Lifestyle medicine is an essential skill for Pastor Marty Thomson’s ministry in Kempsey, NSW. With deaths attributable to alcohol, cardiovascular disease, obesity and smoking higher than the New South Wales average, the town is “suffering under the burden of so many preventable diseases.”
A long-time advocate, Pastor Thomson is now convicted of the need for a stronger emphasis on health in ministry. “As important as it is helping meet spiritual needs, I want to be better equipped to meet physical needs,” he said.
A “providential” meeting with the creator of Avondale University’s Graduate Diploma in Lifestyle Medicine convinced Pastor Thomson to enrol again at Avondale. “I’d been praying about it, I’d been thinking about it, and then I bumped into Darren Morton at Uluru.”
The course is bringing more confidence and credibility. Marty feels he can now journey with those who need health care and partner with others in training members of the local Seventh-day Adventist church to do the same. “I have more of a connection with health professionals because I feel there’s more of a mutual understanding. Doctors, in particular, have such incredible influence. So, pastors working with doctors is crucial.”
Starting a centre of influence could be Marty’s next move. “Gospel-centred health ministry can help people live the life God intended.”—Brenton Stacey