By Jason Paltzer, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor, College of Nursing and Health Care Professions
One way I deal with problems is to compartmentalize them into distinct buckets. I tend to separate my personal relationships from my work relationships and my church community from the community I live in. Occasionally, these might overlap, but I find myself working to keep them distinct to protect myself from criticism or conflicting worldviews.
However, it is important for me to be intentional about connecting with other people and learning ways to break down these walls and allow my “compartments” to merge. The International Wholistic Missions Conference was an opportunity for me to do this.
The International Wholistic Missions Conference was held at Grand Canyon University from May 3 – 5, 2017. The conference hosted more than 500 ministry leaders interested in networking, learning and growing in their capacity to serve people and communities with the whole gospel. Wholistic missions is defined as ministry to the whole person – the integration of spiritual, social, mental and physical health as necessary components in how we live out our love for God and love for others to share the peace of Jesus.
The lead conference organizer, the Global CHE Network, highlights the importance of Community Health Evangelism (CHE) in this ministry approach as a process that has been successful in improving health and multiplying churches throughout the world. The various presentations and workshops had one thing in common: The local church is instrumental in the wholistic healing of brokenness people are struggling with on a daily basis.
The vision for the conference was built on the prayer, “We are one body focused on one goal: glorifying God by unifying and equipping the Body of Christ to bring the whole gospel to the whole world.” Workshop tracks allowed participants to dig deeper into specific content areas such as public health practice, the city church, coaching and leadership development, economic empowerment, evaluating wholistic mission, engaging youth, immigration, refugees, vulnerable children, short-term missions and the organization tools for ministry. Five faculty members from the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions presented on a variety of topics, including faith as a determinant of health, mobile technology used in public health, the need for comprehensive elderly care and church-based wellness and parish nursing programs.
Our contexts vary, but the need is the same. Urban or rural, developed or developing, young or old – no matter what the environment, we are in need of healing and the reconciliation of Christ in all of our life compartments. Wholistic ministry through transformational development aims to equip Christians with the tools to do this no matter what our occupation or calling in life. Whether we are educators, business leaders, health professionals, ministry leaders or students, we are first called to be ambassadors for Christ with the message of reconciliation.
The International Wholistic Missions Conference gives participants the opportunity to grow, network and share with each other in this great responsibility as the one body of Christ. The International Wholistic Missions Conference should be high on your list as friends, students, staff and faculty of GCU, given our mission to help each other find and live out our purpose as ambassadors for Christ in all aspects of life.
Watch for additional posts on health ministry ideas and topics as we continue this series over the next few months! To learn more, wholisticmissions.org and chenetwork.org.
The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions strives to provide an academically rigorous education reflecting Christian values. To learn more, visit our website or contact us today using the Request More Information button at the top of the page.