Health ministry in a local congregation is an intentional ministry focusing on both healing and health, combining the ancient traditions of the Christian community and the knowledge and tools of modern health care.
The mission given Christ's disciples is to preach, teach and heal, and the church's teaching and preaching have far exceeded her healing in this day. The church needs to be true to her calling and has the opportunity in this modern age to use many tools to bring about health and healing.
There is a significant need for the church to address health issues. The current health care system in the United States doesn't focus on health; it is primarily disease oriented. Too often it isn't a cohesive, holistic system; it's fragmented and enormously expensive. The church, on the other hand, is in the business of healing, of making whole, and of doing it in community. The local congregation is a place where health professionals and lay people can work together to keep people well, to empower and educate, to advocate for health and to care for people in need.
Health ministry is often, though not exclusively, led and coordinated by a parish nurse. Health ministry looks different from congregation to congregation, reflecting the needs, interests and resources of the faith community. Health ministry does not replicate services that already exist in the community, but rather works with community partners and resources.
Health ministry is a living witness of the healing activity of God through the local congregation, encouraging whole-person health through:
- integration of body, mind and spirit
- increased self-knowledge
- personal responsibility
- interdependence among God's people