Inspiration for Health Ministry, by LEM

The Many Faces of God’s Character

Principles of Personal Ministry

(For this study, read also: Ministry of Healing Chapter 10)


It’s important to understand and be sensitive to different kinds of people in trying to do ministry.  The science of developing social skills is very useful for ministry.  


As a preface, first we must state that the study and understanding of social skills must never be used for personal gain, such as to gain personal popularity or uplift ones self.  Many people pretend to serve as Christians – pastors, teachers, while seeking subtly to gain the admiration of people all around them.  This kind of work only gives lip service to God but the heart is seeking selfish gain.  Such service will not result in truly benefiting anyone, will not lead people to salvation.  We must connect people with the Savior by leading them to admire HIM alone through our every word and action in order to help them come into a saving relationship with God.



1. What are some communication principles we must use in dealing with people of all different types?


Basic review of communication principles

Never be pushy or forceful in trying to get people to understand things that you believe in.  Respect the freedom of choice which God grants all people.


Show kindness on your face, demonstrate body language which indicates that you care (for example, slightly leaning forward appears interested and listening, while leaning back with your arms crossed in front of you shows disinterest).


Be aware that people of different cultures, personalities and backgrounds have different levels of comfort regarding things like eye contact and personal space.


Respect the importance of the relationship-building process.  If someone doesn’t know you well, you should not expect them to be willing to share with you about the deep spiritual questions of their heart.


Be respectful of gender differences and be aware of the fact that talking about spiritual things can be easily confused with romantic interest because our spiritual life is so personal.  For this reason, it’s better to encourage same-gender ministry when possible, especially for those who are just becoming interested in knowing God for the first time.


The most effective way to deal with people of any age is through a combination of these two opposite characteristics; strength and gentleness.  Being firm but kind, assertive but not aggressive will help people to understand what you are trying to say without being offended by it.  It is persuasive without being manipulative.


         In order to win souls we must truly care about them - with love born of Heaven.  God’s love for us will be reflected to others when we receive Christ in our hearts, and learn to love those for whom He died.  True loving concern for others has the following qualities; 


1 Cor 13: 4 “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”



2. What are some differences that we should consider in dealing with people as individuals?


Differences in personalities  


     The 4 gospels seem to be written in the 4 basic personality styles that Myers-Briggs also discovered; Guardian (Matthew), Artisan (Mark), Rational (Luke), Idealist (John).   It’s good to have a basic understanding and acceptance of personality types, as well as considering that this will effect what aspect of things they have more interest in learning about.


    We can’t necessarily test people, but we can try to see where their interest lies.  Sometimes we can tell by looking at things in their life and talking to them to see clues about what kind of personality they have and what aspect of our teaching they might be most interested in.


    Some especially interested in creativity or something artistic (like cooking), some are most interested in how to care and provide for their families, others more interested in scientific learning, some are very spiritual and like to reason about deep questions in life.


    That’s another reason why health ministry is so valuable, because about 85% of people have practical personalities and will be much more interested in things which have a practical, experiential element rather than just theoretical information. 

 Differences in Readiness  

      It’s important to being able to understand where people are spiritually- whether they are ready to hear about the Bible or ready to start making changes.   

      They say, it usually takes exposure to 7 or more Christians before one will be willing to start considering and receiving studies,  We might be the first or the seventh. If the first, don’t expect them to be ready for Bible studies immediately. Consider the ripe berries concept ... some people are ready to receive the message, some are not ripe yet - it’s those ones that are ready that we are especially seeking to meet, so be respectful of those who are not ready to hear yet.

     Sometimes circumstances or difficulties in people’s lives cause them to be ready to hear about spiritual things.

Differences in Background  


     Some people have Christian background, have learned health from when they were young, some people have never heard about these things before.  Sometimes those who have heard it all before, like those who grew up in the truth and left it, are hardened against it.  But sometimes people remember and have some interest in studying about the spiritual things again, if you show genuine, personal interest in them.


Differences in Responsiveness to the Holy Spirit


     Some people naturally welcome Christian workers because their hearts are open to the Holy Spirit’s leading, but some resist the Holy Spirit.  That doesn’t mean their case is hopeless- it just may be that they are not ready yet, or they have some misunderstandings which cause emotional barriers for them.   In doing Christian work always remember the analogy of the farmer – the soil which is hard and has stones and weeds cannot receive the seed.  So, we must patiently cooperate with the Holy Spirit in doing the work of preparing the soil through patient caring and relationship building which helps to remove the stones and weeds.


Differences in condition of the mind overall health of body 


     Someone’s state of health can really effect their ability to listen or receive the gospel.   The mind, and especially the judgment/frontal lobe, can be effected by addictive substances and junk food, etc.   The frontal lobe and judgment is the area of the mind from which we develop an interest in religion and spiritual things.  Sometimes it can be very difficult to be interested in spiritual things if the mind is constantly being fed on addictive substances. For this reason, it’s best to combine the health work with attempts to reach people’s souls, because the body, mind and soul are one unit which mutually effect each other.  We must work patiently to restore people’s health condition, often, before they will be able to listen to spiritual things.


     Sometimes farmers tak many years of taking out the rocks out of the ground after every winter freeze before the plot of soil can be planted with seed.


     “Preparing the ground” for planting the seed also involves friendship building and caring through listening to their problems and sympathizing, letting them talk through some of the difficulties of the past, showing personal interest in people, etc.


3. Summary

     Don’t try to force people to understand... when you are in Christ your life will naturally influence them.   We shouldn’t expect results immediately. There is benefit in human relationships based on caring.  Only work that is done thoroughly and patiently will be lasting.  We must build a relationship based on trust- and keep the trust, continuing to care for them over time, helping them find answers to questions.  We must be truly humble and maintain a close connection with God in order to be effective at witnessing to others.


Ellen White Quotes:

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

 “Jesus saw in every soul one to whom must be given the call to His kingdom. He reached the hearts of the people by going among them as one who desired their good. He sought them in the public streets, in private houses, on the boats, in the synagogue, by the shores of the lake, and at the marriage feast. He met them at their daily vocations, and manifested an interest in their secular affairs. He carried His instruction into the household, bringing families in their own homes under the influence of His divine presence. His strong personal sympathy helped to win hearts. He often repaired to the mountains for solitary prayer, but this was a preparation for His labor among men in active life. From these seasons He came forth to relieve the sick, to instruct the ignorant, and to break the chains from the captives of Satan. {Desire of Ages 151.2}

“Philip said to Nathanael, "Come and see." He did not ask him to accept another's testimony, but to behold Christ for himself. Now that Jesus has ascended to heaven, His disciples are His representatives among men, and one of the most effective ways of winning souls to Him is in exemplifying His character in our daily life. Our influence upon others depends not so much upon what we say as upon what we are. Men may combat and defy our logic, they may resist our appeals; but a life of disinterested love is an argument they cannot gainsay. A consistent life, characterized by the meekness of Christ, is a power in the world. { Desire of Ages 141.5}

“There are many who need the ministration of loving Christian hearts. Many have gone down to ruin who might have been saved if their neighbors, common men and women, had put forth personal effort for them. Many are waiting to be personally addressed. In the very family, the neighborhood, the town, where we live, there is work for us to do as missionaries for Christ. If we are Christians, this work will be our delight. No sooner is one converted than there is born within him a desire to make known to others what a precious friend he has found in Jesus. The saving and sanctifying truth cannot be shut up in his heart. { Desire of Ages 141.3}

“All who are consecrated to God will be channels of light. God makes them His agents to communicate to others the riches of His grace. His promise is, "I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing." Ezek. 34:26.” { Desire of Ages 141.4}