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How Does Health Become Evangelistic

Elvin Adams MD MPH FACPM


How does the health professional expand his or her evangelistic reach beyond the practice and into the local church and community? How can health or evangelistic resources be judged as to their appropriateness for use in the practice or the community? Exploring the difference between "effort analysis" and "goal analysis."



 1. Identify the top three most important institutions in which to foster health evangelism.

2. Identify the top three most important personnel to conduct health evangelism.

3. Identify the top three most important variables to measure when conducting health evangelism. 


Elvin Adams MD MPH FACPM

Specialist in Internal Medicine and Public Health



  • October 27, 2017
    2:00 PM
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Father in heaven thank you so much for. As opportunity to learn better ways to be like the Great Physician. We pray that. You will bless us as we. Hear the instruction that you've given from years of experience and careful study and observation from Dr Adams in Christ's name we pray Amen. Thank you very much how many of the audience are dentists that we have don't see how many are physicians. Yeah all right well it's. I'm honored that you would be here and want to hear this talk. And this summarizes some of what I've said in previous talks in places but I've adapted it to the theme that we have here and but my my overall theme is when does health become a vandalism and in your booklet you saw the objectives of this course and the theme of this weekend is are you willing and there are three levels of willingness that were. Addressed to address one is to be absolutely committed to Christ number two to share your faith journey with your patients and to spend time to motivate your patients on their health faith journey and then I'm going to add a fourth one. A willingness and I will come to that but I want to discuss the first three days for a few minutes our absolute commitment to Christ is extremely important and that's something that takes time and you need to do it every day and early morning is best and if it's on erupted uninterrupted time it's even better so I do my devotion just first thing in the morning and then after that I do my exercise and then after that I have a little breakfast and then it also takes study studying scripture and studying Spirit of Prophecy and I I I can probably ninety percent of my study time is confined to these sources and then it also requires prayer prayer at the beginning of the day the end of the day. And frequently throughout the day the second aim is to share your faith journey with your patients and. There are some subtle ways of witnessing that we don't often think about kindness and gentleness is is the way Christ treated the people he had contact with and in our practices I always appreciate punctuality that's difficult for our OS to do but in my private practice of internal medicine it got to the point where if I went into an exam room five minutes late a patient would complain. It's a doctor your five minutes late coming in here and. This caution money because if a patient doesn't show up. Then you have some down time but you can fill that with various kinds of education. Fair fees schedule I have been to physicians and I think I've been charging exorbitant price for the exam that was done and I think that a file looked at the medical record it would reflect a much more detailed exam in history than actually occurred and I think that is unfair and is incorrect witness. I think time. Is a good way Jesus took time with people and physicians nowadays especially if you work in a corporation your time is not your own you're rushed and that's what I treasured about my private practice I average a visit was fifteen minutes a new visit was an hour and more recently I've been treating H. I.V. and AIDS patients and in that group of clientele in the clinic I worked in they gave me forty. Five minutes for a return patient and an hour and a half for a new patient now Dr Ian AIDS patients are often quite complicated and have multiple problems and so the extra time is often useful but very often you have a chance to visit with people but time will cost you money as well you need to be scientifically accurate I think that God God is the god of science and to the extent that we understand science we're being godly in what we do I have had colleagues that promoted various kinds of products or treatments which in fact had no basis in science and I think diminish the credibility of that particular practice and so as practice Christian practitioners a Seventh Day Adventist Christian practitioners I think we need to be scientifically accurate that is a spiritual witness I think clarity is important and one of the things that I did was to draw diagrams rather crude on my exam paper to get down off the table let me show you here and I draw stuff out and more than half the time when I was down there it's a could could could we tear this off Could I take this home with me because I'd like to explain this to my family as clearly as you explained it to me so I think clarity is a good spiritual witness as well and then there are opportunities for overt spiritual messages speaking of Jesus praying with patients and I've highlighted two things one is literature in the exam room I think literature in the waiting room is of relatively limited value I like to have literature racks in the exam room and I like to have an array of sensitive topics so if you have one on divorce one on spousal abuse one on sexual problems one on S T D's one on the depression. And when you come in to the room you can see which brochure they're looking at and the brochure that they're looking at will give you a clue as to the nature of a problem that they might have