WHY SHOULD WE HAVE A HEALTH MINISTRY IN OUR CHURCH?
We have all learned through our Christian upbringing that Christ's ministry is to the whole person. As Christ cared for the total person and healed people of their sins (spiritually), their broken bodies (physically) and their fears (emotionally), the church was called in part to continue that care.
Throughout the Gospels there is abundant evidence of His healing ministry. In the New Testament, His disciples continued this healing ministry to the world as part of their sharing of the Word. The early churches became a major influence in taking care of the person's spiritual, emotional and physical needs. Across the centuries, churches provided various caring ministries and centers for respite, often including hospitals, missions, and in-home care, providing services that demonstrated the love of God. However, over the last few centuries a separation occurred; the medical community and the Church distanced themselves from each other and the church was left to care for only the spiritual needs of its people.
Today's health care has become increasingly segmented and complex, leaving many unmet needs for many of God's people. In the past few decades, there has been a reawakening of the concept of the interrelationship between physical, emotional and spiritual well-being that encompasses the concept of whole person health. Within the past 10 years, health professions and churches have recognized these unmet needs. As a result, health ministry programs (also called parish nursing), designed to facilitate the integration of 'traditional' health care with spiritual care, are thriving in over 10,000 churches around the U.S., Australia, and Asia.
Health ministry combines nursing, other health care professionals, and faith ministry to help individuals of all ages with their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. This ministry works closely with pastors and members of the congregation to develop a parish-based health ministry to provide access, resources, consultation and education. The day-to-day activities of such a ministry vary from program to program, and are tailored to meet the needs of the individual parish community as well as tap into the strengths of the members of the health ministry team.
WHAT A HEALTH MINISTRY IS NOT.....
A substitute for priests. A health ministry works in collaboration with the pastoral team in their caring ministry.
A source for medical advice. A health ministry is a source for understanding medical and/or health issues, as well as assisting with the integration of health concerns into a healthy life plan.
Home health care service. Health ministry members do not change dressings or manage/adminsiter medications, but can facilitate access to community services and provide education abour self-care related to these needs.
Social service case management. A health ministry can assist in promoting well-being or crisis resolution through referrals.
Mental health counseling. A health ministry can provide guidance about the process of accessing needed emotional and mental health services in the community.
WHAT ARE THE KEY PRINCIPLES OF A HEALTH MINISTRY?
Partnership is at the foundation of a health ministry. Our lives and environments are so complex that no one person can know everything, or ever truly be independent. In order to be healthy and successful, we must work together and share our gifts. Everyone's gifts are important in some way to help themselves and others to become healthy in mind, body and spirit. The health ministry involves linking people with unique gifts as well as organizations and individuals in the community with our SAC family in order to meet their needs. Confidentiality is of utmost importance. Just as it is in the doctor's office, HIPAA regulations addressing privacy of health information applies to the health ministry.
Empowerment of the individual and family to make your own decisions is also a key principle of the health ministry. Through information, support, connections, guidance and 'walking alongside' , the health ministry hopes to empower our church family to make your own decisions about how to improve your physical, emotional and spiritual fitness. We believe that it is the right and responsibility to make your own determination about how to become, and stay health in all aspects of your lives.