Inspiration for Health Ministry, by LEM

Following After the Lamb

 Making a Personal Commitment to Ministry Committing to Follow in Christ’s Footsteps

(For this study, read also: Ministry of Healing Chapter 40)


1. Hearing the Savior’s call 

   Christ asked Peter 3 times “Do you love Me? Feed my lambs,”  Only the service of love is of value in God’s sight.

   Christ is asking each one of us “Do you love me?”  He asks us “Feed my sheep.”

   So many people in the world need our care and kindness. It is a work that is not easy, but worth it because working for people is the most fulfilling type of work, and it will bring us joy to have those we have worked for with us in heaven, it will be a treasure for eternity.

2. Growing up into Christ
   When we follow Jesus it will help us to grow and mature spiritually, becoming like him. The reason many people do not grow up in Christ is because they do not go on to do the work for souls.

   Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.  He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  John 12: 24-25

   Christ taught us to learn self-sacrificing love:

    A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. Jn 13:34

 

 Christ’s New Commandment – it is different from “Love God supremely” and “Love your neighbor” because those were not new- Jesus quoted them from the old testament and said they were like a summary of the old testament, in a way. Let’s look at the verse;

 

   "One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him,  "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law ?" And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' (Deuteronomy 6:5)  "This is the great and foremost commandment.  "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' (Leviticus 19:18)  "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:35-40

 

   What was different about this new one?? 

 

   It is to love as He loved us.  His love is more than loving others as we love our selves, it is loving sacrificially, or giving ones lives for others. 

 

   In the Christian life we go through a maturity process.  1) First we fear and love God, 2) then we learn to do service to others as an expression of our faith, and finally 3) we become more and more filled with Christ love until we are willing to serve others because of a heart full of love, even to the point that we are willing to make sacrifices.


   It is like Christ fulfilled (Matthew 5:17), or finished the law in this way- by putting the penacle on this pyramid (new covenant goal is to have law written in our hearts, to become like Christ- to become mature in our faith!).  Just as it says in Romans 10:4, Christ is the “end” or “telos” of the law- that means goal. This is the highest state of maturity we may reach, when we come to love others in the way that Christ loved them.

 

   This process is seen also in the old and new testaments.  In the old testament the people were just barely out of Egypt, and kept God’s laws perhaps out of fear of punishment – more like a child perhaps.  But, God hopes that as we mature in Him we will learn to love from our hearts- love that overcomes selfishness and is self-sacrificing. Then we will be like Christ.


3. Following in Christ’s footsteps

   "If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also ; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” John 12:24.

   Some hardship, difficulty, brings in us the transformation into Christ’s image.

  The Road to Emmaus experience; HAVE YOU HAD IT? – (Luke 24:13-35) Having your heart burn within you, becoming inspired with the kind of holy excitement from knowing Christ?  That’s what made them run all the way back to Jerusalem!


4. Changing the World

    Upper Room Experience- Christ’s disciples after the Holy Spirit came on them, after that they “turned the world upside down,” really spread the gospel to the whole world in their generation Paul, Peter, and others who evangelized the world. Catching the vision of the apostles- desire to finish the end time work. 

  ”The Heartbeat of our Mission” Steve Green (Mission Song)

  We listened to this song over and over on the way to the airport when I was going on a mission trip to Honduras with a group of enthusiastic young people.  There’s nothing like the joy of serving the Lord and knowing he is with you.

  Circle prayer, inviting Christ to be among you and allowing the Holy Spirit to inspire you.

  But it doesn’t take a group.  Even just one person can change the world.  Jesus proved that, he was only one person and faced constant opposition in his work.

  Think about your own life- What can you do for God, with God?  Ask yourself…

… How can I make this world a better place?


   I invite you to make a commitment, pray in your heart and ask God to help you make a difference in this world.  


   Through seeking to bless others we ourselves will receive the greatest blessing and benefit.  While others spend their lives chasing glitter and glory but end up empty and in despair, we can always have a deep sense of satisfaction and joy in living connected to God and serving man.


  May God be with you!


Ellen White Quotes; 

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

What, then, is the example that we are to set to the world? We are to do the same work that the great Medical Missionary undertook in our behalf. We are to follow the path of self-sacrifice trodden by Christ. {MM 20.3}


Follow the Master
God's servants who are doing genuine medical missionary work have a most solemn, sacred responsibility resting upon them to keep in view Christ's life of unselfish service. They should turn their eyes from everything else, and look unto Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of their faith. He is the Source of all light, the Fountain of all heaven's blessings. To every medical missionary worker I am instructed to say, Follow your Leader. His is the way, the truth, the light, the life. He is the One whose example we as true medical missionaries must follow. {MM 21.4}

In this age of diseased piety and perverted principle, those who are converted in life and practice will reveal a healthy and influential spirituality. Those who have a knowledge of the truth as it is revealed in God's word must now come to the front. My brethren, God requires this of you. Every jot of your influence is now to be used on the right side. All are now to learn how to stand in defense of truth that is worthy of acceptance. Those who are endeavoring to live the Christ life must call things by the right name, and stand in defense of the truth as it is in Jesus. {MM 22.1}


