Community Health Evangelism (CHE)
Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT) is a familiar anthem for missions: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Although the Church has historically been pretty good at the “Go” side of the Great Commission, all it takes is a look at some of the countries with the largest number of Christians (or “churched” people groups) to see that the “make disciples” part hasn’t quite panned out as well. We need to be discipled not only in the spiritual disciplines but also in how to live our daily lives.
Community Health Evangelism (CHE) is a method and ideology of ministry that is working to change that. It’s all about integrating spiritual teaching while lifting communities out of cycles of poverty and disease. While various ministry programs have been practicing this method for a long time, CHE has recently become a focus throughout World Gospel Mission with programs of various levels of engagement in many countries, including Burundi, Honduras, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, South Sudan, and Uganda. (In some countries, CHE is called Community Health Empowerment or Education.)
What Is CHE?
According to the Global CHE Network website, “CHE equips communities to identify issues and mobilize resources to achieve positive, sustainable change. Lives and communities are transformed as people come to Christ and work together to address local needs.” CHE strives to connect with each culture on an individual basis. Some programs are church-based, others community-based; some are part of the national government’s health program; some programs are focused on adults, others target children; and some specifically target women.
CHE is different from secular development programs because of this perspective: CHE volunteers view their work as a ministry rather than an occupation. Although CHE has traditionally been used in rural communities, concepts of community empowerment relate to cities as well. “Neighborhood Transformation” is the urban model for CHE.
Rather than focusing on material handouts, CHE wants to enrich the whole person. The approach is participatory and community-driven and can include lessons on economic development, agriculture, leadership, taking care of the environment, biblically-based morals, and social justice—all integrated with spiritual truths.
Partner with CHE
PRAY: Ask God to give those promoting CHE wisdom and strength as they train and mentor and to encourage CHE trainers, committee members, and Community Health Evangelists to put into practice all they have learned. Pray that entire communities will come to know Him and experience Christ-centered community transformation through this process.
SHARE: Download a speaker outline about CHE to share the message of community transformation.