#HealthyMe: BCBSM Employee Takes Faith in Wellness Personally

FaithHelping local Grand Rapids-area churches grow their wellness ministries led Cle Jackson to his spiritual home. Now, Jackson is stepping up to help lead his congregation toward better health.

As a BCBSM senior community liaison, Jackson organizes and promotes healthy happenings in West Michigan. One of his focus areas is the Faith in Wellness Blues Community Challenge, formerly Body & Soul, which is an incentive-based wellness program designed to reduce health disparities in diverse faith communities.

When he was getting churches set up to participate four years ago, Tabernacle Community Church’s minister, Artie Lindsay, asked him to attend a service. He accepted the invite and immediately felt at home in Tabernacle’s welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. He’s been attending regularly ever since.

After years of seeing successful health initiatives flourish at other churches, Jackson is rolling up his sleeves to serve as co-chair of Tabernacle’s health ministry along with Lindsay’s wife, Raquel. He said his experience organizing health initiatives for BCBSM and his vast community connections will serve him well in his new role with the church.

Cle Jackson
Cle Jackson

“It was just a good fit,” he said. “You play to what your strengths and skills are.”

Jackson said goals for the health ministry include an increased focus on fitness, nutrition education, and mental health education. Larger goals include organizing a neighborhood health fair. He hopes being a health leader will cement his commitment to health. Jackson currently works out at least three days per week and tries to incorporate healthy activities into his everyday life.

“Being a part of it in my church will provide a level of continual support and accountability,” he said.

The more than 20 congregations enrolled in the challenge have been gaining points by logging their activity online via Walking Works and attending healthy activities. They’ve also completed the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Walking by Faith Assessment, which measures the health of the congregation.

For Jackson, Faith in Wellness has personally impacted his life and he’s excited about the opportunity to spread better health to his congregation.

“This program convicts me,” Jackson said. “I’ve personally learned so much through this. Some of the things I thought I knew, I didn’t.”

This year’s Grand Rapids Faith in Wellness Blues Community Challenge concludes this Saturday. A community celebration will take place from noon to 4 p.m. at True Light Baptist Church. A series of education sessions, health and wellness and human services vendors, as well as activities for kids will be available for attendees. The winner of this year’s competition will be announced around 1:30 p.m.

This blog post is part of #HealthyMe, a personalized web experience based on your health and wellness goals. To sign up today, visit https://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/healthyme

Photo credit: Chetan

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