In the new book, When Ministry Meets Medicine: A Modern Motivational Journal for Holistic Wellness (They Speak Publishing), Dr. Andrea D. Willis and Pastor Antoyne L. Green (who happen to be siblings) tackle a very difficult question; can medicine and ministry not only coincide but augment each other? The church has traditionally been a great source of healing. However, many have silently, and even openly, questioned if the church has lost momentum in promoting strength and healing. Miraculous healing is still possible today. Could it be possible that God also uses the advancement of medical technology and medicine as a mechanism for healing?
In When Ministry Meets Medicine, Willis and Green have combined their knowledge, perspective and experiences both as a physician and as a pastor to bring together two fields that, at times, seem to repudiate one another. Yes, faith is vital. And equally important is taking practical steps toward wellness. Faith without works is dead, correct?
We are honored to be able to catch up with Dr. Andrea D. Willis for this exclusive interview.
Q: Thank you Dr. Willis for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself: tell us a little about your background in the medical field?
Thank you for allowing me to share on this platform. I say my background in the medical field started when I was a child. I realized my calling as I tried to provide aid to a cat as she struggled to deliver her kitten. My formal training began at Georgetown University School of Medicine. After graduating from there, I went on to Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. I did my pediatric residency in Fairfax, Virginia. I practiced in that area until moving to Tennessee to be closer to family. Since being in Tennessee, I have served in leadership roles in both the public health and private health sectors.
Q: Besides being a doctor, you are also a Christian. Tell us a little about your faith.
Faith has always been a part of life as I have known it. We were raised in Christianity. My parents made sure my brother and I were in church each Sunday. Christianity surrounded us in our neighborhood and our broader community. I joined the church at the age of eleven. I learned about faith as a child. I have lived by faith as an adult. Faith guides me back to center when life tries to pull me off course. My faith compels me to believe that nothing is impossible. It guides me past the obstacles in my path. It made me know I could become a doctor and use that profession to serve others.
Q: What are the roles of faith and medicine in terms of treating someone who is sick?
I believe one of the ways that God heals is through the practice of medicine. I know I could not have made it through medical school if I were not ordained to become a physician. I think that's the case for lots of other doctors as well. I know many nurses and other health professionals who are representatives of God's healing power. It is true that medicine is the application of science and it draws those with scientific minds to the practice of it. However, it does not mean that health professionals don't bring their faith with them to the bedside or to the operating room. Faith shows up in the encouraging words that the doctors give to patients. I also think it's on display when a poor prognosis is delivered with compassion. I believe faith allows physicians to objectively apply their medical knowledge by supporting their spiritual well-being.
Q: What are some dangers when faith or medicine are treated as the only exquisite means of healing?
I think relying on only faith or only medicine can put limits on healing. It's okay to look to your faith for healing but it doesn't mean that the healing won't come at the hands of doctors. I also think it's okay for someone seeking help from the medical profession to seek out healthcare professionals that share their faith. The practice of medicine addresses the science behind illnesses and conditions. Faith brings in the spirituality. I believe both are important to holistic healing. To me, faith and medicine together augment the healing process.
Q: In your experiences as a doctor, have you seen cases of miraculous healing?
I have. I recall a young man that intended to commit suicide by placing a gun in his mouth. He pull the trigger but the bullet ricocheted off of a bone in his spine before exiting his body. He had to have some surgeries but he lived to tell the story.
Q: How does your new book help readers as they go through times of sufferings and sicknesses?
I think this book will help readers as they go through sufferings and sicknesses because it allows them to understand my perspective as a doctor and my brother's perspective as a pastor. I believe through that they will see that ministry and medicine can align. My sincerest hope is that they will allow those things to work together in their lives as a result of that insight. We give an introduction to each month of the year in a conversational tone. We have daily motivations for each of the year to inspire readers to embrace wellness in mind, body, and spirit. It encourages prayer and shows that maybe sometimes that prayer needs to be on the way to the doctor's office. Each day also has a journal page so that the readers can chronicle their thoughts and what they are feeling. This book is year long support for the readers journey to better love and take care of themselves.
Q: What words of hope can you give to some of our readers who are not well?
One of things pointed out in the book is that peace is not the absence of storms in your life. Peace comes from learning how to respond in the midst of the storms. I believe God heals in different ways. Be open to all them all. I believe if readers let ministry and work together, they will find they are not alone in what they face. Even if there is not total cure at the end of the journey, it doesn't mean that there is not healing along the way.
For more information, visit www.whenministrymeetsmedicine.com.
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