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The Gospel of Health

A pastor's courage and inspiration to improve the health and well-being of his flock brings impressive results.

By Rev. Michael O. Minor, Memphis, Tennessee

As appeared in

At the grocery or the mall I parked as far away from the entrance as possible. I kept at it, week after week. My sermons still included a few lines of encouragement. But there was a difference. Like James says in the Bible, I’d become a doer of the word, not only a hearer.

One Sunday at our church potluck a woman approached me. “I just wanted to say thanks,” she said. “I’m not eating the way I used to. And I’ve already lost thirty pounds.”

“That’s great,” I said.

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“You’re looking pretty trim yourself,” she said.

It was true. That morning when I’d stepped on the scale again, the needle stopped at 195. But the best part was the appreciative glance I’d gotten from Lottie. I felt like a new person. Not only from the pounds I’d shed. I had also shed my worries about the impact I was making.

I could see God at work all around me. I saw it from the pulpit every Sunday, eight or 10 people comfortably fitting in a pew that once held half that number. I couldn’t remember the last hospital call I’d made. Newspaper and TV reporters were doing stories about us, calling me the preacher who banned fried chicken.

One day the mayor of Hernando phoned. “Blue Cross just named us the healthiest city in Mississippi,” he said. “I wanted to thank you and your congregation for what you’ve done. You are an inspiration to more people than you know.” I hung up the phone, amazed and humbled.

God had called me to be a part of something bigger than I could have ever imagined. Alone, I might not have been able to reach even one person, no matter how many sermons I preached on health and wellness. But with him by my side, small steps in health, taken one after another, had transformed lives, including my own.

Try Rev. Minor's recipe for baked chicken for yourself!

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