Making Health Ministry Work

5 Questions with Kirsten Peachey

by Stacy Smith

Rev. Dr. Kirsten Peachey is the director of Congregational Health Partnerships at Advocate Health Care and codirector of The Center for Faith and Community Health Transformation in Chicago, IL. Church Health Reader asked her 5 questions about health ministry.

Stacy Smith: Why is health ministry important in the church?

Kirsten Peachey: Health ministry is really just the mission of the church lived out and a trust that what we believe most deeply actually works to transform lives—minds, bodies, spirits, communities. For me, a good health ministry helps churches connect with their core teachings and practices and apply them more intentionally and more powerfully.

What is one important difference your ministry has made?

We have helped to shape a faith and health movement in the Chicago area that is focused on creating health equity in communities that face disproportionate and unfair challenges. We continue to work to shape a common vision around what people of faith can contribute to impacting the health of the community as a whole.

What’s your biggest challenge in health ministry?

There is so much going on and so much potential! It’s hard to keep up with it all and to stay focused and coordinated. It’s our greatest blessing and our greatest challenge!

Who has been an inspiration for you?

At the moment I am following the work of Peter Block and his work around community-building. I am inspired by the way he talks about community and his ideas about how we can build relationships with each other that are productive and that move us to effective action.

What’s your favorite go-to book?

I have been drawing from Deeply Woven Roots by Gary Gunderson ever since I first read it. We use the “eight strengths of congregations” ideas in pretty much everything we do.

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