When Adventist Health Calls

Over the past four months our family has been anguishing over some job offers—three of which we considered seriously. The thought of eventually leaving our beloved friends and family here in Walla Walla feels overwhelming; yet through this process we have tried to remain open-minded to the calling of God.

When calls have come in the past I have indicated no interest in doing the same thing somewhere else that I'm doing here. There's no question in my mind that as far as being a pastor in a church, there is no better church in the world than what we enjoy here in College Place.

The recent calls, however, have been decidedly different. Since my education has been in business as well as theology, I have always had a dream to stretch my career challenges to include the business side of my training. The calling to a pulpit ministry, however, beats as strong in my heart today as it ever has.

In the end, we accepted a dual job: I will pastor the Kettering Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ohio, and I will work in strategic planning and mission for the Kettering Network of Adventist hospitals. In this role I will continue to proclaim the gospel in the pulpit of a local church, and I will be involved in shaping the mission of Adventist health care in that community.

I have always believed strongly in this statement by Ellen G. White: "Medical missionary work is the right hand of the gospel. It is necessary to the advancement of the cause of God. As through it men and women are led to see the importance of right habits of living, the saving power of the truth will be made known."1 Moreover, I believe that our hospitals represent the most credible platform we have to bridge our churches with our communities. To explore and build this synergy between the church, community, and our medical centers is an exciting opportunity for me.

It is in this context of personally wrestling with the decision to uproot and head east that the GLEANER editor sent me an e-mail informing me that the theme of this issue is: "The ‘Building' of Adventist Health—Past, Present and Future. The focus will be on the different aspects of ‘building' at Adventist Health—building people, building community, building services, etc."

It is my fervent desire to grab a hammer and help with the construction of Adventist health care. I want to be a part of building people, building community and building services. What about you?

This calling may not involve a career change for you. But you can help in the building of Adventist health care in many ways. Consider, for example, these seven suggestions:

• Begin by living the principles of Adventist health care. Friends and neighbors will notice.

• As far as possible, support our health institutions by visiting them for your medical needs.

• Pray for the administrators and practitioners in the Adventist health care system.

• Practice the CREATION Health lifestyle. See www.creationhealth.com for more information.

• Read about the history of Adventist health care. Be sure to explore what Ellen G. White envisioned for health ministry in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

• Visit an Adventist hospital or clinic. Bring some cookies and a thank-you note for the staff.

• Tell your friends and neighbors about what makes Adventist health care unique.

I leave you with this prayer: "May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ."2

1 Ellen G. White, Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 7, 59.

2 1 Thessalonians 5:23, The Message.

Featured in: October 2007


Karl Haffner

Walla Walla University Church senior pastor, 1997–2007

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