It was a startling command to those who first heard it from the lips of Jesus: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone,” Mark 16:15 NLT. What did the disciples initially think when Jesus gave them this invitation? Likely they experienced the same emotions that we have when we consider our personal response to the Great Commission. We want to be obedient to this command of Christ. We want to have a part in leading others to the feet of Jesus. We want to experience personally the joy of seeing someone in the Kingdom who will say to us, “Thank you for inviting me here!” Yet, when we take personal inventory of our abilities, we’re not sure we are able to teach others the Bible truths as trained and gifted evangelists do. The encouraging reality is that reaching the world for Christ demands many different approaches. A recent community event supported by the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference illustrates this truth.
Ellen White wrote, “I have been instructed by my guide that not only should those who believe the truth practice health reform, but they should also teach it diligently to others; for it will be an agency through which the truth can be presented to the attention of unbelievers,” Letter 1, 1875, in Evangelism, p. 514. Recently, a diverse group of church members from middle Tennessee responded to Ellen White’s invitation. Early Friday morning, October 19, 2018, two dozen motivated adults and youth gathered at Four Corners Bulk Food & Deli in Morrison, Tennessee. This was not the ordinary venue to hold a NEWSTART health expo. Instead, it was an intentional focus, a first in Warren County, Tennessee, designed to reach into the sizable Amish community in the area. Many parts of rural Kentucky and Tennessee have Amish communities, and quite often our Amish friends are challenged in the area of practicing good health habits. The reasons for this include an absence of news sources in their community that would allow them to be knowledgeable in the areas of preventative disease and lifestyle choices. Two church members, Darla Wolf and Erin White, recognized this need and saw an opportunity to respond to the Great Commission.
Darla and Erin recruited willing volunteers to offer health screening procedures at each of the eight screening booths. Providing additional support were several medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, a massage therapist, an architect, young people ages 10 to 18, homemakers, a carpenter, a teacher, a social worker, and several from other occupational backgrounds, some of whom traveled more than a hundred miles to be present. The common bond among this diverse group of health evangelists was a shared commitment and a passionate desire to serve by attractively communicating the Adventist health message.
Upon completion of the various health screenings, individuals were referred to the health-counseling booth where licensed physicians interpreted their Health Age Report. The physicians also reviewed each personal health record, summarized their results, suggested any areas where the individual might be at risk, and encouraged them with literature and information on healthy living. The several dozen attendees were receptive and thankful for the ministry extended them, and new friends were made as a result of the Expo. The church members who contributed their time to this event might never stand in front of an audience and preach, but collectively they united their unique talents for ministry, and in so doing, responded faithfully to the Great Commission.
2019 is the Year of Evangelism in the Southern Union. Our passion to win souls for the Kingdom will take many forms, one of which can be the blessing of sharing the health message with our communities.
Southern Union | March 2019