If you have ever played with Legos (and who hasn’t played with Legos?), you will be familiar with the green base plates that are about a foot square and are covered with the little Lego dots to which you stick the little Lego blocks. The plates are a great foundation for just about everything you can build with the ubiquitous blocks. They are especially useful if you are creating a Lego building, they are a convenient underpinning for Lego streets and towns, and even complicated Lego vehicles or spaceships can use them as anchors for being transported from one place to another. The base plates are a foundation for all kinds of things that you can do with Legos.

The question was, “What does it mean to be ‘faith-based?’” And the short answer is, “It’s the foundation of everything that we do.”

I don’t get to play with blocks very much, but the other day when someone asked me an important question about Adventist HealthCare, those green base plates came to mind. The question was, “What does it mean to be ‘faith-based?’” And the short answer is, “It’s the foundation of everything that we do.”

More than 100 years ago, Adventist HealthCare was organized by the Seventh-day Adventist church to provide distinctive and effective healthcare in the communities where we are given opportunity to serve. We have codified that foundational support into a mission statement that reads, “We demonstrate God’s care by improving the health of people and communities through a ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing.”

So one important part of being faith-based means awareness and appreciation for our founding sponsor, and a clear focus on why we were founded in the first place. Using this as our “base plate,” we were built from the ground up with a specific purpose in mind.

For Adventist HealthCare, “faith-based” also means being appreciative of the role of faith and religion in our society, and having respect for its many diverse faith communities.  (Which are sort of like those little Lego bricks, when you think of it.) That is one of the reasons our team—including our chaplains and spiritual care staff—includes individuals from so many faiths, and why we seek to meet the cultural and religious needs of our patients and their families.

In the coming weeks I will explore these ideas a little more fully, and will look at how being faith-based shapes our perspective on the communities and patients we serve, how it frames our commitment to excellence in our care and the outcomes we seek, and how it motivates us to seek out new opportunities for engagement with our core mission.

I don’t generally think of Legos when I think about our mission. However, there is a verse from the prophet Micah that I have often thought of as I contemplate why we do what we do each day. It is a profoundly simple reminder of the reason we exist and what we seek to achieve: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
 To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).