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Home > Interpreter Magazine > Archives > 2006 Archives > Health & Wholeness: Self-care covenant promotes balanced lives

Matt Kuzma (left) and his exercise partner, Phil Newman (right), run with Ami Silva. Photo by Miriam Newman.
Health & Wholeness

Self-care covenant
promotes balanced lives

Matt Kuzma, business manager of the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund  in Kansas, is active and more fit today because of his self-care covenant. “The idea is to build up your internal health, so you can give freely,” he said.

“It got me going again,” Kuzma said of the health improvement tool he learned during preparation to become a trainer in the Healthy Congregations in Action initiative of the Kansas East and Kansas West conferences.

Kuzma and others attending a Servant Leadership workshop received a workbook with guidelines for making a self-care covenant plan. The workshop, developed by Judy Johnston at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, takes a holistic approach.

The self-care covenant provides a framework for changing one behavior at a time, “maximizing the possibility for success through thoughtful planning and problem solving, and providing a support system,” Johnston said.

“Originally it was a clergy program, but now it is becoming the centerpiece of ‘Healthy Congregations in Action,’” said Virginia Elliott, vice president for programs at the Health Ministry Fund.

The self-care covenant encourages balance in four areas: physical, mental, social and spiritual. Reviewing plans monthly with another person helps make the self-care covenant sustainable, Kuzma said.

“I was a runner for years, then I dropped off,” he said. Because of his self-care covenant, now he runs twice a week with a friend. Knowing that someone is waiting for him helps motivate him to get out even when it’s cold.

For more information, see the Web site of the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund at

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