Community Health Evangelism (abbreviated CHE; pronounced chay; in some countries, depending on the context the program, is referred to as Community Health Education or Community Development Education) is a multifaceted approach to Christian ministry that addresses the needs of the whole person—physical, spiritual, emotional, and social. It is a strategic way to facilitate holistic transformational development or integral mission.
CHE equips individuals to be independent workers and evangelists in their communities.
CHE’s training strategies that create this dynamic include:
- Empowering people to do things for themselves. This liberates locals from the bondage of the welfare mentality.
- Reaching the whole person. Some mission programs deal solely with the spiritual dimensions and ignore physical needs; others address only the physical. CHE addresses both.
- Equipping leaders with skills to see their own community’s assets and to address multiple needs instead of compartmentalizing personnel (e.g., pastors ministering to the spiritual needs, doctors treating medical concerns, etc.).
- Developing community ownership. CHE teaches people how to identify their own problems and find a way to solve them, using locally available resources.
- Preventive vs. Curative. CHE is designed to prevent diseases for individuals, families, and communities. By providing participants with knowledge concerning basic health principles and practices, it can promote optimal health within communities.
Why is CHE Important?
The purpose of CHE work is not just breaking poverty or planting churches, though both of those things are accomplished. The real goal of our work is a transformation in lives and communities that is as deep as the human heart and as broad as the whole range of the human experience in the world God made. We want Jesus to be recognized as Lord over all creation and our development activities to reflect the depth and breadth of the kingdom of God. We are asking God to work in us and through us to transform beliefs and change behavior so that His peace, justice, compassion, and righteousness are reflected in the life of the communities we serve.