The Vision for Adventist Health Care Ministry

October 28, 2014 | Max Torkelsen

I will bring health and healing to the city. I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. Jer. 33:6

Since the early days of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, health ministry has been a part of outreach to our communities. Early medical missions work went beyond the sanitariums and included a mission boat, The Morning Star, which launched medical missionary work along the Mississippi River.

The church’s mission to heal the sick is a reflection of what Jesus taught in the New Testament and is portrayed not only in our Adventist Health hospitals (Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Ore., Tillamook Regional Medical Center in Tillamook, Ore., and Walla Walla General Hospital in Walla Walla, Wash.) but also in our local congregations that offer CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Program), smoking-cessation classes and other health-related events.

This year the North American Division (NAD) hosted a Health Ministries Summit to discuss collaboration between health and ministry leaders. Church leaders called for a renewed emphasis on blending physical and spiritual healing.1

God called us all to work together, and we will only truly touch the lives of people as Jesus did once we work collaboratively for Him with one mission and one vision.

The Vision for Adventist Healthcare Ministry in North America is an invitation to IMAGINE2 a world in which the communities we serve are blessed by health care ministry to which our Creator has called us:

I — Incarnational ministry … becoming one with our community, knowing and understanding their needs and together striving to elevate their wellbeing.

M — Making tangible, measurable and meaningful differences in people’s lives.

A — Actions that are culturally competent, data-driven, professionally developed and personally delivered.

G — Geographically touching every community on this continent with the needed and helpful ministry of healing.

I — Inculcating integrative, grace-filled partnerships with community resources, thereby re-envisioning, re-energizing and leveraging resources to meet the community’s need.

N — Network of congregations and health care institutions partnering with the church to educate, alleviate and inspire a culture of wholeness.

E — Evangelizing as Jesus did: Seeking first to fill the people’s needs, He then invited them to follow.

As the vice chair of the Adventist Health board of directors, I am pleased we work to fulfill the mission not only with patient care but also through our clinical pastoral education program featured in this publication.

  1. See "In North America, a Return to Adventist Church’s Traditional Medical Missionary Outreach."
  2. IMAGINE was adapted from the document “The Vision for Adventist Healthcare Ministry in North America.”