Outreach Health

Ernestine Finley

partners with her husband, Mark, in ministry to others—including Natural Lifestyle cooking schools—and sharing the gospel message.

Community Cooking Schools

Sharing the gospel with a loaf of bread

God designed the plan of salvation to restore human beings into His image—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. One of the reasons Jesus spent so much time in healing ministry was to demonstrate the Father’s love and concern. The basic rationale for comprehensive health ministry is our love for people and our desire for them to experience the fullness of life that Jesus so freely offers.

Remarkably, Scripture reveals how we can reduce the risk of chronic diseases that take millions of lives around the world. At Creation, God outlined good health principles. Through following the Creator’s plan we can add years to our lives and life to our years. A healthful diet improves both the length and quality of our lives.<strong>FOLLOWING ALONG:</strong> Cooking school attendees follow along using Teenie Finley’s book Natural Lifestyle Cooking.

The Eden Diet

In the beginning God gave our first parents the ideal menu for health. He declared, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food” (Gen. 1:29, NKJV).1 The Eden diet was a plant-based vegetarian menu. An abundance of scientific evidence reveals that the diet God planned for us from the beginning of time supplies the essential nutrients of health for our bodies today.

God has given Seventh-day Adventists divine light on the subject of healthful living, and He invites us to share it with the world. One aspect of the Creator’s health plan is good nutrition. Ellen White gave us this specific instruction: “Cooking schools are to be held. The people are to be taught how to prepare wholesome food. They are to be shown the need of discarding unhealthful foods.”2

Building Relationships

As my husband, Mark, and I have conducted Natural Lifestyle cooking schools for more than 40 years, we’ve discovered that when you minister to people physically, it breaks down prejudice and opens doors to share Jesus with them. Many people will attend cooking classes at a local church or in a person’s home but not spiritual programs. The classes provide opportunities to build relationships. At every class we get to know class members by name, develop relationships, and look for spiritual opportunities to share biblical principles.

Healthful Eating Is Religion Too

Healthful eating is part of God’s message to prepare people for the coming of Jesus. The Holy Spirit communicates through our brains, which are nourished by the quality of the food we eat. As we conduct healthful cooking classes, we’re cooperating with the Holy Spirit in helping people develop healthy minds and bodies. Our cooking classes are not merely health education seminars; they are part of a systematic process of bringing physical, mental, and spiritual healing to our communities and preparing people for the soon return of our Lord.

Teamwork

<strong>APPEALING PRODUCE:</strong> Beautifully arranged and colorful produce set the stage for plant-based vegetarian recipes.It takes a committed, unified, trained team to conduct successful cookingschools. One person’s gifts complement the gifts of another to accomplish something larger than any individual could achieve on their own.

Community guests enjoy learning how to make delicious plant-based dishes, and particularly look forward to sampling the food and fellowship. Conducting cooking classes brings life to the local congregation and allows us to share Jesus even through a loaf of bread. Ministry to others also rejuvenates and revitalizes our own experience with Jesus.

May you realize the joy of Christ’s ministry by conducting healthful, plant-based cooking classes for your community.


  1. Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
  2. Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1938), p. 469.
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