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TORRINGTON, CT (SZS) As 2019 gets underway, we are inundated with numerous ads and promotions aimed at health goals, body image, and self-help in an attempt to address those traditional New Year’s resolutions. As Lutherans, we have an additional opportunity to address our health and wholeness – be it spiritual, physical, emotional, or psychological.

While the new year is only entering its second month, Lent is only a month away and will soon be upon us. Lent has traditionally been a time when people have “given something detrimental up,” such as overeating, or smoking; others have used the time during Lent to “add something edifying” – be it a spiritual discipline such as Bible study, prayer, meditation, regular worship attendance, and Christian service. But consider the additional possibility of tending to our overall spiritual health through healthy lifestyle changes.

This year, Portico Benefit Services is again inviting us to support wellness habits in our personal lives, congregations, and communities. These are built on familiar practices from the past, such as financial and physical well-being assessments. However, this year, Portico is offering some new health assessments and a wide range of nearly 100 additional activities to make the kind of healthy and lasting lifestyle changes that create healthier leaders and a culture in our churches which supports a healthy lifestyle for all our members. Each of these activities can earn Portico members from $10 to $50, totaling a maximum of $400 wellness dollars for the 2019 year.

Discovering abundant life in Christ is at the core of being a healthy leader. As Portico has so aptly put it: “Ministry is more demanding than ever, budgets are tighter than ever, and the cost of health coverage is higher than ever. In the ELCA, it’s critical that we pay attention to our health together, strengthen ourselves for ministry, and work in our congregations and organizations to create places of healthy culture. It’s time to put the “we” in wellness.”

To embark on their wellness journey, and be renewed for the new year, Portico members are encouraged to check out to find all the information they need, as well as answers to many common questions. Also, be sure to check out Portico’s 90-second video for a quick tour and tips for success in earning those 2019 wellness dollars.

So, let’s get 2019 off to a healthy start and make wellness something that is on-going and lasts. Let’s strive for stronger leaders, healthier congregations, and communities which lead the way in stewarding all the gifts of physical, spiritual, emotional, and psychological life which God has given us.