and they might be willing to discuss so I always had literature racks in the exam room and I've always done that the second thing is that I think is important is sharing what you are reading I had a box of desire of ages or a box of great controversy Oh right by my desk and as part of my work in the morning I take it out and I'd be reading a chapter not underline and if a patient seems susceptible I'd say I have a book that I'd like to lend you and you bring it out and show them where you've been underline it write your name in the book as well so I'd like you to read this particular chapter because I think it has a message in it that's good for you and they will read it because it's your book and they borrowed it and at their next visit they'll bring it back at which time you can give it to them because you have a box of them there that you are reading perpetually and I found that to be a very useful witness mechanism. We always had prayer with our staff as well and not only prayer but did had a little worship service with our staff and you can't just presume on their Christian goodness it's important for you to cultivate that I've seen waiting rooms that have T.V. T.V.'s on with either hope or three A.B.N. and I although I have not done this I have had colleagues that actually conducted by those studies in their in their clinic. The literature racks in the exam room look something like that now the third item is to spend time to motivate your patients in their faith journey I think this is difficult it's really difficult to motivate patients and I wish that I had a good. Answer on how to do that I think personal example is important and. Talk of God's power to accomplish I think that is really the key. Our patients need behavior change and there and we can tell them what they need to do but they really don't have the ability or the power to do that and so that's a good chance to say well God will help you with that problem and and if you pray about it you'll find it there so that gives you a chance to pray with them as well so I think you need to. Show that science and faith are compatible and that there are interdependent and that in fact the behavior change that you want in science is enhanced by the devotion to God that a person has and you can tell people just try it and let's see how it works I had a lady who stopped smoking with God's help who was a secular person and a couple of months after quitting smoking she remarked to me she said this is a wonderful model how God helps helped me quit smoking I think this is something I could apply to some other problem areas in my life well I observed her I think there's nothing in the Christian life the Christian life is simply learning to trust God with more and more areas until you learn to trust him with everything and at that point and talk to him you know you've reached a level of Christian maturity but she learned that you know a stop smoking situation and I think that you should think through and this is not the place to do it today because our time is short think through what are the steps of behavior change. There are a number of books that will give you the steps but those are not necessarily divine steps. Think you need to to figure out how how exactly does God help people and if you pray for help do you feel it no not necessarily Well if you don't feel it how do you know you got the help well you've got to help at the point of failure where you used to always fail before God is not going to let you fail you you can have success there now can you choose to fail yes if you choose to fail does got a band and you know. You need to trust God again and see how it works out there are steps in divine behavior change and I would love to go into all of the steps but you need to work that out and share that with you C B T cognitive behavioral therapy is all the rage now but the truth is it doesn't hold a candle to divine behavioral therapy and God can help you where. Science leaves off acknowledge process progress so when you see that person's making progress that needs to be acknowledged and then don't condemn failure but encourage people to try again so I want to add one more thing to these three willing things and I want to spend the rest of my time talking about that and the fourth thing is beyond the scope of your practice are you willing to go beyond the scope of your practice and lead your church in healthy evangelism activities for your community and I think that this is important and I've got ten steps or ten aspects of it that I want to share with you why beyond your practice because your office is not the Christians home. The truth is people are not baptized into your office they are baptized into the church and so the truth is you need to have a clear cut path on how to get a patient from your office in to. The church and also the church is a more important community institution than your office yes. Just to dwell on this when Christ blinded Paul on the road to Damascus and Paul asked Lord what would you have me to do the Lord Jesus Christ did not tell him because the roadside was not the place to get the information he said Go into the city and it will be shown you and he directed. Saul to become Paul to the church he directed him to the church then he contacted the church in the form of an anonymous and said You've got to go help Paul here so Christ values the role of his church in society and we need to value that as well yes there is a place for us to witness in our practice but as a scientist you need to be a leader in your church and the membership of the church represents a much larger staff of workers and your office has and so you need to mobilize and it's your responsibility to mobilize church members to be as effective a witness as your office staff is and and that does take time and the church needs competent health leadership that only you can provide