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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Your Comments (4)

Pastor Minor,
Your story drives home several points. First, people do better when they know better. Secondly, people don't change until and unless they feel the need for it. Third, God has given each of us a mind and free will to be used for our benefit and for the benefit of others. Each and everyone should take responsibility for their own health, like you congregation did. Blaming others, be a TV chef or a fast food joint for your weight is like passing the buck around and not taking personal responsibility i.e. exercising free will and judgement.
God Bless you and your health congregation.

That is fantastic! That is great work! I'm so glad for you, and all the people that are healthier for it. We go to swim at indoor pools all year, since we live in PA. The YMCA is a great place, where they let middle school children work out as long as an adult supervises.

I just got done reading Rev. Michaael O Minor The Gospel of Health. Good story. My wife & I are in our early 60's. We joined a Gym. We are not over weight but want to stay that way. I just retired & want to stay in shape. My wife is still working but wants to stay in shape also. As we age we start to get a few health problems. My doctor said I could ward off some health problems if we exercise. We are bikers. If we don't work out in the winter we won't get back on the bikes in warmer weather. We live in the colder climes. So we have to find indoor stuff to do.

Fabulous story! The health problems that these people are avoiding through diet and exercise are so pernicious! The TV Celebrity Chef Paula Deen has been in the news recently for having diabetes - sadly - her recipes are the opposite of what Pastor Minor has been suggesting and she and her audience are paying the price. Congratulations to Pastor Minor and all of his very smart followers - bless him and his family and congregation - may they prosper and live happy, healthy, long lives!