Churches that promote health bring life to neighbors

Families learned about healthy lifestyles at the Fort Worth Health Fair, organized by Iglesia Victoria en Cristo . (Photo / Isa Torres)

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FORT WORTH—To bring health services to the community and help churches discover ways they can promote health, Iglesia Victoria en Cristo served as host to the Fort Worth Health Fair.

Carlos Valencia, pastor of Iglesia Victoria en Cristo in Fort Worth

“We want to promote to access to health services, help churches identify the resources in the community and encourage church members to practice ways to prevent health issues,” said Carlos Valencia, pastor of Victoria en Cristo and coordinator of Faith Community Health of West Dallas at Baylor Scott & White.

Through the connection of Faith Community Health and local churches, Valencia said, pastors can encourage church members to practice healthier lifestyles, as well as provide knowledge about available health services.

“The program began with the aim of reducing the number of patients who have to return to the hospital after they have been treated,” Valencia said.

While the concept started at a medical center, Valencia also mentioned the importance of promoting health from the pulpit.

“Churches have to be agents of change,” he said. “We have to be agents of change in the lives of our neighbors.”

When churches aim to bring change to the whole person, then they look more like the church Jesus calls them to be, said Valencia.

“We have to look at the whole person,” he said. “The care must be for the soul, spirit and body of a person.”

This type of care brings transformation to the person and then also transforms others in the community, Valencia noted.

“That is what an integral gospel does,” he said.

The fair offered screenings for diabetes, cholesterol and high-blood pressure, as well as mammograms. It also included workshops on physical, emotional and mental health, as well as classes on financial health

Valencia particularly wants to help other pastors of churches that may lack large budgets by pointing them to available resources.

“God does call us to act, but that call does not come without him providing us with the resources,” Valencia said.

By tackling health issues in the community surrounding the church, a congregation brings more life to its neighbors, Valencia noted.

“Our vision has to bring a revolution to our surroundings,” he said. While that may look like a difficult challenge, Valencia said, the church can trust “God will provide the resources needed to do so.”

Hundreds of people received health screenings and visited other health nonprofit organizations represented at the fair, Valencia said.

“We can see there are always other people who want to be a blessing to others,” he added. “By blessing others, we ourselves are also blessed.”


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