By Rick Mautz

A few years ago I provided the “health thought” for an evangelistic series in our area where the evangelist said emphatically, “The health message is the right arm of the gospel.” He then told me I had only five minutes to present this health nugget. If that is our idea of health ministry, it’s not a very effective aid to evangelism.

True health ministry should not just be a way to get people to come to a Bible study. It is not like a sale item that brings customers into the store. Instead of looking for ways to build bridges between health programs and evangelism, we should look at health ministry itself as evangelism.

Sharing who God is—reflecting Him—is the best form of evangelism. In the words of Ellen G. White, “God chose His Son to be His representative on earth; even so has Christ chosen us to represent His character,” (Medical Ministry, p. 23). She also said, “The world needs today what it needed over two thousand years ago—a revelation of Christ” (Ministry of Health, p. 143).

Can we do any better evangelism than doing what Jesus did—reflecting the character of God through relieving suffer- ing and helping people reach personal health and wellness?

It starts with truly loving people and meeting their needs. Everyone needs good health. But when health programs are organized, we must realize that information alone seldom brings change. Participants might do well during the program, but after it is over, they often experience difficulty as they try to implement changes.

That’s when they need church support the most, and when, unfortunately, it is often strangely absent. We could do so much good if we were available to listen, to support goals, and to provide accountability—even by phone.

While information is important, ongoing support is vital. We must move beyond programs and become the “personal support church” that will light the world with God’s glory. To effectively meet this need, our members should have training to develop the skills of listening, asking good questions, and providing useful insights—including helping people set long- and short-term goals. This support will give participants greater success, and it also demonstrates attributes of God’s character.

People want to be a part of a church that demonstrates this type of selfless love and support. They come because they see Jesus reflected. That is also why they stay. They also discover the doctrines that most perfectly reflect the person of Christ.

Health ministry is a powerful part of evangelism, but only if we are there when people need us most. I believe our health emphasis will play a vital role in this last day mission, but it will require members who are willing to take the time to listen and to show Jesus to people—the only version of Jesus some may ever see.

To learn more about training for your church, go to and make plans to attend a health summit in Breckenridge, October 13-16, where the emphasis will be on training to provide support for those with diabetes. For more information on the summit, go to

–Rick Mautz is RMC health director.