Lausanne Movement Launches ‘Health in Mission’ Issue Network to Connect Health Influencers for Global Mission

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nagoya, Japan – 15 July 2015 Dr Michael Soderling (USA) and Martha Mwendafilumba (Zambia) were named co-Senior Associates of the Lausanne Movement’s new ‘Health in Mission’ issue network. The network will connect Christian health influencers globally to recover the integrated practice and biblical ideas of health, healing, and wholeness in global mission. The Health in Mission Network joins 35 other Lausanne networks focused on priority issues in mission today.

The church has historically been involved in healing the sick, and for good reason—the very heart of Jesus’ ministry included the integration of preaching, teaching, and discipling, with works of deliverance and healing. Today this integrated approach has often been lost. Western models tend to show a strong emphasis solely on curative care, relying mainly on individuals coming to healthcare facilities to receive high quality treatment for their disease. On the other extreme, some ‘faith healing’ ministries rely only on prayer and ritual means such as anointing with oil, denying that healthcare resources are God-given and complementary to prayer and supplication.

The ideas of health, healing, and wholeness have been employed by proponents of the ‘health and wealth’ gospel in ways that make it necessary to reclaim these terms in their biblical understanding and usage. The Lausanne Health in Mission Network will connect a cross-disciplinary group that includes theologians, pastors, anthropologists, educators, and healthcare professionals to tackle these challenges together.

‘Although making people whole was so central to Jesus’ ministry, today the notion is more linked to prosperity theology, and even to the New Age movement or Eastern religions. One of our responses to this challenge was to convene a Global Consultation on Prosperity Theology, Poverty, and the Gospel in March 2014. Following that consultation, our prayers for continued engagement in this area were answered by Dr Mike Soderling and Martha Mwendafilumba, who in recent years had been building a global network of Christian health influencers. We are pleased to see this network join our other 35 issue networks and fulfill The Cape Town Commitment’s call on “all local Christian communities to demonstrate respect for the unique dignity and sanctity of human life, by practical and holistic caring which integrates the physical, emotional, relational and spiritual aspects of our created humanity”’, said David Bennett, Chief Collaboration Officer for the Lausanne Movement.

After ten years of private practice as an obstetrician and gynecologist in the USA, Michael Soderling (MD, MBA) followed a calling to live and serve in Guatemala from 2001 to 2012. There he co-founded Transformational Health, focusing on community health development projects, and Partnership in Women’s Ministry, which runs a shelter for abused women. He is currently working on developing the Fountain School for Community and Global Health through William Carey International University and is co-founder of the Christian Journal for Global Health. He leads the Center for Health in Mission based at the Venture Center (formerly the US Center for World Mission) in California, USA.

Martha Mwendafilumba has been serving as a medical nurse in Zambia since 1980. She has worked with CARE International, Global Network for Women and Children’s Health, World Vision, and the Centre for Infections and Disease Research Zambia. Martha interacts regularly with the Zambian government in technical committees and participates in developing guidelines, policies, and training manuals for health workers. She is also a board member and the Africa Regional President of Nurses Christian Fellowship International (NCFI).

‘It’s a privilege that the Health in Mission network can continue as part of the Lausanne Movement, and this is a unique opportunity for us to equip the global church to work for the health of the whole person—mind, body, and soul—when taking the gospel to all the world. The network aims to connect Christian health influencers globally to collaborate and share innovative ideas about how to more fully and effectively integrate ministries of health, healing, and wholeness into the work of the church that Christ may be known among all peoples’, Dr Soderling said.

Martha Mwendafilumba commented, ‘When you work in healthcare as a Christian, you cannot help but long for making the person in front of you whole, caring for his soul as well, not just curing his sickness. We have a unique opportunity and a privileged position to share the love of God with a humble heart. As a nurse, I know on the practical level how affirming and encouraging it is to be part of a global network of brothers and sisters with the same passion to help people get into the life God intended for them.’

 

CONTACT

For more information and interview inquiries, please contact Attila Nyari at [email protected]

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BACKGROUND

The Lausanne Movement grew out of the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization convened in Lausanne, Switzerland, by Rev Billy Graham. John Stott was chief architect of The Lausanne Covenant. The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (October 2010) in Cape Town, South Africa, brought together 4,000 Christian leaders representing 198 countries. The Cape Town Commitment serves as the blueprint for the Movement’s activities. Learn more about the Movement.

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