The Church believes its responsibility to make Christ known to the world includes a moral obligation to preserve human dignity by promoting optimal levels of physical, mental, and spiritual health.
In addition to ministering to those who are ill, this responsibility extends to the prevention of disease through effective health education and leadership in promoting optimum health, free of tobacco, alcohol, other drugs, and unclean foods. Where possible, members shall be encouraged to follow a primarily vegetarian diet.
Health Ministries Leader—For planning and implementing an efficient program, the church elects a health ministries leader and, if needed, an associate leader. The leader should be health-oriented and interested in promoting the Church’s standards in healthful living among members and in the community through church-operated health ministries programs. The leader should be able to screen programs and information that are representative of the ideals and philosophy of the Church and to integrate them into an effective spiritual and physical witness.
Health Ministries Council—Where practical, a church may appoint a health ministries council to provide leadership to both members and community in the field of healthful living and to assist in cooperative soul-saving activities through a viable program of health and temperance and spiritual emphasis. The council, in collaboration with the personal ministries council, shall lead out in developing a schedule of health ministries activities that include such programs as stop-smoking plans, cooking schools, health classes, stress-control programs, and related endeavors. If not serving as chairperson, the pastor should be an ex officio member.
Health Ministries or Temperance Society—In some areas a health ministries or temperance society may be established as a separate entity distinct from Church organizations. The conference health ministries director should be involved in establishing such an entity.
World Health Ministries Sabbath Offering—The entire World Health Ministries Sabbath Offering is sent to the conference to be distributed according to policy. Upon the church’s request to the conference, up to 25 percent of the offering received in the church may revert to the church for health ministries programs.
Resources—For health ministries resources, see Notes, #10, p. 169.