Pittenger Will Continue as Chairman of the Board of Directors of this Christian Health Care Sharing Ministry
September 8, 2021
PEORIA, Ill. — Mark Zander became president and chief executive officer of Samaritan Ministries International’s (samaritanministries.org) on September 6, 2021, following 18 months as Samaritan’s senior strategic planning advisor.
Ted Pittenger, founder and international president of Samaritan, will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board with a focus on raising support for expanded ministry and helping to refine Board processes and practices.
“Our mission has always been to redeem health care by helping the Body of Christ love one another by practicing authentic Biblical community through sharing one another’s health care burdens,” Pittenger says. “By God’s grace we’ve been doing that for all these years, and that’s what we’re going to keep doing under Mark’s leadership.”
Zander plans to continue advancing the mission that began when Samaritan was incorporated on September 11, 1991.
“Ted has done an amazing job leading this ministry,” Zander says. “The Lord has used him to build a unique health care sharing ministry with a really solid foundation and Christ-centered culture.
“The way I’m looking at this is that Jesus is the leader of Samaritan Ministries. My role as CEO is to serve Jesus and our amazing members and staff in every way I can. I think when that happens the challenges that are inevitable in any organization will be worked out, because, ultimately, Jesus is at the wheel.”
Zander spent 30 years in the for-profit business world before coming to Samaritan in spring 2020. He discusses his faith journey, his wife and family, and his plans in a Q&A on the Samaritan Ministries blog.
For his part, Pittenger is looking forward to cultivating relationships with potential supporters, finding ways to increase funding within Samaritan, and working on further development, recruitment, education and governance for the Samaritan Board of Directors.
“God has allowed Samaritan Ministries to make so much good available for the Body of Christ, and I want to get that message out to more individuals and organizations who can join this work financially and in prayer,” Pittenger says.
Over the years, Samaritan members have aided thousands of families and individuals by sharing their health care needs financially and through prayers and encouraging cards and letters.
“Samaritan has a purpose, mission, and values that aren’t just words on a wall or words on a plaque like many of the places I’ve been,” Zander says. “Samaritan actually has people everywhere—in our hallways, in our meetings, in all our interactions—who are trying to live out that purpose, that mission, those values. That is so unique compared to everywhere else I’ve worked in my life. It’s amazing to be at a place where it’s actions, not just words.”
Knowing that only God knows the future, Zander hesitates to make promises, except for one:
“I promise to members that we’re going to aim to keep Jesus Christ at the center of everything we do, and that our staff will aim to bring a servant’s heart and Christ’s compassionate love to everything we do.
“The essence of the Great Commandments, which Jesus talks about in Matthew 22:37-39, is loving God and loving our neighbors. The thing that’s so great about Samaritan Ministries is that I see those Commandments lived out daily across our membership and staff. Every day, Samaritan members are loving each other through difficult times, and I see our staff loving God and loving each other through challenges. It’s real. It’s not just words on a page or on a website. God is at work throughout the ministry.”
When asked what may change, Zander says, “It’s easier for me to first identify what we don’t want to change. God and His Word are going need to continue to be at the center of everything that this ministry does. My role is to make sure that happens.
“A second thing that we don’t want to change is this ministry’s wonderful member-to-member ministry—members directly caring for other members, directly sharing each other’s burdens. It’s who we are and what we’re all about.”
Samaritan Ministries currently serves 85,482 households (281,396 individuals).
Unlike health insurance, Samaritan Ministries has no limited enrollment period. Health insurance requires signups to occur only during open enrollment periods, unless one qualifies for a special enrollment period due to a “life event,” such as losing other coverage, getting married, moving or having a baby.
Samaritan Ministries health care sharingoffers several advantages:
- There are no network restrictions. When medical care is needed, Samaritan members choose the health care provider, hospital, and pharmacy that work best for them.
- The direct-sharing approach allows members to not only help fellow believers with their medical financial needs but to pray for and connect with them on a regular basis.
- The monthly share has never exceeded $530 for a family of up to seven people or $555 for a family of eight or more. This contrasts with the average cost of health insurance in 2020, which was $623 per month for an individual and $1,779 for a family.
Samaritan Ministries gives people of Biblical faith an effective, Bible-driven health care community in which approximately $30 million in medical needs is shared person to person every month. Over the past 26 years, Samaritan Ministries members have shared more than $3 billion in needs while also praying for and encouraging fellow members through personal notes, cards and letters.
To interview a representative from Samaritan Ministries International, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Beth Harrison, 610.584.1096, ext. 105, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.