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During his earthly life Jesus made healing a central part of his ministry. He cured people of all kinds of diseases, even death itself, sometimes by simply touching a person and speaking a word. When Jesus sent the disciples out into the world (Mark 6:7) they were given three tasks: preaching, teaching and healing. In the 2,000 years since then, Christians have been closely involved with health, healing and wholeness. There is an impressive tradition of Christian engagement in health ministry upon which to establish a vision for the 21st century.
Many people have accepted the secularist approach which prioritises science over faith, particularly in matters of medicine and health. The integrated model of preaching, teaching and healing that Jesus practiced is viewed with suspicion in 21st-century medical practice. However the Church, and The Salvation Army in particular, must resist being squeezed out by the forces of health specialisation and commercialism. Health and healing is much more than the business of doctors, nurses and health professionals and ever increasing technology. The health ministry offers 21st-century Salvationists an opportunity to witness to ‘wholeness’.
The Salvation Army seeks to be a significant participant in the delivery of faith-based, integrated, high quality primary health care as close to the family as possible, giving priority to poor and marginalised members of society. The Salvation Army offers education programmes that equip health workers with appropriate skills and experience as well as developing commitment to holistic Christian health ministry. Primary Health Care (PHC) requires bringing quality health programmes as close to the family as possible. The Salvation Army is well placed to do this by placing corps at the pivotal point of Salvation Army health services.