REPORT

Financing the Church

Medical Work

Do you remember being taught as a child to include the missionaries, colporteurs, doctors and nurses and still others in your prayers? Many of the mission stories that we heard were about missionary doctors and nurses confronting horrible diseases in

their patients or performing surgery under very primitive conditions. Given the

general improvement of basic medical conditions around the world, does the

Adventist Church still have a role in healthcare? If so, how does the church

finance it?



Adventist hospitals and sanitariums around the world had an average daily inpatient census of 15,672 and a total of more than 14,196,000 outpatient visits for that year.

Annual Statistical Report 2013

Status

of the Healthcare Work

According to

the “Annual Statistical Report

2013” (reporting statistics as of

the end of 2011), Adventist hospitals and sanitariums around the world had an

average daily inpatient census of 15,672 and a total of more than 14,196,000

outpatient visits for that year. This represents a large number of people

(especially when considering the entire family of the patient) that have the

potential to be exposed to Jesus’ message of healing for body, mind and spirit!

In addition, the total number of employees at Adventist healthcare-related

facilities was more than 107,000 people worldwide. The growth in number of

institutions can be seen in the chart.



Financing

Adventist hospitals

and clinics are typically considered to be either self-funded or

mission-funded. Of the latter type of institution, many were established in

locations based on the level of need in the local population rather than places

where the local community could afford to pay appropriate fees for their

healthcare. Therefore, these institutions rely on varying types of support for

their continued operation.



Some of these

mission-funded institutions receive outright subsidies from their local mission

or union organization in order to carry on their service to humanity in the

name of Jesus. Another important type of care may come in the form of medical

and dental personnel classified as interdivision missionaries if personnel with

the necessary skills are not available locally.



“If ever the Lord has spoken by me, He speaks when I say that the workers engaged in educational lines, in ministerial lines, and in medical-missionary lines must stand as a unit, all laboring under the supervision of God, one helping the other, each blessing each”

Ellen G. White

The General

Conference and division-secretariat personnel recruit and send these church

employees to their various assignments around the world. Currently, there are

101 healthcare personnel serving in this capacity. While 38 of these are paid

completely from the patient revenue of their institution, 63 are funded

primarily from world mission offerings collected by the General Conference (GC Interdivision Personnel Resources & Services, Sept. 22, 2013).



COMPREHENSIVE

HEALTH EVANGELISM

From our early days

as a Church, we embraced the health message as an important part of our

mission. Later on, in 1909 Ellen G. White presented an urgent reminder to the

General Conference: “If ever the Lord has spoken by me, He speaks when I say

that the workers engaged in educational lines, in ministerial lines, and in

medical-missionary lines must stand as a unit, all laboring under the

supervision of God, one helping the other, each blessing each” (Testimonies to the Church, Vol.9, p. 169).



Although that message was presented more

than one hundred years ago, today the General Conference is once again issuing

a plea for comprehensive health evangelism in the ministry of the Church as we

seek to bring healing to our communities both physically and spiritually. While

traditional mission-funded healthcare structures will continue to play a role

in the outreach of the church, the call for comprehensive health evangelism

will provide new avenues for church members to demonstrate holistic stewardship

principles by contributing their time and God-given abilities to

less-institutionalized methods.



Ray Wahlen
Ray followed in the missionary footsteps of his grandparents

(China) and parents (Korea) when he and his wife served the Church in Singapore

and Guam for eight years. He currently serves missionaries as a co-director of

International Personnel Resources and Services (IPRS) and an associate

treasurer at the General Conference.

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