The BIG IDEA
JUNE’s BIG IDEA
For they (His Words) are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh - Proverbs 4:22
Located only 10 miles from Washington, DC, Beltway Church of Christ, a 300 member congregation led by Pastor Varner Webb, is working to improve the health of its members and the surrounding community. Over 15 years ago, a group of members from the church realized that their fellow congregants were dying from heart problems, diabetes, and hypertension. These members recognized that they needed to be the leaders of a new initiative that would bring attention and solutions to some of the health problems that often plague African American communities.
The Beltway Church of Christ Healthcare Ministry began with medical professionals in the church conducting blood pressure screenings. Since then, the ministry has expanded to include fitness courses, health and wellness seminars, and Beltway’s Annual Healthcare Seminar Expo. The Healthcare Seminar Expo brings together doctors, nurses, fitness instructors and other health professionals to provide information and services that enable people to create healthy lifestyles. It has become a major yearly event.
Charles Davenport, former co-chair of the Healthcare Ministry, attributes the Healthcare Ministry’s success to the atmosphere of trust that exists among members of the congregation. In Davenport’s experience, many people who were apprehensive about visiting a doctor have been more apt to allow a healthcare professional from the church to provide certain services such as blood pressure screenings. Beltway Church of Christ plans to expand the ministry to include a youth component that addresses issues directly impacting youth health, including bulimia, self-esteem, and how youth can properly lose and keep off excess weight.
Beltway’s Healthcare Ministry is open to members of the community and is operated by volunteers who serve on various committees. Funding for this ministry comes from church offerings, donations, and fundraisers such as advertising booklets for the Annual Healthcare Seminar Expo.As a result of this ministry, Beltway Church of Christ has witnessed a great change in the way that the congregations thinks about health. This health-conscious congregation has even changed the menu selections at church fellowships. For example, church meals that once consisted of fried foods and desserts now include baked items and healthy vegetables. This 300 member church with a BIG IDEA has created a community where there is a balance between the physical and spiritual well-being of persons.
ResourcesIf your church or community is interested in developing a health and wellness ministry, the following national and community organizations may assist with your project:
Churches with Health and Wellness Programs: