What is Health Ministry?

There are numerous models of health ministry.  Below you will find a sample list of five different models that can be used as part of a faith community’s health ministry.  We encourage you to look at your faith community’s current structure and existing ministries.  Find ways to improve coordination and communications among all ministries by forming an organized health ministry.  Find a model or combination of models that works best for you, your faith community, and your community.

Five Sample Health Ministry Models 

Congregational Health & Wellness Ministry – Many congregations have or are developing organized health ministry that address a faith community’s health internal and external. Health ministry seeks to find common ground among other congregational ministries, such as social justice, religious education, volunteer visitors, hospitality, and youth ministries. Health ministry sees health wholistically.  A Health ministry is representative of faith community and community members.
     Health ministers and faith community nurses often play key roles in health and wellness ministries. Health ministries actively supported by clergy meet regularly to discuss and plan health activities that benefit the congregation as well as the community. A sample of health ministry activities may include support groups, speakers on specific topics, visitation ministries, and advocacy efforts.

Health MinistersHealth ministers are healthcare professionals, barbers, stay at home parents, and lawyers to accountants. They can take be health navigators, wellness coaches, outreach workers, health educators, and health ambassadors, promoters de salud, and health promoters. Health ministers are often part of a health and wellness ministry/team. They can work with faith community nurses  to organize, plan, and evaluate health ministry activities.

Faith Community Nursing -  The American Nurse Association working with the Health Ministries Association approved a new registered nurse certification program for Faith Community Nurses. Faith Community Nursing, formerly known as parish nursing, is a process for active licensed registered nurses to obtain a specialty practice certification by portfolio began in 2014. Some of the key roles of a faith community nurse may include health education, health counseling, referrals, health ministry team coordinator and volunteer coordination.

Hospital/Primary Care Based Congregational Networks - With the Affordable Care Act healthcare legislation emphasizing population based care and improved health care continuity for patients, the health minister and faith community nurse roles shows promise. From a hospital’s and primary care provider’s perspective, these roles are valuable in that they provide linkages and connections into the community, especially faith communities.  With health ministers working together with FCNs in congregational or primary care health and wellness teams or committees, new models will and can emerge.  

Community Based Congregational NetworksHealth ministry teams from different places of worship often join together in local or regional networks to share resources and support each other at regular meetings. Collaborating together the health ministry teams can form a community based network that self-determines their own goals, objectives, and mission.  The community based network model helps to coordinate health actvities in and among faith communities so there is not a duplication of efforts.  As a group they can be a powerful advocate for their faith communities and the community at large.

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