One Pastor Says That Samaritan Ministries Gives His Staff a Bigger Picture of True Biblical Community
Pastor Tom Zobrist of Eureka, Illinois: ‘This Is How God’s People Care About One Another’
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Second in a two-part series about pastor feedback regarding health care sharing and being a member of Samaritan Ministries International.)
PEORIA, Ill.—One of the church’s responsibilities is to make Scripture come to life for the people of God, showing them how the Bible intends them to live in the world today.
Liberty Bible Church in Eureka, Illinois, has taken Galatians 6:2 seriously, where the Bible instructs Christians to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (ESV).
Pastors and staff at Liberty Bible Church are members of Samaritan Ministries International (samaritanministries.org), one of the leading health care sharing ministries in America, and say the direct-sharing, household-to-household, non-insurance approach has transformed their understanding of Biblical community.
Tom Zobrist, pastor at Liberty Bible Church, said in a Samaritan video that, at first, he was skeptical about health care sharing.
“I guess I wasn’t really sure how it would all work—how needs would be taken care of,” Zobrist said in the video. “Our health insurance costs were up too much for the church to handle. Samaritan is different in many ways. You’re not just paying a bill. You’re sharing with somebody that has a genuine need, and you know that name and you know what the need is and you can pray for that person. Every penny of it goes to meet the needs of that person that month, whatever their need might be. This is how God’s people care about one another; they hear about needs and they share in those needs!”
Zobrist added that his family has been personally blessed through the gifts they’ve received to meet their needs, which have included his son’s broken hand and Zobrist’s own experience with a kidney stone.
This past winter, WMBD-TV in central Illinois also featured Zobrist in a news report about health care sharing, where he said that although he hasn’t had health insurance in years, because of joining Samaritan, his health care has been better and more affordable than ever.
In the report, Anthony Hopp, Samaritan Ministries’ director of external relations, described health care sharing as “crowd-funding for health care.”
“When I write my check every month,” he said. “I’m not sending it to Samaritan, but I’m sending it to a family that has a medical need. We all want the same thing, and that is for everyone to have accessible health care that’s affordable and of high quality. When we talk about reforming health care, it doesn’t come in the form of insurance or taxes or mandates. It’s when we have a Biblical understanding of what generosity means.”
Every month, Samaritan members—nearly 70,000 households and more than 229,000 individuals—give directly to their fellow members who have qualified medical needs. Currently, this Biblical community shares about $25 million each month in medical needs, while giving a monthly share of only $495 for a family of any size. Individuals give $220 and couples give $440, and shares for members under the age of 26 are even lower.