The mission of the NAD Health Ministries department is: Sharing hope and wholeness through the healing power of Christ.
This echos the mission of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, which is: To REACH North America with the distinctive, Christ-centered Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness.
The vision of Health Ministries is to equip and inspire all church members to shine the love of God to all in need. Ellen G. White, early pioneer of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, health advocate, and voice of instruction to the church, shared a special message that summarizes the role that every Adventist should serve in their community.
I was in vision taken to heaven, and the angel said to me, “Look!” I looked to the world as it was in dense darkness. The agony that came over me was indescribable as I saw this darkness.
Again the word came, “Look ye.” And again I looked intensely over the world, and I began to see jets of light like stars dotted all through this darkness; and then I saw another and another added light, and so all through this moral darkness the star-like lights were increasing. And the angel said, “These are they that believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and are obeying the words of Christ. These are the light of the world; and if it were not for these lights, the judgments of God would immediately fall upon the transgressors of God’s law.” I saw then these little jets of light growing brighter, shining forth from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and lighting the whole world.
Occasionally one of these lights would begin to grow dim, and others would go out, and every time this occurred there was sadness and weeping in heaven. And some of the lights would grow brighter and brighter, and their brightness was far-reaching, and many more lights were added to it. Then there was rejoicing in heaven. I saw that the rays of light came directly from Jesus, to form these precious jets of light in the world.
Selected Messages, Volume 1, p. 76
We believe in four foundational principles that guide our philosophy and work, quoted below from the General Conference Adventist Health Ministries (http://healthministries.com):
Inspiration: We believe the Word of God is the very best guide to making careful and wise choices in every area of life, including those things that impact our health. We are also grateful for the amplification these Biblical principles in the writings of Ellen G. White.
Evidence: We operate under the conviction that God is the author of all true science. Therefore, we respect evidence which stands up to the rigors of careful examination and analysis according to accepted scientific principles. We believe this is vital in a world filled with misinformation and falsehood.
Balance: Even good things can be taken to excess. Therefore, we are deeply committed to balance–physical, mental, social and spiritual–in every aspect of life to support health, happiness and healing.
Relationships: Social support is essential to human existence and health. Positive relationships with family, friends, community and God play a significant role in personal health, productivity, and our ability to help others. It supports and aids healing as well.
Joseph Bates, pioneer of the Adventist church, began working for the cause of temperance as early as 1827. But the first united move to start a temperance program came in 1863 with the organization of the Seventh-day Adventist church.
In the April, 1877 issue of the Health Reformer, Ellen White penned the words, “True temperance teaches us to abstain entirely from that which is injurious, and to use judiciously only healthful and nutritious articles of food.”
Shortly after that the church organized the American Health and Temperance Association, which later became the International Health and Temperance Association. In 1893 the Adventist Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association was organized for overall guidance of the denomination’s medical work, including temperance, with J. H. Kellogg, M.D., as president.
In 1905 the Medical Missionary Department (or council) of the General Conference was organized. The temperance work, however, continued to be conducted primarily by the American Temperance Society, and later by a separate Temperance Department.
The Medical Missionary Department name was changed to the Medical Department at the General Conference and, in the late 1960s, the name was changed to Health Department. In 1980, when departments were being downsized, it was voted to combine the departments of Health and Temperance, and later in 1996 the North American Division recommended that the name Health and Temperance Department be changed to Adventist Health Ministries Department.