Frequently Asked Questions
Who presents the classes and what is his/her presentation experience?
The Executive Director of The Genesis 1:29 Project, Rev. Russell Elleven, DMin, presents the classes and consults with starting health ministries. Between his work as a college administrator, professor, and member of the clergy he has over 25 years of presenting information to others. If interested, You can learn much more about him <<HERE>>
What is the structure of the course offering?
Most course offerings are eight to ten hours in length. Often, the course is conducted in two hour sessions for four or five weeks. So, your congregation might meet from 7-9 pm for four/five Thursdays. Sometimes circumstances dictate that we conduct the entire eight/ten hour class on one or two Saturdays.
Are the classes really free?
The classes are indeed free of charge. However, The Genesis 1:29 Project is a charitable organization which relies on the generosity of others to help meet expenses. We do ask for donations during the last session of each course taught. The hope is people will appreciate the effort and desire to help others live healthier lives and will offer a donation they deem appropriate. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, please go <<HERE>>
Why the Emphasis Plant-Based eating?
There is a great deal of evidence that eating a whole-foods-plant-based diet is very healthy and helpful for longevity and well being. Most people eat very poorly (that is why most people are overweight or obese) and they often do not understand how nutrition affects their health. Most people even believe they are eating healthfully because of the amount of misinformation promulgated by the food industry. (See This). Doctors, whom we often trust with our health, do not know a great deal about nutrition and are handcuffed by a system that compensates for illness rather than wellness (See This).
Even with these handcuffs, some physicians are becoming more aware of the connection between nutrition and disease and health. However, they often believe a healthful way of eating is “too difficult” for most people. The Genesis 1:29 Project believes people have the right to know the benefits of a whole-food-plant-based diet and decide for themselves how to use the information.
We offer education, demonstration, and coaching to show people of faith how easy it can actually be to change their way of eating and their health. We ask only that you give this way of eating a fair trial-run and promise to do our best in supporting participants in their journey. Try it for a few months, that’s all we’re asking.
Why the emphasis on houses of worship?
An article written by Nordtvedt & Chapman in The Art of Health Promotion offered several factors as to why houses of worship are excellent places to offer health promoting programs. These include:
- Potential for Strong Social Support
- The Love Factor
- Cultural & World Values Compatible
- Strong Culture of Volunteerism
- Availability of Physical Space & Central Location
- Existing Communication Channels
- Potential for Continuity & Long-Term Connection
- Opportunity for Divine Help with Change
The Genesis 1:29 Project strongly believes these factors off er wonderful opportunities for people of faith to help and support one another in making health promoting behavioral changes.
What sort of assistance is required?
There are many things needed to allow the classes to run smoothly. We ask that a special volunteer be appointed with whom Russell can work directly. To learn more about this person’s volunteer responsibilities please click <<HERE>>
How many of these free classes do you offer each year?
At this time The Genesis 1:29 Project can only offer four free class series to four different houses of worship each year. For this reason it is important to schedule as soon as possible. We will attempt to keep a waiting list for congregations interested in scheduling future classes. The Genesis 1:29 Project is working diligently to obtain grant funding to bring the message of health to as many congregations as possible.
Is the clergy member required to attend?
Clergy members are not required to attend the classes but it is strongly encouraged. We know how very busy members of the clergy are. At the same time, we also know what a powerful message is sent when clergy show up and support a congregational program or give an endorsement from the pulpit or in the newsletter. Clergy support for what we do is vitally important to the success of the program. Plus, the healthier the clergy member is the better that person can serve the congregation. We sincerely hope clergy will attend and participate.
Must our congregation be of a particular faith tradition?
No, The Genesis 1:29 Project will happily go into any house of worship from any religious perspective. While the scripture reference is in the Torah and Christian Bible we do not want to limit our outreach in any way. Houses of worship have built in support systems which can greatly assist people make wonderful changes in their lives. We want to help.
What is the theological orientation of your classes?
The Genesis 1:29 Project does not come to your congregation to engage in theological discussion. That is left to the clergy of the congregation. We come simply to bring a message health.
What are the class size requirements?
We require that at least five people sign up for a class series. Classes are generally capped at 30 people because of the amount of food that must be purchased.