matters of the law--judgment and mercy and the love of God. Through the work of a few of this class of persons, the whole body of Sabbath keepers will be designated as bigoted, pharisaical, and fanatical. The work of the truth, because of these workers, will be thought to be unworthy of notice.--R.H., May 29, 1888. {MM 269.2}


“The Invitation”
The Elder Brother of our race is by the eternal throne. He looks upon every soul who is turning his face toward Him as the Saviour. He knows by experience what are the weaknesses of humanity, what are our wants, and where lies the strength of our temptations; for He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. He is watching over you, trembling child of God. Are you tempted? He will deliver. Are you weak? He will strengthen. Are you ignorant? He will enlighten. Are you wounded? He will heal. The Lord "telleth the number of the stars;" and yet "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." Ps. 147:4, 3. "Come unto Me," is His invitation. Whatever your anxieties and trials, spread out your case before the Lord. Your spirit will be braced for endurance. The way will be opened for you to disentangle yourself from embarrassment and difficulty. The weaker and more helpless you know yourself to be, the stronger will you become in His strength. The heavier your burdens, the more blessed the rest in casting them upon the Burden Bearer. The rest that Christ offers depends upon conditions, but these conditions are plainly specified. They are those with which all can comply. He tells us just how His rest is to be found. {DA 329.1}