Health Ministries Opportunity

Supportive, Therapeutic Relationships Change Past Trauma
October 19, 2018

ALVARADO, TEX. – There is a crisis of brokenness, suicide, addiction, divorce, sexual, physical and substance abuse that is taking a toll on our lives. Diseases that reflect death by despair are now common. Evidence-based medicine has concluded that chronically traumatized individuals are looking for “supportive, therapeutic relationships.” What an opportunity!

People are looking for relationships, supportive, healing, nurturing relationships. Could the church, following the procedure Jesus used with the woman at the well, change these stories of brokenness? Could Your Best Pathway to Health, or any health event, impact a city’s crisis in a way similar to how Jesus impacted Samaria? The science behind this opportunity is fascinating.

Renowned physician and researcher Vincent J. Felitti studied 17,000 adults in San Diego, investigating their childhood experiences. Sixty-six percent had been exposed to physical and sexual abuse and neglect. They concluded that these experiences caused changes in the developing brain, and were linked to obesity, diabetes, depression, suicide, criminal behavior and more. A study from Van der Kolk and d'Andrea in 2010 found that “to avoid this psychological pain, chronically traumatized individuals are prone to seek supportive, therapeutic relationships.”

Texas Conference Evangelism Director Dan Serns observed such individuals in previous mega-clinics. While thousands came for medical and dental services, others wanted something more.

Recognizing the possibilities with the Your Best Pathway to Health event in the Fort Worth area Sept. 19-21, 2018, we attempted to set up 100 small groups around the metroplex and train 200 care relationship coaches with the seven step protocol Jesus used with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Any church can use this method to connect with those hurting in their own communities.

1. Connect. Stay connected to Jesus. Three times a day for at least 15 minutes, give thanks and pray for the Holy Spirit. You can’t give what you never received.

2. Model. Model daily health, wellness and grace starting with your families.

3. Honor. Honor others with love and compassion. “Give me a drink.” Jesus honored the ostracized woman at the well. Pay an honest compliment and ask open-ended questions such as, “What brought you here?” Humility, courtesy and kindness always work.

4. Grace. Share your story of grace that you have prepared (what God has done for you).

5. Brokenness. Ask others what may be burdening their hearts. Empathize with their pain and ask them to share only if they feel comfortable. Carry a little packet of tissues.

6. Jesus. Mention that Jesus offers grace. Study the person’s eyes, voice and body language. If the Lord convicts you, pray with the person.

7. Invitation. Invite the person to a small group. Ask, “May I stay in touch with you?” If offered, take the person’s name, phone number and email. Ask permission to call the next day. Call within 48 hours. With permission, pass on the person’s name to the coordinator.

The power of the invitation cannot be underestimated. During a cooking event following the Your Best Pathway to Health event in Phoenix, Arizona, the event organizer felt compelled to invite ten people to meet at her house. They report that 35 people meet there every week now.

The world is facing a crisis of brokenness solved only with loving, healing, supportive relationships. We have a huge opportunity to share our personal story of grace and connect hurting people to Christ, their peaceful future for eternity.

By Errol B. Bryce, Health Ministries Director