By David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics)
We will accomplish the Great Commission when every people group hears the gospel. The Bible promises when that happens, Christ will return! And I believe healthcare missions is the key to completing the Great Commission.
Unreached people groups are overwhelmingly located in difficult-to-access countries that are hostile to Christianity. Mission organizations have tried penetrating these countries by sending missionaries to do business, teach English or start development projects. More often than not, however, these relational evangelists are found and quickly thrown out.
For example, a young couple ministered to their neighbors while doing secular work in a predominately Muslim country. They saw people put their faith in Christ. As their converts witnessed to others of what God had done in their lives, some who heard their testimonies told the local mullah what had happened. His complaint to the Muslim government resulted in a quick deportation order for the young couple.
In the same country a pioneer medical team was working with the same mission. They had boldly written on their work permit applications that they were medical missionaries. Because of the care they provided to the desperately needy, they were welcomed with open arms, not thrown out.
So if healthcare missions is one of the most effective strategies to finishing the Great Commission, we need to multiply its effect by increasing the number of healthcare missionaries. We must challenge Christian healthcare professionals to go, and we also must ensure they are well prepared to effectively serve in difficult areas. They need to know how to share the gospel. Simply practicing healthcare is not enough. No matter how many lives we save during our lifetime, sooner or later, all of our patients will die. It is inevitable. Only as we introduce patients to Jesus Christ and they accept Him as their Savior can they have eternal life.
I’ve been the Chief Executive Officer of Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) for more than 23 years, but I’m still a healthcare missionary at heart. That is why I’ve put lots of my time and effort into expanding CMDA’s efforts to catalyze healthcare missions and make it more effective.
CMDA trains new healthcare missionaries— more than 400 of them in the last 10 years. We prepare them for challenges of practicing overseas such as understanding a different culture’s worldview of health, conflict resolution, development, project fundraising and so much more.
But there is still much more to be done. My top priority is challenging more healthcare professionals to consider healthcare missions for their career. The greatest need in healthcare missions is not more money, hospitals, clinics or supplies. Instead, it is more healthcare missionaries.
And I have the REMEDY for that!
REMEDY—a new medical missions conference from CMDA. The conference runs March 23-24,
2018 at First Baptist Orlando in Orlando, Florida with a variety of workshops, plenaries and exhibitors.
The conference is for the curious, the interested, those committed to go and people already serving in healthcare missions. Plus, it’s a great time of the year to plan a Spring Break activity either before or after the conference, so grab some friends and join us.
You will be inspired, challenged and equipped at REMEDY. You will make new friends and deepen your spiritual walk, whether you end up serving in this country or overseas. Every Christian can be a missionary wherever God calls them!
I want to see the world reached for Christ, don’t you? I want to use the skills God has given me to help the needy just like Jesus did. And, like He did, I believe it will give me an opportunity to introduce patients to the only One who can give them eternal life.
For more information about Remedy, including the venue, breakout sessions, registration costs and more, visit www.cmda.org/remedy.
About the Author
David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics), serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Christian Medical & Dental Associations. From 1981 to 1991, he served as a missionary doctor in Kenya helping to transform Tenwek Hospital into one of the premier mission healthcare facilities in the world.