Called to Medical Ministry
Published on 07/01/2023 |
I want to get rebaptized.” My father’s words caught me off guard so I asked him to explain.
“I didn’t know what baptism really meant the first time,” he said, “so now I want to do it right.”
We were at a lifestyle center because of my father’s brain cancer, and we were coming to the close of a two-week residential program during which we ate a plant-based diet, did simple exercises, and listened to spiritual messages. The physician at the center visited with my father each day, and he made it a point to end each visit with prayer. Although my father’s brain cancer continued to progress, the combination of Spirit-filled messages, healthy living, and Christlike medical care enabled my father to comprehend spiritual truths like never before. As a result, he developed a desire to rededicate his life to God, and although in the end my father’s cancer took his life, it was not before he sealed his decision for the Lord. This experience helped me realize that the true purpose of medical ministry is not simply to restore health, but rather, to “prepare the way for the reception of the truth for this time.”—Ellen White, Medical Ministry, p. 238.
When framed in the context of serving as an entering wedge for the gospel message, medical ministry takes on a new significance that differentiates it from purely humanitarian efforts. Ellen White states that “there will soon be no work done in ministerial lines but medical missionary work”—Counsels on Health, p. 533. This is why AMEN’s mission is to motivate, train, and equip healthcare professionals to conduct effective medical ministry. Far from being just another avenue of ministry, the gospel medical missionary work is the only form of ministry that will continue until the end of time, and this means that everyone regardless of background needs to be involved. However, healthcare providers are naturally positioned to be the tip of this spear, and AMEN seeks to empower them to become catalysts for medical ministry in their local churches and communities.
In order for the medical work to serve as an entering wedge for the gospel, we must never separate the practice of medicine and ministry. Jesus set this example by using acts of healing to communicate life-changing spiritual truths. The restoration of physical health served as a bridge that led people to accept Jesus as their personal Savior. If you separate the presentation of the gospel message from the medical work, medicine becomes a bridge to nowhere. In fact, Ellen White states that “when the gospel ministers and the medical missionary workers are not united, there is placed on our churches the worst evil that can be placed there.”—Medical Ministry, p. 241. Christ did not come to this world to turn sick sinners into healthy sinners; He came to enable those who were dead in trespasses to live. We are called to do likewise, and that is why one of AMEN’s primary objectives is to help healthcare providers and ministry workers to understand the importance of working together. Like twin blades in a pair of scissors, the one cannot function without the other, and whether it is through our free medical clinics, provider resources, or networking events, AMEN will always seek to blend medicine with ministry.
AMEN’s success as an organization and reason for existing has always hinged on its ability to inspire healthcare professionals to dedicate their lives and careers to God. Whether you are a student just starting your training journey or a senior practitioner about to retire, AMEN’s goal is to help you to walk in the footsteps of the Great Physician. My prayer is that in the midst of all the busy-ness and noise that constantly fill our lives, we will not lose sight of our higher calling to be healers of both body and soul. As we follow Christ’s method and minister to the needs of others, we will find our own needs being met, and we will realize that the redemptive process of the gospel medical missionary work always begins with us first.
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