and. I could touch on that more later Don't get me started because I could rant and rave every church I've been to has been filled with some health experts and I recently ran across a wonderful quote that I'm going to share with you so church membership represents a larger staff than you have yes the church is going to want you to have some traditional roles Deacon elders have a schoolteacher work with the Pathfinders man's ministry prayer meeting maybe preaching or doing some evangelistic series and they expect you to pay tithes and be very liberal. In your offerings and at this point I lose all merit for it but for the past several years and I've been pretty much retired my wife and I have been with God's help been able to contribute about thirty four percent of our income to the church and its various ministries and. We praise God that we can do that and it's good to see the church grow so I would challenge you to support the churches ministries very very liberally So these are the ten important church roles for health professionals number one it's your responsibility to select healthy evangelism activities for the church if you don't select the activities somebody else is going to do it you need to find quality programs that will be adaptable to your congregation put the church to work promote organize and conduct the programs for the public regularly at the church it's difficult to select the right program and I have found that many of the programs that I have wanted to use were not designed for church ministry and I have always taken the liberty to modify them and I modify them in certain specific ways and this would be a responsibility so the second point is modify existing health programs to maximize their evangelistic potential and a prep so one way to conceptualize this is to ask yourself we have health and we have evangelism which is more important. But you can say well they're both more important but the truth is evangelism is always more important because everybody that begets healthy everybody Jesus healed eventually died. And everybody you help is going to die but everybody who has a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is going to live forever and they're going to have eternal health and bliss and so the truth is as a health professional you need. Dereck acknowledged that evangelism is always more important than just the health side of it and it's your responsibility to infuse health programs with evangelism and how do you do that and. So modify existing health programs so what you do there are several ways to do it one way is to create an interface with church members because one way to do it is to create small groups a lot of programs the physician or health professional gives the talk from the front everybody says yay and collapse Well that's a relationship of one to fifty and that doesn't work well in order to be evangelist ik you have to have one on one or one to two or one to three and so health programs need to be modified in such a way that church members are introduced to the public that comes so you do that in small groups and put to church members in charge of each small group another way you do it is to incorporate Bible studies in all of the programs and you'll find that some programs have a dabbling of spiritual material some are quite spiritual Some are not at all what I do in my weight management program that I run is I I give everybody a scripture assignment for each day of the week and and they take it with them and then I want them to write two or three sentences as to how that applies to their weight issue and and it's amazing people will come back and say I never knew the Bible said this this is the most wonderful promise I've ever run run across I've written it out I've typed it out I have it on my refrigerator I have it all my stove I have it in my car I read I read this fifty times a day well how did she get that it was because. Bible was assigned in the health program so what you need to do to make a health program evangelist Dick is to put some of the Bible into it and there are creative ways of doing that incorporate prayer in all programs now this is very easy to do in the Weight Management Program because people are sort of used to offering prayer before meals or at least that's a concept that they understand and I usually tell them this is not a time to thank God for the food because you've been getting way too much so you know what you need to do is to say God I'm about to kill myself you know this is the valley of the shadow of death for me. I needed alarums help me to put this fork down when I've had enough and. So there are ways of putting prayer into head and I use core cards with daily so I keep track of whether or not they read their Bible I keep track of whether or not they said their prayers to keep track of whether or not they contacted the Health members their church members that they were supposed to do because contact with church members makes that evangelist tick and so I think you need to modify programs or you need to make sure that any program you conduct in your church should be modified to have these components in them that will make a health program Vangelis tick. So modify improve change the third point is to educate involve the pastor in health many pastors don't practice healthful living oh I was I worked in the health department a general conference for three years and went to annual Council in Nairobi Kenya and had breakfast in the hotel with the brother in and I just was so surprised at how much coffee was consumed how much to you. Consumed how much flesh food was consumed and these are pastors and the pastors don't live the health message and I think that some pastor don't want to do health of answer as I'm I've been in Turkey is where that's happened and when that has occurred. I have I have moved move my membership to another church. No