Pastor Mike Hess, of Village Church, uses his medical background to enhance his ministry. [Photo: Valisa Henderson]
After joining the pastoral staff at Village Church, led by senior pastor Ron Kelly, Hess began using both his spiritual and medical gifts. Hess has the rare distinction of being both a medical doctor and a pastor, uniquely qualifying him for this important work.
During the first iteration of the program at Village, participant Bob Rios applied what he was learning and shared the information at home with his wife who was not attending. She consistently applied the instruction to her own life and has lost 28 pounds to date. What makes this especially notable is that Mrs. Rios had been told by her doctor that she would never be able to lose weight because of hypothyroidism. Bob has also lost over 20 pounds and noticed that his arthritic joint pain disappeared. When he thanked the Lord in prayer, his wife realized that her joint pain was gone as well!
Designed specifically to address elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and obesity, the program is intended to help participants master their metabolism rather than be at the mercy of their metabolism. Nevertheless, the program is helpful for a broad range of ailments.
Another grateful participant of the first program, Tony Peinado, shared part of his testimony:
“I recently reached the milestone of another birthday and as I gave thanks to the Lord, I was strongly impressed to review my lifestyle habits. Yes, I'm a vegetarian but I have a ‘sweet tooth’ ...a BMI of 31 carrying an extra 35 lbs., and... blood pressure on the high side. The doctor had recommended blood pressure medication, but after careful consideration and prayer I enrolled in the Metabolic Mastery program.” According to Tony, he placed his trust in God and claimed the promise: "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers" (3 John 1:2). He submitted his will to Jesus and would drink water any time he had the desire to eat something sweet.
Tony started working out, walking 2-3 miles daily, eating 2 meals a day, and fasting. He lost 22 lbs. and his blood pressure is normal. He explained: “No medications for me, and I have the energy and focus to memorize Bible verses... most importantly I continue to strive not in my own strength but in the strength of Jesus.” Mr. Peinado appreciates 2 Corinthians 9:8, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed."
Hess originally created the program in order to have more time with patients and instruct them in principles of health. A group format was utilized for the enhanced social support and accountability that comes when people work together. The initial implementation was facilitated in a private medical practice and the personal ministries director for the local church was invited to facilitate a group.
A vital component of this program is that it not only addresses the laws of health but it also addresses the deeper emotional and spiritual reasons why many people fail to do the things they know they should do. Many health programs give plenty of health facts. However, it is the deeper levels of spiritual and emotional healing that aid in transformative and sustainable behavior change. Dr. Hess designed his program to deal with both the root and the fruit of the issue. There is hope that this program will be formatted in such a way it can be adopted by other congregations.
Hess is currently running his second metabolic seminar at Village. The results of the first program included that every attendee lost weight, blood sugar levels dropped significantly, and pain was decreased in those with arthritis. Attendees also reported that they had increased energy, increased mental clarity, and improved physical capacity for everyday activities. When asked what he would share with others about the program, Tony Peinado said: “Pray and allow the Holy Spirit to impress your mind. God's desire is for you to be healthy and to be a child of the King.”
Robert Rice, PhD, is the Village Church Bible worker.