Inspiration for Health Ministry, by LEM

When Your Up Against a Wall


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}


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}