Communities across the United States are grappling with issues on every front. Budget crises, education dilemmas, social and health services are just a few. The church has been given the task of taking the gospel to the world. Our church has a special gift that many are overlooking. The global health concern has set the foundation for the Seventh-day Adventist Church to take the leading role in restoring the health of the nation beginning in the community in which we live.
In 2014, New Beginnings Adventist Church in Wichita, Kansas took on the task of providing its first health fair. The event consisted of 14 vendors and 100 participants. Our strategy changed in 2015 with a seminar provided by Philanthropic Services to Institutions. PSI helped us develop a clear strategy for fundraising with a list of donors, vendors and volunteers, effective solicitation and enticing presentations. The new strategies we employed doubled our success to 27 vendors and over 200 participants.
Some examples of how we utilized the fundraising strategies included the solicitation of an organization that focused on detecting breast cancer early, which spearheaded the Health Fair networking and contributed enormous resources in printing, advertising, and manpower. They offered their services freely and assisted in all areas to make this event successful.
Our presentation to Caranother local health organization with a vision to serve all citizens with and without insurance, resulted with them partnering with us to provide needed and preventive services such as blood pressure, glucose, PSA, cholesterol checks and mammograms. This organization listened to our plans and voluntarily donated $3,500 in monetary contributions and over $5,000 in health related services. They also have an employee representing their organization on the Health Fair planning committee. This organization has offered these and more services for the Health Fair in 2016.
Another non-profit group came as a vendor to offer their services and wanted to become a sponsoring partner. They are now assisting us and other churches in securing funding for summer feeding and after school programs. A follow-up evaluation was sent to each vendor participant for feedback. Along with suggestions to improve, some vendors requested to help plan the next Health Fair. Our partnering with PSI enabled us to be more effective in networking with these community resources.
The church and the community are one when it comes to the citizens of the world. Ellen White tells us that “The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, "Follow Me."
May God help us to emulate Christ and hasten His second coming each and every day.
Carlos McConico pastors the New Beginnings Church in Wichita, Kansas