in physical, spiritual, mental and social health
and, through operation of a primary care
church-owned clinic, offer tools to the community
for that same restoration while respecting
each individual's freedom of choice.”
—Total Health Physician Group mission statement
Our mission is innovative and prayerfully ambitious, encompassing both the lives of our patients and the health of our churches.
The Mission as Health Care
Within the walls of our Total Health Physician Group clinics, that mission takes shape with five core premises:
A focus on disease prevention. Although Total Health Physician Group offers patients the best of what modern medicine has to offer with a full arsenal of internal medicine and family practice services, its distinction is the emphasis on prevention. Beyond addressing immediate health concerns, clinic doctors view themselves as coaches who help patients accomplish wellness objectives they set for themselves.
A commitment to whole person care that integrates spirituality. As Seventh-day Adventists have always believed, and modern medical research continues to prove, good health involves more than the physical. It requires balance that includes the social, mental, emotional and spiritual spheres, and that's a concept that dominates the Total Health Physician Group approach. In a non-threatening way, patients are exposed, perhaps for the first time, to this critical truth. As an example, patients are made aware, and almost always appreciate, that physicians and staff start each day praying for every patient, by name.
A respect for every patient's choices. Physicians at the clinic are committed to spending whatever time is needed to help them physically and spiritually. “Our goal is to give our patients the information they need to make decisions about their own health,” says Spady. “But we leave the final decision to them.”
Commitment to science and revelation. These principles have come about because of our commitment to what has been learned in both science and God's word. While there is a trend to throw out science in some circles today, Spady emphasizes the clinic's paramount respect for solid medical science.
A belief that a church-clinic partnership is the most effective model for healing. Accomplishing the task of whole person care and disease prevention can best take place when the pastor and physician work closely together, and the clinic and church work closely together. While Spady recognizes there are other viable models, in his particular case, he felt that having the clinic owned by the conference was important to creating a strong partnership, an idea he drew from his study of the writings of Ellen White. In particular, Spady refers to a passage in Testimonies , Volume 6, p. 235: “As the medical missionary work becomes more extended there will be a temptation to make it independent of our conferences. But it has been presented to me that this plan is not right. The different lines of our work are but parts of one great whole. They have one center.”
The Mission as Soul Care
Outside the clinics, we work hand in hand with our local Seventh-day Adventist churches, creating a community of caring that extends far beyond our consultation rooms. Our Total Health Physician Group doors may close at 5 p.m., but our philosophy encourages a ministry that is active and collaborative 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We see church involvement as a critical part of our success, offering two principal benefits: meeting the complete needs of our patients and revitalizing our congregations. We are eager to help close the gap between Seventh-day Adventist spiritual and health care missions. Since physical and spiritual health is inseparable, the Total Health Physician Group philosophy aims to weave those elements together in an all-encompassing and evangelistic health care ministry.
Our dream extends beyond our own community. We hope that we can be a catalyst for other communities, and long for a day when there can be a clinic in every town where there is, or should be, a Seventh-day Adventist church, and where every member of the local church can serve as a medical missionary.
In one local Adventist church, for example, as many as half of its members have turned out for a monthly “service day”, where we distribute a list we’ve compiled of patients who could use a little extra help. Following a fellowship potluck, members scatter to rake leaves, clean homes, take people for walks or a variety of other tasks. Through these personal interactions, we’ve observed a change in ourselves and in the health of our church, and we look forward to the day when every clinic patient will have a partner in the church, someone to help and support their efforts toward total health.
Bringing it all together
By treating the whole person and creating team-oriented partnerships between local churches, pastors and health care professionals, the medical work of the Seventh-day Adventist church can achieve new levels of outreach. While still in its beginning stages, this innovative ministry is already revitalizing local churches, changing the lives of patients and transforming the lives of clinic members.
Find out more! An Active Ministry