"The greatest wealth is health." Poet Virgil
The General Conference Health Ministries Department designates a Sabbath in January as a Health Focus Day, where the Division Directors lead on the theme and activities for their region.
What a great way to commence a New Year with a fresh look at our personal, family, church and community wellbeing.
This article highlights valuable resources for enhancing wellbeing and hears from our Health Leaders and their aspirations for 2024. First, we begin by looking at materials to enrich our church and community outreach and our personal health.
Equipping the world Church with resources for a healthy forecast, a range of materials have been provided, which you can access at: https://www.healthministries.com/gchealthresources/
Here are a few to consider:
Emotional and mental wellbeing
- New Year article on happiness: https://www.healthministries.com/how-to-make-2024-a-happy-new-year/
- ReMinded: https://reminded.org/ and https://www.healthministries.com/introducing-reminded/
- The Lift Project: https://www.theliftproject.global/
- InStep for Life: https://www.facebook.com/InStepforLife/
- BreatheFree 2.0: https://www.breathefree2.com/
- CELEBRATIONS: https://www.healthministries.com/celebrations/
Social health, coaching and mentoring
- Youth Alive: https://youthaliveportal.org/en
- Lifestyle Coaching: https://www.healthministries.com/lifestylecoaching/
- Adventist Recovery Ministries Global: https://www.adventistrecoveryglobal.org/
- Gateway to Wholeness: https://gatewaytowholeness.com/
- Secrets of Wellness: https://www.secretsofwellness.org/
- The Complete Health Improvement Programme: https://chiphealth.com/
- Positive Choices: https://www.positivechoices.com/
- Facts with Hope (videos):https://factswithhope.org/
- EnditNow: https://www.enditnow.org/
Forbes Health did a survey to glean the most prominent health goals for 2024. *1 The data of the top 5 of 14 New Year resolutions revealed the following:
- Improve fitness 48%
- Improve finances 38%
- Improve mental health 36%
- Lose weight 34%
- Improve diet 32%
If you were to voice your health goals for this year, would any of the above feature in your top five?
I sought to ascertain their health goals for this year by connecting with health leaders, wellbeing professionals, and church members. The top five repeated responses were as follows:
- Lose weight
- Eat better
- Exercise more
- Better life balance & stress less (joint 4th place)
- Improved spiritual life
Health leaders' vision for 2024
This week I caught up with some of our Health Leaders to ascertain their goals for wellbeing this year.
Dr Beatrice Kastrati – North England Conference Health Ministries Director, highlights leaders' pivotal role in embracing the message of wholesome living. She states:
"Leaders within the church community play a crucial role in setting examples for wellbeing practices. Sharing personal health journeys, organising fitness challenges, and actively participating in health initiatives demonstrate leadership commitment to a culture of health. As churches lead by example, they become powerful catalysts for positive change within their congregations and the communities they serve.
"The integral relationship between the Health Message and the church's broader mission is unique to Seventh-day Adventists. Embracing this treasure can help grow the church and lead more people to Christ."
Setting goals for the year is another way of motivating the membership and inspiring change for better health. Brother Glenville Daniel – Health Sponsor for the Welsh Mission, shares his vision for what he wants to see accomplished in the next 11 months. He lists the following:
1) Train up local church Health Leaders and young people alike.
2) Organise a Youth Health Expo Team.
3) Monthly Fellowship walks at a local church and once a quarter at Mission level.
4) Leaders and members Health Retreat.
Daniel, a keen fitness enthusiast, shared his regular morning routine with me. "My morning routine consists of core and total body workout exercises for fitness and strength. I strongly believe in 'Perfect health depends upon perfect circulation'."
Responding to the question on how she would like to see our churches engage in Health Ministries, Dr Claudette Comerasamy, Health Ministries Consultant from Glasgow Seventh-day Adventist church, explains:
"There is greater enhancement when every church member understands God's guidance about our health. This enables them to make better health choices for their wellbeing and, as a result, be of service to others and reach out effectively to the community."
One hundred and twenty-eight years ago, E G White penned these words, which still rings true today:
"Life is a gift of God. Our bodies have been given us to use in God's service, and He desires that we shall care for and appreciate them." (The Review and Herald, December 1, 1896)
Take a moment to reflect on your most urgent health need or the most pressing change you wish to achieve for your wellbeing this year. Present your request to God, knowing He can grant your desire as you take steps to improve your wellbeing.
My prayer for us all is the petition of 3 John 2 – "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers" (NKJV).
In doing so, we will experience the promise Jesus prayed for us in John 10:10, which states:
"I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly."
This is the health forecast for 2024.