How Christian Healthcare Ministries Helps Fight Fear
– By Rev. Dr. Howard S. Russell, CHM President & CEO
Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) is a health cost sharing ministry that brings hundreds of thousands of believers together to share each other’s medical bills. They follow the example of the early church in the New Testament by carrying each other’s burdens so that no one is in need (Acts 4:34). CHM is an eligible option under the national healthcare law, even though it is not insurance. Its members have shared more than $3.5 billion in healthcare costs since the ministry’s inception in 1981.
More than 35 years ago, Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) declared war on behalf of its members: CHM is engaged in the war against anxiety and fear. It’s a war we continue to fight every day.
Letters and testimonies from CHM members to the ministry office often contain language reflecting their understandable worry and fretfulness as these believers explain their thoughts or feelings the first time they had a major medical incident as CHM members:
- “We were anxious.”
- “We were nervous because we didn’t know what to expect.”
- “I was concerned. Would it really work?”
- “I was scared.”
- “We felt a sense of apprehension.”
Invariably it’s followed by statements like:
- “Everything was so easy.”
- “We were amazed.”
- “The staff put our minds at ease.”
- “I am so thankful to have found CHM.”
- “You calmed my fears.”
As these members have learned, anxiety adds to an already stressful healthcare situation.
CHM works to create something different: calmed nerves, eased fears and confidence that fellow believers will stand beside them, both financially and spiritually.
After having routine blood tests conducted by his doctor, a friend explained the typical reaction that he has—that many other people likely have—when he sees on his caller ID that it’s his doctor’ office.
“When I pick up the phone and say, ‘Hello,’ I’m very much hoping that the voice on the other end will be a nurse,” he says. “If it’s the nurse, I know it’s probably going to be an ‘Everything looks fine but the doctor wants you to exercise more or take Vitamin D,’ or something like that. However, if it’s the doctor’s voice, my heart beats faster and my breathing becomes shallower because he has probably seen something that concerns him.”
How much more amplified is that reaction when the doctor shares serious news? At such times, thoughts tend to be along the lines of “What will it take to fight this battle?” and “How much will it cost?”
CHM members need only focus on the first question. The second question is answered by fellow Christians, hundreds of thousands of them, in all 50 states and a number of foreign countries. They rally around each other to carry one another’s burdens.
Overwhelmingly, CHM members are appreciative, grateful, supportive and pleased. Whatever fears they have are calmed.
CHM is fighting a war against fear. And because of members’ faithfulness and prayers, CHM is winning.