Getting ‘Earthquake Ready’

The Importance of Character Building 

(For this study, read also: Ministry of Healing Chapter 42)


1. Why is it important to build character when preparing to do this work?


   Character building is similar to building a house. Christ told the story about the builder who built on sand - then the house fell when the storm came.  The sand represents principles that are shifting and unstable.  Self-focus, seeking for glory or to benefit ones self are all shifting and unstable foundations upon which to work. Emotional excitement as well.  But even if we have all the right reasons, our human powers are limited and finite.  Trusting in our own ability or professionalism is also a recipe for failure. 


   We must seek help from Christ and let our trust in him be the solid rock foundation upon which we rest our ambitions, anxieties and efforts in health ministry.


   The 2010 earthquake in Haiti, more than 200,000 people were killed, and it was discovered that a reason for many of the deaths was related to building methods. Issues like too much sand mixed into the mortar of concrete block buildings and inadequate use of rebar played a role.  


   The earthquake was the test.  Prior to the earthquake everything looked fine, but the weaknesses were revealed when the difficulty came. The same is true with character building.   It may look like we are doing the same as others on the outside, but God can see if we are doing solid work and building with quality materials that will stand the test. “The shaking time,” the end times will shake us to the very core of our being.


   “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.”  1 Corinthians 3:11-13, KJV.


   We do not have the strength, or wisdom to do this all alone, but if we stay close to Jesus, who is our building contractor and also supplies the materials and helps with the labor, we will grow firm and strong in him.


   Sand also reminds of the desert mirage, a false shimmer that looks like water but leaves you thirsty, no matter how long and hard you chase after it. We should not be fascinated by the false shimmer and glitter of the things worldly pleasures which hold empty promises of happiness.  And if our souls are thirsty for the cool waters of God’s love we will not have the strength to work for him effectively.


  Helping people to begin seeking “The best things in life” page 198- men and women have hardly begun to understand the true object of life, they are attracted by glitter and show. Life’s best things- simplicity, honesty, truthfulness, purity, integrity- cannot be bought or sold… (these simple, hardy principles are what we should include in our work- they are the values which are a good solid foundation for our character)



2. How can we develop character so that we can reveal Christ, so that we can work as He worked?

  Our spiritual life is where we come close to God, speaking with him, reading his words, praying will give us the power and inspiration to work for him. Developing a personal friendship with him and receiving the true love which he longs to give us, is our source of power. We can hold communion with God, He will help us.

   We can develop a strong spiritual character through beholding Christ. A little at a time we will come to reflect what we see in him, because it’s so inspiring. 

   In serving others we will grow spiritually. Only in service to others can true happiness be found.  Only those who love to work will find the true joy of life.

   Maintaining good health can is part of our character development, as well as enable us to better serve others.  The mind, body and spirit are all connected.



3. What is the goal of character development?


  “The goal of reform is the highest development of mind, body and spirit.”  

  And for health ministry, you can accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible.  We may not be able to see the results here on Earth, but we can have the calm assurance that our works are recorded in heaven and are having a quietly uplifting influence on Earth.  

"I am the vine, you are the branches ; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing . John 15:5


    To reflect the likeness of Jesus is kind of like being a telescope focusing on Him, it allows people to see a glimpse of Him and the kingdom of heaven through us, which otherwise seems far away. To become like Christ allows us to reflect His image and reveal him to people on earth.


The perfect telescope has perfect optics inside.  Little flaws are the things which dim the vision and make it harder to see through.  Jesus can help us purify and cleanse these things so we give the world a clearer view of him.


   The more perfect we are, the more we are like Christ. But we don’t need to wait until we are perfect to start working for him.  He calls us to get started reaching out to others and serving him from the beginning of our walk with him, it’s the only way to gain strength.  The challenges we face in working for him are part of what helps to purify us.


Things to think about:

    - What is my goal in life?  

    - Am I preparing for Jesus soon return?  

    - How can I use health ministry to help people learn about a loving God?


Ellen White Quotes;

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

Building on the Rock

Christ illustrated character building by a house built on a rock, against which storm and tempest were powerless, and the house built on the sand, which was swept away. We are living in perilous times. Amidst the changing scenes, with heresy and false doctrines coming in that will test the faith of all, the house built on the solid rock cannot be shaken. But when storm and tempest come, the house built on the sand will fall, and great will be the fall of it. {MM 87.1}

Let us take heed, then, how we build. Let no one build unwisely. The word of God is our only foundation. Every semblance of error will come upon us. Some of these errors will be very specious and attractive, but if received, they would remove the pillars of the foundation that Christ has established and set up a structure of man's building. There are those who seeing, see not, and hearing, hear not, and under Satan's guidance they prepare false foundations for human minds. {MM 87.2}




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}