“Please put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you.”

If you’ve ever been on a commercial airliner that is getting ready to take off, you’ve no doubt heard that speech.  And I got to thinking that perhaps that statement would be a good metaphor for describing the Adventist HealthCare mission, because it is when we fully engage our mission that we are able to help our patients, their families, and our communities.But after I thought about it a bit, I changed my mind. It’s a metaphor that is just too limited to really describe what we are called to do.

Our mission at Adventist HealthCare is just 14 words long: “Adventist HealthCare extends God’s care through the ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing.”  But those words speak volumes.

For one thing, our mission is not something you can put on and take off, like a mask. A ministry of physical, mental, and spiritual healing is not a part-time proposition. We are ALL IN on our mission, 100%, 24/7, rain or shine.

And while a mask hides the face that wears it, our mission requires transparency and full engagement—so the “put on your mask” metaphor just won’t do.

But maybe there is something about a journey on an airplane that will serve as a metaphor that comes close to describing our mission: We are as serious and committed to our mission of healing as an airline pilot and crew are when they take responsibility for the lives entrusted to their care during a flight. Mission infuses everything we do, and every aspect of our work, our entire organization, bottom to top—all the complex systems that must be managed, all the different disciplines and skills, all the technology and resources—is laser-focused on this one singular idea.

Our institutions, our people, our procedures, our technology, our strategies, our hearts and minds and hands—everything is in service to this one great calling: “Adventist HealthCare extends God’s care through the ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing.”

At the start of a new year—just as if we are starting a new journey—the reminder we need is not that there are emergency measures in place like oxygen masks in a plane. The reminder needed is that by God’s grace the vehicle that is Adventist HealthCare is wholly intentional, purpose-driven, and solely dedicated to the health and healing of the people and communities we are privileged to serve.

This is the persistent message: Mission Matters Most.