|Wilfley Tapped to Lead Health Ministries in Western Washington||Email | Print|
by Heidi Baumgartner; Source: Washington Conference, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Wilfley is the new prayer ministries, church growth and health ministries director for Washington Conference.
Kevin Wilfley remembers fingering through his mother’s large home library of health books and seeing names such as nutritionist Adelle Davis and herbal remedies pioneer Jethro Kloss. They weren’t Adventists (yet), but his mother was interested in healthful living. When the family joined the Adventist church, Wilfley began reading Adventist literature about health, diet and exercise.
“From the time I first studied our health message and decided to yield my heart in this matter, I believed that the health message had great potential for introducing people to Jesus,” Wilfley says. “I see this as an opportunity to win souls for Christ as well as encouraging a healthy lifestyle.”
Wilfley, who previously served as Washington Conference prayer ministries coordinator and Enumclaw Adventist Church pastor, will be transitioning into an expanded, full-time ministry role at the conference office in January 2015. Wilfley will be serving as the prayer ministries, church growth and health ministries director for Washington Conference.
Throughout his 36 years of ministry in Upper Columbia, Oregon and Washington conferences, Wilfley focused on prayer ministry, the work of Holy Spirit, evangelism, and health.
“I’ve organized health activities in my churches for years, but never thought about leading health ministries for the conference,” Wilfley says. “This was just something I did as a part of my ministry.”
Wilfley, for example, was the founder of the Mid-Columbia Half Marathon that held a running event for 20 years with hundreds of people participating in Hood River, Ore. He also organized Refresh, a huge fair in Spokane, Wash., that spotlighted health ministry and attracted 8,000 people from the community. Additional health ministry events include cooking classes, health fairs, stop smoking clinics, addiction clinics and more.
Wilfley finds balance in his life by spending time with his wife, Dolly, interacting with his three adult children and five grandchildren, and pursuing his classical guitar, pastel painting and woodworking hobbies.
He is a frequently requested speaker for camp meetings, pastors’ meetings, church retreats, and school week of prayers. His speaking itinerary since 1989 has taken him all over North America and even to Scotland.
“Whenever I speak on health, I always make people upset,” Wilfley says with a chuckle. “Extremes don’t lead to good health. In fact, I wish the last 10 chapters of Counsel on Diet and Foods [by Adventist Church co-founder Ellen G. White] would have been first 10 chapters. It covers balance and how to make changes. Most people don’t read that far.”
Wilfley spends hours each week researching various topics relating to evangelism, spirituality, health and wellness. “I read constantly,” he says. “I collect information and find ways to share it.”
High on his reading list: Ellen White’s book on the ministry of healing. “Ministry of Healing should be on the top three books to read about health,” Wilfley says. “It is an amazing book on health.”
Health Ministry Plans
Plans for health ministry in western Washington are already starting to take shape. In addition to a Spiritual Growth Triathlon in January 2015 that involves Bible study, prayer and exercise, Wilfley is also planning a biathlon later in the year. (The Health Van previously operated by this department is in transition to a local church.)
“Churches need to develop a practical health ministry to interface with their community,” Wilfley believes. “We need to have an easy-to-follow health guide for every member of the church about making healthy choices for them and their family.”
Wilfley hopes to offer community health education classes on topics such as exercise, balanced nutrition, and trust in God.
“These are the top three laws of health that people neglect the most,” Wilfley says. “Of all the eight laws of health, the law we violate the most is exercise.”
The eight laws of health are commonly defined in the Adventist church as nutrition, exercise, water, sunlight, temperance, air, rest and trust in God.
Beyond developing plans for increasing the health and wellness of individuals, families and churches, Wilfley has a bigger dream.
“My dream would be to have an Adventist health center somewhere in Seattle where people could come for educational classes, a deli, exercise facility, and medical help,” Wilfley says.
The first step toward this dream: developing a network of health professionals and leaders who are interested in an evangelistic approach to health ministries.
Wilfley will be hosting a brainstorming session on January 10, 2015, at 3 pm at Washington Conference office in Federal Way, Wash., for pastors, health care professionals and other interested in the ministry of health and wellness.
“We need to discuss and pray about practical ways to make health ministries evangelistic,” Wilfley says.
Attend a Health Ministries Brainstorming Session
January 10, 2015, 3 pm
Washington Conference Office in Federal Way
Pastors, health care professionals and anyone with an interest in health ministry are invited to a brainstorming session about how to make health ministry evangelistic and practical. This will be a time to talk, share, pray and glean ideas.