Men are from Mars.” That was the title on a flier handed out at Hillview Seventh-day Adventist Church (Morisset, NSW) some weeks ago. While the title caught my attention, I was a little sceptical as to whether or not it was worth paying $10 each for my son and I to attend a men’s health event.
But it was.
This wasn’t your typical “boys' night”. It was 96 men sitting down together for a wonderful meal—prepared by the women of the church—and a couple of excellent presentations on sleep apnoea and depression. The discussion around my table was lively and I made some new friends. A significant percentage of the attendees were not members of my local church, but each went away having had an enjoyable night yet challenged to think about who they were as men.
The evening itself was simply a dinner and a discussion but it made a difference to the men of the Southlakes community. It served as a reminder to me that the formula for ministry really is rather simple. Reach out to people and let God do the rest. It’s “our hands, His touch”.
It’s a method in tune with Jesus’ ministry. “God’s kingdom was his theme—that beginning right now they are under God’s government, a good government! He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives” (Matthew 4:23, The Message, italics added). Jesus was making a difference in the lives of the people He interacted with. It's our challenge as followers of Jesus to replicate what He was doing.
Throughout the South Pacific Division (SPD), local churches are using the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) to live out this “our hands, His touch” model.
While in her early 70s, Catholic sister Pat Quinn thought her life was going downhill and that she would be confined to her chair until the day she died. That’s when her local Adventist church reached out through CHIP. Sister Pat completed the program and, four years later, she has lost more than 40 kilograms, is pain free and is back working full-time. She is currently helping to run CHIP and has personally brought along more than half of the participants attending the program at Toowoomba Seventh-day Adventist Church (Qld).
In Christchurch (NZ), Russell, having recently retired, was told that he needed multiple coronary artery bypasses. He decided to give CHIP a go. Eight years later and Russell is loving life and enjoying his retirement—that's when he’s not relieving at his old job. The best part: he hasn’t needed any major surgery.
CHIP is even changing the lives of children. I recently met nine-year-old Talia in Western Australia. She told me that her mother, after doing CHIP, found so much more energy to play with her and her brother. The change prompted Talia to turn her birthday party into a healthy event. Afterwards one of her friends thanked her for the change because she didn’t get sick like she usually did at birthday parties.
In this article I've talked about CHIP but there are many ways we can use our hands to be His touch—anything from men’s and women’s health events, to cooking demonstrations and depression and anxiety recovery programs. February 2017 will also see the launch of the Forgive to Live Seminar in the SPD—another health tool you can use at your local church. “There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work” (1 Corinthians 12:5,6).
God works in and through us. Will you let your hands be His touch today?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Paul Rankin is CHIP in Churches coordinator for the South Pacific Division.