‘Sharing the Burden: The Samaritan Ministries Story’ Just Released by Samaritan Ministries
‘Sharing the Burden’ Tells the Story of How God Used a Few People to Build a Christian Health Care Sharing Ministry of More Than 270,000 Individuals Worldwide Who Share More Than $30 Million in Medical Needs Each Month
February 3, 2020
PEORIA, Ill.—A lot has changed in health care over the past 25 years, but one thing hasn’t wavered—Samaritan Ministries International’s commitment to its mission to coordinate and connect members to care for all aspects of health care needs—emotional, spiritual, physical and financial—with prayer, encouragement and financial support.
Now, 25 years from its inception, Samaritan Ministries is telling the story of its history and journey, all while realizing that health care is about more than the physical. It also includes the intellect, emotions and, above all, the God-given spirits of human beings.
Samaritan Ministries offers a health care sharing ministry for Christians to share all these aspects of their health care needs. And in the new book, “Sharing the Burden: The Samaritan Ministries Story,” readers can learn how God providentially used a small group of devoted people, working from a remodeled chicken coop, to start and build a health care sharing ministry of more than 270,000 individuals worldwide—sharing over $30 million in medical needs each month and depending on Him to care for all aspects of their health care needs.
Written by Samaritan’s Senior Communications Specialist Michael Miller, with a foreword by Samaritan Ministries founder Ted A. Pittenger, “Sharing the Burden” tells the story of Samaritan’s origins and operations, as the health care sharing ministry based in Peoria, Illinois, was established and continues to gain thousands of new members each year.
There are some earthly explanations for this, Miller says. As more Christians seek better alternatives to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, they are looking for free market health care options, refusing to fund abortions and wanting to spend less than insurers are charging. But the overarching explanations are divine:
- Health care sharing ministries are a way for the varied members of the Body of Christ to join together to help bear one another’s health care burdens (Galatians 6:2).
- God honors things that honor Him (1 Corinthians 10:31).
- God answers prayer (Jeremiah 33:3).
Pittenger says in the foreword that the groundwork was laid for “Sharing the Burden” back in 2003.
“I received a phone call from our local newspaper indicating they would like to do an interview to learn more about Samaritan Ministries,” Pittenger writes. “The religion reporter, Mike Miller, came out to our office to conduct the interview. As I recall, the resulting article was pretty good—especially considering that the concept of health care cost-sharing involves a huge paradigm shift and can be difficult to grasp, compared to the more familiar model of medical insurance. Apparently, it was at least good enough that when Mike Miller came knocking again, just a few years later, we were willing to schedule another interview—except this time it was a job interview. We were excited to welcome Mike to join us as a Samaritan staff member. Now, 11 years later, Mike has written a documentary of sorts, telling the story of Samaritan Ministries. And it tells the story of my family’s journey in following God’s leading. But ultimately, it is a story about Jesus, and the wonderful things He is doing to purify and perfect His bride—the body of Christ.”
Samaritan Ministries, adds Miller, is an uncommon answer to a common problem: how to provide for medical care burdens.
“For most Americans, that has been a problem easily ‘solved,’” he says. “Get health insurance, right? And, if you can’t afford the cost of insurance, get government help. But is that a Biblical way to take care of your health care needs? Is it good stewardship of the money God has entrusted to you? Is it even affordable, especially for one-income families, single-parent families and self-employed workers? Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Ted Pittenger decided it wasn’t good stewardship. As the owner of a painting and wallpapering business in central Illinois, he believed that Christians could manage their health care needs more efficiently, and from a Biblical foundation. Then, after he and his wife, Shari, became members of a health care sharing ministry, he decided such an outreach could be shaped in better ways. Following the Lord’s leading, Ted started Samaritan Ministries International. While that is a brief encapsulation of the past, in an era of increasing government regulation of the health care system, the story of SMI also represents the future.”
Miller notes that Ray King, a Samaritan Ministries founding Board member and Special Counsel to the President, has often said, “Prayer is the foundation of everything Samaritan does. When the ministry faces a turning point, we ask for prayer. When the ministry faces a need, we ask for prayer. When our members have medical needs, we ask for prayer.”
“Prayer has made Samaritan what it is, from the day Ted Pittenger spent fasting and seeking God’s face about starting a health care sharing ministry, to the day a health care ‘reform’ bill threatened to require Samaritan members to purchase insurance,” Miller says. “Prayer keeps Samaritan members tied together as a sharing family, even if some members come and go over the years.
“‘Sharing the Burden’ is the story of how Samaritan Ministries came into being, how its members have been able to bless each other, how it has become a family inside and outside the Samaritan offices, and how it has survived legislative and regulatory challenges,” he continues. “Most of all, it’s the story of how God works through His people, the Body of Christ, to help us help each other.”
Several in the financial and health care fields have sung the praises of “Sharing the Burden: The Samaritan Ministries Story”:
- “This book is an incredible testimony. It’s not a testimony about some alternative to insurance products that claim to provide health care. This is about health care the way it was designed by God in the book of Acts. This is a testimony about devoted Christians as members of Samaritan Ministries: a testimony of a body of believers that in the name of Jesus Christ are committed to being obedient disciples for their brothers and sisters. Samaritan Ministries is a living, breathing testimony of the God-given power that is evident when a body of believers becomes willing disciples of Christ. My wife and I are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this incredible work of faith.”—Dan Celia, host of the “Financial Issues” radio and television program and founder of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries and FISM.TV
- “This book is a prototype of how a disruptive innovation can develop from the ground up, even when operating out of a repurposed chicken coop. So much of today’s ‘health care’ is dictated from the top down, with the top being the supposedly all-powerful federal government. Samaritan, on the other hand, seems to be inspired from the very top, our Creator, and implemented by gifted fishermen, not the academically and politically credentialed elite. The personal stories of those who make the ministry work and of those who benefit from it are featured, along with the nuts and bolts of its functioning and the harrowing tales of the attacks it has miraculously survived.”—Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
- Health care sharing proponent Twila Brase, president and founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, also recorded a “Health Freedom Minute” radio feature, which airs on 840 stations nationwide, about “Sharing the Burden: The Samaritan Ministries Story.” Read or listen here.
Miller has worked with Samaritan Ministries for 11 years. He graduated from Bradley University in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. He and his family live in rural central Illinois. Pittenger graduated with a bachelor’s degree in classical civilizations from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and has served with the U of I Navigators and Campus Crusade at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. He and his wife, Shari, have six children and live in Washington, Illinois.
“Sharing the Burden,” available on Amazon in paperback or e-book, is dedicated to the past, present, and future members of Samaritan Ministries International, who, for 25 years, have practiced health care sharing with a focus on an affordable, Biblical model that gives them freedom to make the best health care decisions for their families—and their budgets.
Across the country and around the world, nearly 83,000 Samaritan Ministries member households (270,000-plus individuals) help their fellow Christians with their health care needs by praying and sending monthly financial shares directly to other families and sending along notes of encouragement. Each month, Samaritan’s growing Biblical community shares approximately $30 million in needs person to person, family to family. In fact, Samaritan Ministries members have shared $1.8 billion in needs over the past 25 years; contact Samaritan Ministries for details or visit this link.
Learn more about Samaritan Ministries International here. For more information on Samaritan Ministries International, visit www.samaritanministries.org, or follow the ministry on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
To interview a representative from Samaritan Ministries, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.