you staying in a church don't double cross the pastor there was a church in Tauzin Maryland where I worked and the pastor spent his days visiting patients in the hospital and I spent my time in the church doing health vandalism program and the pastor actually became kind of antagonistic and so I was wondering what I should do and then I read the chapter he must increase I must decrease in desire of ages and in there Miss White very plainly sees whenever a controversy threatens there is a loss of soul. And. And the disciples went to John and he said well he must increase I must decrease but what did John do he didn't do anything he sat there and kept on preaching what did Jesus do he quietly ceased his labors and moved to Galilee so John said the right thing but didn't do the right thing Jesus just did the right thing and so after reading that my wife and I We transferred to another church and had older came he says I know why you're leaving it's because you in the past are not we don't like what you're doing here and we're going to fight and I said no no we must not have fight you must let us go very quietly and of course I was secretly hoping that this young new pastor's ministry would bomb but God bless him after we left and that was very humbling he had many baptisms the next year had great success had no health but you know the. The truth is his eventual Islam was very effective and the Lord chastened me and so I've learned first it always going on with the pastor and if you can get on his side you can work in that church if not think about going to someplace else and I most recently retired from Dallas when there are one hundred seventy have an instructor's in the Dallas Fort Worth area so it's very easy to move around. The third thing is that pastor should be seen in every health of vandalism program you do that helps make it evangelist it goes well I give the pastor a ten minute talk he's not to touch on any distinctive doctrines do not discuss the sanctuary the state of the dead or the Sabbath if it's talk about how God help smokers quit talk about how God helps people with appetite control talk about how to overcome if you're tempted and just leave it at that I want the public to become comfortable with a pastor so that if somebody says Won't you come to church this weekend my pastors do so does the guy who's SMITH Yeah yeah oh you know he's great and they're much more likely to come if they see the pastor in a health program so you need to have your pastor there but as I said it needs to be focused on the problem addressed skip the doctrines and. Then it should also be brief your part is the scientific part it will be longer sometimes it's hard to get pastors to be brief but I really stress that before it's going to educate mobilize church members to be the interface with the public we've already touched on that they should be the primary interface with the public not you and in the programs that I conduct after about the third session the small group leaders. Recognize that my role is not the important role because I'm not friends with the people in. Their group what they are and they can tell me stories about their group members of which I know nothing they're developing relationships and they're beginning to realize that it's their interface that is important I may be the purveyor of information but they are the purveyor of friendship they are the prevail or of relationship there or that prevail or of practical godliness with the audience that is coming and I like a small ratio of one to three so if you got a small group you would have two leaders in six and that would. Keep the church members focused I like to give them a helpers guide. For that particular session. I don't but I would be glad to share them with you I'll give you my contact information at the end. Don't allow church members to promote their favorite supplement or recipe. I have a Ph D. nutritionist Maicon congregation and we had a couple of church members that brought a couple of dishes to their small groups and the nutritionist looked at and said they shouldn't be eating that. That's not really healthful So yeah although you want to purchase members to help you need to draw some limits and in every church you have church members that take a variety of supplements that are herbal or one thing or another whatever the fat is for the this month or this year and that want to share that and we talk absolutely not you know that this program is scientifically sound you're not going to share you can share the way you eat but do not share any products or things like that collect church feedback from church members How's it going in your group who's having victories and I like to have a little afterglow with them so this would be an ideal small. Group two leaders six members number five lead out in health evangelism activities be the health expert be scientifically correct but the same time be spiritual use Bible texts and use personal testimonies and pray with the audience and sometimes it's very helpful one of the illustrations that I use for instance. When it comes to the amount of effort that you need to make versus the amount of what God's going to do for you I like to use the illustration of the raising of Lazarus from the dead this was the most this was the most powerful miracle that Jesus ever performed and. Yet as he stood there what did he say he said roll away the stone and that to me is a little mysterious because if you wanted to make it really dramatic he could have had an angel rolled away he could have shopped it with some lightning and it would have really added some drama to it and then when. Lazarus was raised from the dead how did he come out he came out all bound up in grave clothes and Jesus said Go in on wind him then get him let him free. And so the point Mrs White makes in his R.V. ages at this is that in every miracle that