From July 9 to July 13, 2019, the Health Ministries Department of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church will host its third Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle at Loma Linda University. The first Global Conference was held in Geneva in 2009 and has grown since. This will be the first time the conference will be held in the United States.
There are a number of characteristics that will distinguish this year’s conference from those in previous years. One of them is the university’s “vision 2020”. Next year, Loma Linda plans to unveil a brand-new hospital building projected to be one of the most highly-engineered and modern in North America.
This is also the first time a department, like Health Ministries, is partnering with Possibility Ministries, a ministry which works with people who have special needs. Leaders from Health Ministries and Possibility Ministries hope this emphasis inspires people to integrate those with special needs into the everyday life of their church.
Focus This Year
The focus of this year’s conference is to enlighten people about the inextricable relationship of the mind, body, and spirit. The aim is to show how each aspect of our existence influences the other.
People often think of health as something purely physical. However, there’s a strong interaction between mental, physical, social, and spiritual health. Dr. Peter Landless, director of the Health Ministries department for the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, holds this comprehensive inclusivity, represented in the Adventist Health message, should be discussed in the Adventist Church more.
Dr. Landless feels a successful conference would mean people coming to the understanding the Adventist Health message is a wholistic one. It isn’t just the body and what we eat. It is how we sleep, our controlled connectedness to cellular devices and other technology, and how we worship.
It would mean helping the audience grasps the health message isn’t just a self-centered search for wellbeing but rather, improving our health so we can be of better service to others. E.G. White worded it like this, “the more perfect our health, the more perfect our work.”
Speakers and Special Guests
This year’s Global Health and Lifestyle Conference will have top notch speakers from around the world who will share personal and global research on how your brain and body interact and how our lifestyle influences the health of our wholistic being.
Among the presenters are Gary Frazer, long time principal investigator of the Adventist health study; David Williams, a Harvard graduate and one of the most recognized scholars in the world; and Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church.
Wilson supports the total health relationship theory and is also an advocate for
comprehensive health ministry. Comprehensive health ministry asserts that health is integral to every ministry in the church. Every age, group, and demographic needs health.
Impact and Testimonies
The first two conferences in Geneva have had an undeniable impact on communities globally.
Williams Costa, director of communication for the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, said, “It was amazing to see people from all around the world converging to promote preventative health. The reason for most sicknesses is that people are following the wrong lifestyle. Seeing so many nations come together to promote that message was extraordinary.”
On a trip to Europe, some people from the region told Dr. Peter Landless, “We’re sorry it’s not in Europe but it changed our lives and the approach to the way we think about health.”
While having the quinquennial conference in the United States has an abundance of benefits, including this year’s venue being the beautiful campus of Loma Linda, it is a challenge to get people to attend from overseas due to the difficulty of obtaining visas.
When asked what would happen when the conference finished, Dr. Landless answered, “it’s not going to be finished until Jesus comes. The work continues. We’re not geared for running from event to event; this is a journey. This is a journey to inspire divisions, to inspire institutions, to inspire conferences, to inspire churches to continue this work all year round.”
He added the goal is for every church to be a community health center, and every member a health educator or medical missionary. “It’s important to understand that this is not an event driven thing, but a journey that continues,” he clarified.
If you’d like to be a part of that journey and find out more about this conference and similar ministries, you can visit conference.healthministries.comor you can use the hashtag #GCHL19 to follow along on social media.