Health & Wellness Ministry

Baptist General Convention of Virginia,  1214 West Graham Road, Richmond, VA  23222

 Health and Wellness Ministry

2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. (3 John 2, NIV))

Baptist General Convention of Virginia (BGCVA) Health and Wellness Ministry is designed to improve the overall health outcomes for our members and the communities they serve. African AmericAfrican-Americansve earlier and higher rates of death and debilitating illnesses than other groups of people.

The aim of this ministry is to train health coordinators for as many of our churches as possible.  These coordinators will work with a health ministry/committee in the church to provide health information consistently for church members and visitors. BGCVA Health ministry provides training and a connection to many resources to inform and equip members with the tools and resources needed to improve overall health and well-being. We also provide assistance with Health Days, Health Fairs, and other health related events.

 The Health and Wellness Ministry provides Health Ministry resources and training for BGCVA churches. We offer assistance and health ministry planning and implementation resources for new and existing Health ministries.

 Current BGCVA Health Ministry Programs

Let’s Move! Get Active

BGCVA Health Ministry is prepared to offer Health Ministry training based on the national Let’s Move! campaign. The Let’s Move! Initiative, started by First Lady Michelle Obama, has a national goal of addressing the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today reach a healthy adulthood. Let’s Move! is designed to engage every sector impacting the health of children and provides schools, families, and communities with simple tools to help kids be more active, eat better, and get healthy.


What is the Media-Smart Youth Program?

Media-Smart Youth:  Eat, Think, and Be Active!® is an interactive after-school education program that focuses on building skills in media analysis and media production to help young people ages 11-13 understand the complex media world around them and how it can influence their health – especially in regard to nutrition and physical activity.


Optima Health Faith Based Health Outreach Initiative

This partnership with Optima Health enables us to expand our ability to bridge access coverage gaps in rural communities, provide resources for health ministries, train new health ministries as well as provide health assessments, health fairs and other resources.


Bless Your Heart & 100 Congregations for Million Hearts®

BGCVA Health Ministry is pleased to announce our partnership with Virginia Health Quality Center to offer two church –based heart health promotion opportunities.  One of our areas of focus is improving heart health. Because heart attack and stroke are the leading causes of death in Virginia, VHQC will provide your church with free educational tools and resources to support healthier lifestyle choices. These resources include the Bless Your Heart toolkit, which helps congregations create or strengthen its health ministry, as well as understand the vital role they play in improving the heart health of their members and their communities.


Balanced Living with Diabetes (BLWD)

Balanced Living with Diabetes is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded initiative in collaboration with Virginia Polytechnic University, Virginia Cooperative Extension Service and Virginia State University. The program began in June 2010 and will continue through 2015.


Soul Food Junkies – Screening of the Soul Food Junkies film followed by a panel discussion.

In Soul Food Junkies, Byron Hurt sets out on a historical and culinary journey to learn more about the soul food tradition and its relevance to black cultural identity. Through candid interviews with soul food cooks, historians, and scholars, as well as with doctors, family members, and everyday people, the film puts this culinary tradition under the microscope to examine both its positive and negative consequences. Hurt also explores the socioeconomic conditions in predominantly black neighborhoods, where it can be difficult to find healthy options, and meets some pioneers in the emerging food justice movement who are challenging the food industry, encouraging communities to “go back to the land” by creating sustainable and eco-friendly gardens, advocating for healthier options in local supermarkets, supporting local farmers’ markets, avoiding highly processed fast foods, and cooking healthier versions of traditional soul food.


Monthly Health Blast – Monthly email of National Health Observances with links to additional information to be shared by church health ministries on bulletin boards, health tables and/or church bulletins. Planning assistance is available.


Emergency Preparedness – Training seminars in the basics of being prepared for various emergencies in the church, home, car or at work.  For churches the focus is on being able to shelter-in-place if necessary due to an emergency situation.



I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14, NIV)





Dr. J. Elisha Burke

Director of Health Ministry











Health and Wellness Ministry Training Seminars


Training seminars are available for new and current Health Ministry leaders and members. You may elect to receive training for your church or association at the BGCVA State Office or at your church or association.


Program Workshop Title Time
Let’s Move! Get Active Let’s Move! Get Active Program Orientation 2 hours
Media-Smart Youth Program Media-Smart Youth:  Eat, Think, and Be Active!® 2 hours
Optima Health Faith Based Health Outreach Initiative Optima Health Outreach & Education Seminar 1 -2 hours
Bless Your Heart & 100 Congregations for Million Hearts® How to Promote Heart Health in Your Church 1 hour
Balanced Living with Diabetes Successfully Managing Type 2 Diabetes Four, 2 hr. sessions
Soul Food Junkies Are You A Soul Food Junkie? Video and discussion 90 minutes
New Health Ministry Training How to Start and Maintain a Church Health Ministry  2-3 hours
Seminars on Specific Health Conditions We design health seminars for clergy, couples,  women, men, youth and on specific conditions (HIV/AIDS, Hypertension, Alzheimer’s, Mental Illness, Heart Disease, etc. 2– 3 hours
Faith to Fate Advance Care Planning (End of Life Issues) 2 hours
Emergency Preparedness Emergency Preparedness for Churches 2 hours
Suicide Prevention The Role of the Faith Community in Preventing Suicide 2 hours
Mental Illness Hope and Healing (Understanding Mental Illness) 2 hours


BGCVA Health and Wellness Ministry maintains several primary health partners and many other relationships with health providers that provide expertise and information for BGCVA churches.

Our currently active primary partners are:

  • Virginia Tech (in collaboration with Virginia State University and VA Extension Services) for the Balanced Living With Diabetes Initiative;
  • Optima Health for Health Outreach, Education/Faithful in All Things Health Conference – 10/2014
  • American Association of Black Cardiologists – Heart Disease Preventi0n/Acute Coronary Syndrome: Stroke and Heart Attack Prevention

 We also work with the following local and statewide health resource providers:


Capital Diaper Bank and Capital Childcare

American Diabetes Association

American Cancer Society

AARP Virginia

VCU School of Medicine

Charles City Medical Group

Virginia Tech

Div. of Prevention & Health Promotion, Virginia Dept. of Health

Office of Family Health Services, Virginia Dept. of Health

American Heart/American Stroke Association

Richmond City Health District

The American Red Cross

Minority Health Consortium

Senior Connections (Capitol Area Agency on Aging)

Virginia Blood Services

Ecumenical Poverty Initiative

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