God performs there is a part for you to play and God will not do what you can do now I think the people that rolled away the stone didn't go home and say Jesus and I raise the last arrest today because they know that rolling away stones has nothing to do with bringing to the dead to life but it was essential because if they had refused no no we're not going to do that Lazarus would have been raised if we don't do our part God won't do his part our part is insignificant and worthless his part is all powerful ineffectual but if we don't do our part he doesn't do his part and so they want to explain this to people they realize that God doesn't do every thing for them I had a lady who was who lost forty pounds she was in my practice and with God's help and she came into the office one day and she said there's a problem with this I said what's the problem she says if I don't pray it records to I over eat at breakfast if I don't pray during the morning I snack if I don't pray at noon I overeat at noon if I don't pray in the afternoon I snack I don't preen evening I overeat then unless I talk to God all the time missed doesn't work. And she was a Baptist and I could have said well you just proved it's not once saved always saved. But you know I said Well just a minute I said that is really profound because you're wanting the long term Wait results but God wants a long term relationship. And boy her eyes flew open and she said Oh I will never complain about having to pray again and but she learned the importance of a continuing relationship in relationship with her. Relationship with her weight stay around during small group time answer questions invite people to other programs number six on the list of ten that we're doing is rebuke ignorant fanatic health reformers in the church. And this is a quote that I just found this week and I was so excited when I found it it is you won't recognize the reference but ph stands for pamphlets So if you look in the pamphlets this is in pamphlet one o one and it's Page twenty one and it's an extended quote and so I'm going to give you three slides with a quote but each part makes a significant point here is spirit of prophecy says it is time that something was done that novices may not be allowed to take the field and advocate health reform. Their works and words can be spared for they do more injury than the most wise an intelligent man with the best influence they can exert can counteract. Oh that's kind of hard isn't it so if the problem in our society today is that there is a death of expertise that's the name of a book you might want to get it and look at it it was very interesting reading but the truth today is somebody who spent five minutes on the Internet will dispute what you say you might have had thirty years of training experience and background and know perfectly well what needs to be done but after five minutes on the Internet they'll dispute what you have to say expertise is pretty well dead in our society but there are church members who will pretend to be health experts and they do they have had no background in anatomy physiology medication side effects. And you know they need to you need to buttonhole limb and say listen you know if you want to have your program do it down the street but this is a scientific program it's scientifically sound and you can't have a part in this I'm sorry OK a very important quote but you ought to rebuke and Christian kindness confront people with their errors Now this is a continuation of the quote It is impossible for the best qualified advocates of health reform to fully relieve the minds of the public from the prejudice received through the wrong course of these extremists and to place the great subject of health reform upon the right basis in the community where these men have figured. So what they're really saying is that if these people get their voice and they do their thing you're ruined. Because they can't they don't know who to believe you're both members of the same church is a day as it be they need to be quieted up so once skeptical they'll always be skeptical So here's the rest of the quote and this is the most serious part it says The door is also closed in great measure so that unbelievers cannot be reached by the present truth up on the Sabbath and upon the soon coming of our Savior the most precious truths are cast aside by the people as unworthy of hearing these men are referred to as representatives of health reformers and Sabbath keepers in general a great responsibility rests upon those who have thus proved a stumbling block to unbelievers. So if somebody gets confused about health issues in your health programs it's you can't retrace those steps and when you want to talk to them about the Sabbath and the second coming of Christ they're not going to pay attention that is a sobering fact so although it may be hurtful to. Shut down a fanatic or someone who's in correct. You need to do it and in in my church where in Crowley Texas where I came from we had just such a practitioner and although we were on speaking terms the truth is that person never participated in any health programs that I or any other health program professionals in the church conducted they were just systematically excluded and I'm sorry but it needs to be done because if you don't they won't know who to trust and when it comes time to talk about serious doctrinal issues people are going to put you all in the same basket and it's not the right thing to do so a determined mind is very often a lost mine. These are some of the things that they bring up actually on my way here I took a phone call from Oklahoma from the daughter of a dear friend and we had a discussion of essential oils and the herbal supplements and the panic attacks that she was having and. These were items that she got from her church but then there's reflexology in the north west several years