Links to other sites
Church Health Reader
For more information on health ministry and wellness, visit www.CHReader.org
Church Health Center
Discover the new face of healthcare, visit
It may take a moment for your information to be submitted.
New Health and Wellness Series Coming Soon!
40 Days to Better Living
This exciting series on better living will ultimately include books on hypertension, diabetes, depression, smoking cessation, stress management, and other key health topics.
Q&A with the Church Health Center about the 40 Days to Better Living series
Q: How would you define a life “well-lived”?
Life for life’s sake is not worth much. A life well-lived is a life full of joy and love, a life full of those things which drive us closer to God.
Q: Why is the care of the spirit just as important as the care of the body?
People think you can separate the spirit from the body and deal with them independently, but this is simply not a Christian concept. We are made in God’s image and God’s spirit is in each of us. Our bodies and our spirits are one. When we are sick, our spirit suffers. When our spirit aches, we are often hurt physically, too.
Q: How would you reply to the person who says that our spirit is the only thing that matters because our bodies are going to die anyway?
Just as Christ was a servant to others, we are directed to be the same to our brothers and sisters. To serve God fully, we must be as healthy as we can be. God can use crippled bodies as well as fully-functional bodies, but it is important for us to care for ourselves in ways which maximize our ability to serve God and others.
Q: Beginnings are always difficult. What counsel would you give to someone who has tried and failed repeatedly to “live better” and is overwhelmed with the prospects of trying again?
A common mistake people make when trying to live better or turn their life around is to set goals that are either unobtainable or simply too long term and so frustration can easily set in. Rather than set a goal to lose fifty pounds, most people would be more successful if they chose to lose ten pounds five different times. The beauty of our 40 Days series is that we ask the reader to make small changes each day so they can take joy in the small steps they are taking.
Q: You mention seven elements in your book that need to be addressed for ultimate health. Can you briefly name and define each one?
Our “Model for Healthy Living” has seven elements:
Q: Do you propose a specific diet or a list of foods that you can and cannot eat?
No. For the vast majority of people, moderation is the key. Our major emphasis is portion control above all—eating a meat portion that is no larger than a deck of cards, for example. We also emphasize alternative ways to prepare favorite foods—trimming away excess fat, using salt alternatives and maintaining flavor while preparing the food in a way that is a bit healthier.
Q: Do you see any benefit in keeping an “emotional” diary or a “food” journal?
When you write your choices down, two things happen: One, you have to claim and own what you have written down. Two, by writing down your emotions and/or your food choices, you can get a snapshot of the choices you are making throughout the day and what has impacted those decisions. This allows you to begin to apply what you already know to yourself. It also lets you identify triggers that can lead you to make poorer choices.
Q: Should your family and friends be enlisted to help you on your path to wellness, or is it better to keep your goals and aspirations to yourself?
Everyone needs a coach or an accountability partner. By maintaining honesty with someone else, we also maintain honesty with ourselves.
Q: You very obviously believe that faith undergirds all wellness. We can clearly see how faith is important to wellness, but how is wellness important to faith?
I think of faith as a practice, as something I work at each day. Just as practicing an instrument allows me to become better each day, my faith grows deeper with each day that I live it to the fullest. If I am not well, if I am not living to my fullest potential, I can’t practice my faith to its fullest.
Q: You speak a great deal of “community.” Why is it a necessary part of our journey to health?
Christianity is practiced in community…in churches throughout the world every day. When we are part of a loving, faithful community, we will be less likely to feel isolated and we will be more likely to feel camaraderie and support from others. Although they are on their own journey, it is a journey that is taking place alongside of ours and we can help each other through.
Q: How much does our work affect our total sense of well-being?
Our “Model of Healthy Living” has seven elements, and we must seek to be healthy in all seven. Many people spend a third or more of their lives working. You can say it is a problem in our society, but the fact of the matter is that most of us are at work more than we are with our families. Because work is such a central presence in our lives, the highs and lows of our work day will impact our lives significantly. We must acknowledge this and seek to find a balance in our lives that allows us to be cognizant of the other six elements that make us healthy.
Q: What role does laughter and fun play in total wellness?
I think of laughter as a good marker of overall well-being. I believe a number of aspects of one’s
life have to be in reasonable balance to make room for laughter and fun. So on one hand, your ability to laugh and have fun can be indicative of your overall wellness. But I also see laughter and fun as healing in and of itself. Again, our “Model of Healthy Living” has seven elements, and an important one is family and friends, where I hope much laughter and fun can take place.
Q: We all would prefer quick change, instant healing and reward without effort. Why do you think God, more often than not, works in the struggle and difficulty, bit by bit, day by day?
I think of life as a journey that is intimately connected with God. But while God is always with us, God is not pulling the strings of our lives as though we are marionettes. So, we journey through life with God’s steadfast presence to support us through all aspects of our lives—those high points, those low points and all those points in between.