State of the Ministry 2020

Ted Pittenger, Founder & International President  ·  Dec 19, 2019

Heading into 2020, Samaritan Ministries is celebrating 25 years in ministry at the same time we are working on the largest undertaking in our history: Samaritan Given, a completely new online sharing program. It is also a challenging time in public relations for health care sharing ministries, and the federal elections this year could impact the religious liberties that affect our ability to practice our faith through health care sharing. I hope you will join me in taking these important matters to the Lord in prayer.

Samaritan Given seeks to enhance SMI's heart

As I write this, we are at a critical stage of Samaritan Given development with a few hundred members participating in an early release. Nearly two years ago, we began exploring the possibilities for Samaritan Given based on input from members. Many of you requested the ability to handle both the sending of your Shares and the payment of your bills completely online. We didn’t know if that was feasible, but we prayed for the Lord’s help and began investigating.

The past few months have been an exciting time of seeing God bring together new technologies and services to make this vision a reality. Samaritan Given will allow you to hook up your bank account to an online sharing system and use a mobile app to send your Share with a swipe.

Samaritan Given also features a membership card you can present to providers so that electronic billing information immediately flows into the system. This allows all parties to have the same information so we can quickly work out a fair price and get the bills paid.

But that’s not all. Samaritan Given also seeks to enhance the heart of Samaritan Ministries: direct connections between brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. The online sharing system allows members to instantly send messages of prayer and encouragement back and forth to each other.

You can visit SamaritanMinistries.org/given for the latest information about Samaritan Given. Of course, direct sharing remains the heart of Samaritan Classic as well, and if that is the experience you prefer, you can simply continue sharing in Classic as you always have. 

Best practices for health care sharing

The importance of our direct member-to-member sharing model became even more apparent in the past year as the reputation of health care sharing was tarnished. A few organizations got into disputes with their members and drew the scrutiny of the media and government officials. Unfortunately, the concepts of direct sharing and insurance were often confused. We have responded by publishing a new section on our website outlining best practices for health care sharing.

Samaritan Ministries has always communicated that dependence on God in faith is the foundation for all of life, including health care. We want everyone to know our ministry is based on our shared Biblical convictions, not contractual obligations to pay for certain treatments at certain facilities like insurance. Galatians 6 teaches us to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” and that’s why we faithfully share with each other every month.

The best practices are intended to help communicate how we carry out our ministry in responsible, sustainable, and transparent ways. Here are some highlights:

  • Direct sharing from one member to another
  • Governed by a member-led Board of Directors
  • Annual independent audit
  • Stewarding administrative costs well so more sharing dollars can go to meeting medical needs
  • Not using insurance agents or representatives for marketing
  • Clearly communicating to members about potential changes in the Share amounts

I’d encourage you to check out the best practices page on our website, and also to view our annual report, which is available through your Dash account in the Member Connect app in the Board of Directors section.

Pray for our government

As we enter the presidential election year of 2020, please pray for God’s favor on our country and government leaders and that God would protect our religious liberties and our reputation as a ministry. First Timothy 2 teaches us that prayers of supplication, intercession, and thanksgiving should be made for our government authorities so that “we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” The passage also indicates that as we demonstrate godliness and holiness we are pleasing God and playing a part in people “coming to knowledge of the truth.” People could be saved because we share one another’s health care burdens and give Him the glory!

Giving God the glory

I am often encouraged by member letters that give God the glory even during difficult health care trials. I hope you’ll take the time to read a few examples:

  • Annette wrote to say that talking about her experience with Samaritan is a witness to unbelieving family members.
  • Doug told how a traumatic accident gave him the opportunity to share his testimony at five different churches.
  • James shared that while in the hospital he was able to connect with and pray for his caretaker who is also a missionary and seminary student preparing to plant churches on Native American reservations.
  • Steve wrote that even during his wife’s battle with cancer they are telling everyone they  meet how the Body of Christ has ministered to them through Samaritan Ministries.

I hope you will be encouraged by these examples of how God uses us to spread the Gospel when we simply love and encourage one another in faith.

Seek to be awakened to these truths

First Timothy 2 also encourages us to pray for “all people,” so in 2020 let us ask God to awaken all Christians and Americans to these truths:

  • The only hope for reforming our health care system is turning to God and obeying His Word.
  • More regulations, mandates, insurance, and taxes aren’t going to make a better health care system.
  • In order to have quality health care at an affordable price, we must turn to Biblical understandings of private property, personal responsibility, free markets, and the generous charity of a free people inspired by Christ-centered compassion.

May God continue to be glorified through Samaritan Ministries as we trust in Him and faithfully minister to one another. 

For The Kingdom!

Ted Pittenger

Founder & International President