ago there was a pastor and his wife who conducted cranial sacral therapy in the church and they had to be stopped. If you want a primmer on all of these spiritualistic deceptions there's a really good book by Edwin A noise who's an Adventist. Yeah. Excellent spiritualistic deceptions in health and healing excellent book catalogs many of these deceptive practices. And here's cranial second cycle therapy reflexology Crystal therapy aroma therapy. Then I think it's good to interface health with evangelism when your pastor does have an evangelistic series be there attend the meetings insert a health segment there promote your health programs during the evangelist IT programs. Support the evangelistic meetings number eight create an interface with the community from your church now this is a little different. I think the church ought to join the Chamber of Commerce and my wife are our church dead and my wife and I did personally as health professionals and we attended the meetings we had meet and greets actually at the church and people got to know got to know us through that avenue I was I joined the American Cancer Society in Fort Worth on their help smokers quit committee and then I got on their board of directors and then I was after three years I became president of the American Society for the city of four worth attended their state meetings in Austin and the like and. It was important for me to do that and it was important for the church it was important for Christianity fact a very interesting thing occurred Jim Morgan who was one of the program directors for the Cancer Society in the state of Texas we were riding to the airport together one day and he said. Hi he says I You've really helped of a smoking a great deal what you think we should get into next and I said nutrition because nutrition has a strong link with cancer and so he said Go give a presentation at Tara board meeting so I gave the state people a presentation on nutrition and their answer was to controversy and we can't go there two years later from the National Office big push nutrition and cancer and and they have been in that basket ever since. We've always interfaced with the Heart Association long association they have good literature I've never been a member except speaking appointments in the public. I was just telling somebody I was kind of hesitating to speak at the same time Mark Finley speaking because he's he's right next door and we have a lot and common but he's a much bigger draw than I am. I had the misfortune one year I was I was speaking to the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association and auto and there were probably two thousand automobile dealers I was talking to them about stress unfortunately my speech followed that of Tony Campolo and who's a very dynamic speaker and and it went over kind of like a lead balloon but. I think that when you have a chance to speak to the public you should do so and do so as a Seventh Day Adventist as a scientist as a Christian support the health department and its activities as well. So these are associations you can join number nine. Document and evaluate. This. This is really important and track physical variables we're good at doing that you measure blood pressure before and after weight before and after behaviors before and after. But track spiritual variables this is something we're not good at doing and you have to have a progress card or a questionnaire that you apply frequently to find out and you need to find out what their spiritual practices are before your program to find out what their spiritual practices are after your program so you can see what kind of progress is being made in Bible study what progress is being made in prayer what progress is being made in these various areas tract church variables. Are people attending evangelist meetings are they taking Bible studies are they being baptized are they taking an active life in the church create a database and then analyze these changes and I think this is an important variable the N.A.V. P. which is the non Adventist person visit and I count non Adventists every time they come through the door and the reason this is important is once you add them all up. What's going to happen is pastors will always say how many baptisms did you have in your program and my answer is we had seven hundred eighty six non Adventist person visits to our church how many of them to do baptize. My my role is not baptism that's his role my role is to get him there. And how can you prove that you've got them there if you don't count them and we're all familiar with the concept of person years well these are person visits so if one person comes ten times that's ten person visits if ten people come once that's ten person visits so count D N A V P And that is the proof that what you're doing is effective plus the fact that people are praying more studying their Bible more. Share and publish So share with the church the conference and church papers report to the converse. Conference and for more details you can read it in my most recent book which is the principles and practice of health evangelism. It's online so you can either. Go to amazon dot com or Barnes and Noble or Books a Million and either to type in my name elven Adams M.D. or the title of the book the principles and practice of health eventual I just moved from Texas to North Carolina and all of the copies of the books and I have are sitting in a beacon storage van and Dallas and so that's and I hope to be moved into my new house by now and be able to bring you some but mine are all locked up so you're welcome to. OK thank you very much appreciate it thank you. This media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about. If you would like to listen to more service leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.


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