Maintaining Good Health
By Rodney Boyd
We just finished another itineration the end of June! Only a missionary understands all the clearances that we must achieve before we’re allowed to return to our country of calling. One of those clearances was being pronounced in “good health, able to serve in Panama.” We were required to undergo full physical exams, x-rays and blood tests. The last thing that I wanted to do after a few months of itinerating was get on the doctor’s scale. I’m pretty sure they are calibrated 20 pounds heavier than our home scale! The main reason for these periodic exams is to detect problems before they get serious in order to maintain good health.
The required AGWM check-up is a good thing. I was raised in a family that only went to the doctor when there was a physical problem. We’re probably not alone in our tendency to put off periodic exams. Conventional wisdom suggests that in order to prevent problems that could be avoided and mitigate serious ones that may be inevitable. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! One of my favorite poems is entitled “A Fence or an Ambulance” (included at the end of this article). Would it be better to run an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff to pick up the fallen or build a fence at the top to prevent their fall?
Periodic physical exams help to evaluate the functions of the body. Doctors take measurements and test samples to detect abnormalities in the body. Frequently, they are able to diagnose problems and prescribe specific regimens of diet, exercise and medication. At times, routine exams may reveal other problems that require more extensive testing that require more skilled analysis. For example, through a blood test and analysis, doctors are able to see markers that may indicate possible problems, vitamin deficiencies and/or imbalance that could affect vital organs. An analysis measures the interrelationship of body functions that affect vitality, energy and the overall health of the person.
There is a key connection between our attitude and taking care of ourselves physically. As children of the Creator of the Universe, we declare with the psalmist, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it” (Psalm 139:14, NLT). The design and complexity of the human body is amazing. We affirm that an important part of our gratefulness with our Creator is taking care of ourselves. The Apostle Paul recognized our role as good stewards in maintaining physical health:
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20, NLV)
If you’ve made it this far in the article, you may be wondering, what does this have to do with ACLAME or with my ministry as a discipler, teacher, trainer or mentor? Many of the principles related to physical wellness and wellbeing also apply to the body of Christ and its different members and ministries. SEC is currently conducting some important tests of its member ministries and of the whole organization. SEC stands for Servicio de Educación Cristiana, Christian Education Services in English – the umbrella Christian education ministry that serves the 20 Spanish-speaking countries in LAC. We’re doing this not because we’re sick, rather we want to maintain good health!
We’ve been working three years working on diagnosing the function of SEC’s vital organs, the interrelationship of our organization and ministries that affect our vitality. We are calling this process Vision 2020 that includes three batteries of diagnostics related to strategic planning for eight of our core ministries:
Core Values and DNA. Each ministry is answering these questions:
- What are our core values?
- How did our ministry begin?
- What were the purposes in the beginning?
- What was important and what continues to be important?
Mission and Vision Statements. Each ministry is reviewing its missions and vision statements, updating and refining its reason for being and passion, whether or not its statements adequately reflect the core values and DNA of its ministry.
Vision 2020: Projecting ministry to the year 2020. Each ministry is tasked with describing its ministry as it sees itself in the year 2020 in the following areas:
- Core Values
- Contribution to the Mission-Vision of SEC
- Organizational Structure and Headquarters
- Administration and Personnel
- Financial Support and Infrastructure
- Teaching Plan, Materials and Resources
- Alliances, Agreements and Accreditation/Certification
In addition, each ministry is asked to consider these questions as part of its projections:
- What steps would need to be taken?
- What resources would need to be obtained?
- What deficiencies and weaknesses would need to be strengthened?
- What changes would need to be made?
The SEC Directory Board, comprised of the National Superintendents, National Directors of Christian Education and the administrative Committee (international ministry leaders), will be meeting the end of August in Managua, Nicaragua. Vision 2020 plays a prominent role in the agenda of the meeting. We will hear the individual Vision 2020 diagnostics of the individual ministries, then together we will look to the Great Doctor to guide us to improve and fine tune the individual ministries and collective ministry of SEC.
I share this with you to encourage you to maintain good health, whether physical, spiritual, ministerial and/or organizational! I invite you to conduct your own Vision 2020 diagnostic. Follow the model above, as an individual or as an organization. It probably won’t be comfortable to get on the scales. But it will help you maintain good health! Remember, an ounce of prevention…
A Fence or an Ambulance?
By Joseph Malinas
‘Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confess.
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant.
But over its terrible edge there had slipped a Duke
And full many a peasant.
So the people said, Something would have to be done.
But their projects did not at all tally.
Some said, put a fence ‘round the edge of the cliff.
Some an ambulance down in the valley.
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day.
For it spread through the neighboring city.
A fence may be useful or not, it is true
But each heart became brim full of pity.
For those who had slipped o’er that dangerous cliff.
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds or gave pence
Not to put up a fence, but an ambulance down in the valley.
For the cliff is all right if you are careful, they said.
And if folks even slip and are dropping,
It isn’t the slipping that hurts them so much
As the shock down below when they’re stopping.
So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,
Quickly forth would these rescuers sally
To pick up the victims who fell of the cliff
With their ambulance down in the valley.
Then an old sage remarked, It’s a marvel to me
That people give far more attention
To repairing results than to stopping the cause.
When they’d much better aim at prevention.
Let us stop at its source all this mischief cried he.
Come neighbors and friends, let us rally.
If the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley.
Oh, he’s a fanatic, the others rejoined.
Dispense with the ambulance? Never!
He’d dispense with all charities too, if he could.
No! No! We’ll support them forever.
Aren’t we picking up folks just as fast as they fall?
And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?
Why should people of sense stop to put up a fence?
While the ambulance works in the valley?
But a sensible few, who are practical too
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer.
They believe that prevention is better than cure.
And their party will soon be the stronger.
Encourage them, then, with your purse, voice and pen.
And while other philanthropists dally,
They will scorn all pretense and put a stout fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.
Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old.
For the voice of true wisdom is calling.
To rescue the fallen is good.
But ‘til best to prevent other people from falling.
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than deliver from dungeon or galley.
Better put a strong fence ‘round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.