Faith and Health, Sponsor

Cultivating Unity in Global Health

May 5, 2021

by Guest Contributor

At Health for All Nations we greatly value unity in the Church. It reminds us of one of the most beautiful but one of the least achieved aspects of Jesus’ teaching. We find it in the High Priestly Prayer and summarized in large part in John 17:21 – that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

And unity cannot happen without there also being a significant amount of collaboration – one of HFAN’s values. We very much appreciate the use of the word cultivating, implying that work over time is necessary for fruit to appear. Unity is centered on Jesus’ character, practice, and instruction. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

Community health education empowers local community leadership in Cambodia.

Since its inception in 2008, Health for All Nations has sought to identify and fill the gaps in the Church’s understanding of health, from an evidence-based and biblical perspective, and to assist the Church in applying that understanding toward the unified goal of health being available to all peoples. Identifying those gaps and filling them cannot be done without a certain degree of unity and not without collaboration from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. This can be seen in the projects we have facilitated to date:

  1. The Christian Journal for Global Health: A peer-reviewed, scholarly and multidisciplinary journal with an integrated Christian perspective. Unity and collaboration from many countries and denominations for research and diverse Christian reflection are hallmarks of the journal.
  2. Best Practices in Global Health Missions: To identify and disseminate God-honoring, health-promoting values, beliefs and practices for mutual benefit. Again developed in a highly collaborative manner using international standards and the best evidence toward growth in knowledge.
  3. Health for All Nations Lausanne Issue Network: A global learning and collaboration network focused on the church’s strategic role in facilitating whole-person health and healing for all nations.
  4. Christian Global Health in Perspective course: Originally called “Outlook” this is a 10-lesson course to prepare workers for health-related cross-cultural service. It was developed through collaboration between scholars and practitioners and will be available this year to promote sustainable, informed, unified service.
  5. All Creation Groans: Toward a Theology of Disease and Global Health: A new multi-author book (Pickwick, 2021) from diverse traditions and multi-disciplinary perspectives grappling with disease and informing the practice of global health promotion as part of the Missio Dei.
Health education at a rural government community health center in Bolivia integrates health with development and spiritual growth.

Peer Consultations

An exciting new service offered by HFAN is centered on the adaptive leadership model as described by Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky for overcoming complex challenges.

The majority of challenges the Church faces on a global health scale are complex, or some would say adaptive and require a different model of leadership than is typically employed. This new leadership model is being used by HFAN now to help others address complex global health challenges. For a brief discussion about the difference b/w adaptive and technical challenges check out THIS video from our friends at the Kansas Leadership Center. Basic distinctions:

What does this adaptive leadership framework have to do with cultivating unity and learning? Everything. AL has 5 basic principles:

  1. Leadership is an activity, not a position.
  2. Anyone can lead, anytime, anywhere.
  3. Leadership starts with you and must engage others.
  4. Your purpose must be clear.
  5. It’s risky.

If your organization is challenged with a complex problem, consider a peer consultation to assist with an adaptive leadership process.

For more information see QRI or contact: mjsoderling (at)

Editors of the Christian Journal for Global Health collaborating and guiding the multidisciplinary peer-review process.

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