October 27, 2017
Community Health Evangelism (CHE) is a multifaceted approach to ministry that addresses the needs of the whole person (physically, spiritually, emotionally and socially) through training and mentorship in disease prevention, community development, evangelism and discipleship.
When CHE is presented to a community, its chiefs, district officers or church leaders are led through a visioning process that presents the program’s foundational concepts. CHE trainers then engage in a “seed project” within the community. This phase is concrete and tangible, providing the community with a glimpse of the possibilities of change and fostering connection and rapport. After a community has accepted CHE, the CHE trainers assist the community in forming a CHE committee to guide and monitor program implementation. In turn, the CHE committee selects CHE home visitors to get to know their neighbors’ needs by providing one-on-one education. CHE committee members and CHE home visitors are equipped to provide ongoing health training through home visits, community projects and discipleship groups.
There are two main CHE activities: individual or small group education and implementation of community projects. The CHE trainers, in partnership with the CHE committee and CHE home visitors, facilitate conversations within the community to assist in recognizing and prioritizing needs, identifying the root causes of these needs and determining local resources that could meet these needs. As the community works together to complete a project, CHE home visitors provide practical and relevant education in their neighbors’ homes. For example, if a community is addressing hunger, lessons would cover nutrition. The community then works together to address hunger from multiple angles.
CHE has all of the components of most community development programs: empowering people to do things for themselves, equipping leaders to see their community’s assets, developing community ownership, focusing on root causes of problems and using local resources, along with a model of participatory-based education. What distinguishes CHE from other community-based programs is its focus on both physical and spiritual needs, and a stronger insistence on communities and individuals finding the answers themselves and “owning” the program. Together, as a community, people are empowered to discuss their problems, see the opportunities for change and take action.
Luta Garbat-Welch, mission co-worker serving as community health facilitator in Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Zambia
Today’s Focus: Community Health Evangelism
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Mission Co-Workers
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Loving God, who walked among us so that we might be liberated from hunger, sin and oppression, help us to share the good news of your grace with all whom we meet. Amen.