Paradigm Shifts for CHE Ministry in Europe

 

How do the CHE Vision and Values and Values– Long-Term Development, Wholistic Discipleship, Ministry to the Poor and Needy, etc. — translate to the European context?

Watch GCN Representative Council Member Ron Seck‘s workshop on the Paradigm Shifts of CHE Ministry from last year’s Urban Wholistic Community Development Conference in Paris.

To learn more from Ron, read his recent contribution to the CHE Blog on Integration and Wholism.

 

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Servant Leadership- Core Value Blog Post

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By Dr. Martine Fristch
Global CHE Network Representative Council Member

Community Health Evangelism seeks to encourage Christ-like servant leadership. Servant leadership is a timeless concept found in throughout religious texts and leadership literature alike.  But Christ-like servant leadership is set apart. Christ is the wisest, most profound teacher to have walked the earth. At the same time, He is the humble, approachable friend of ordinary and poor people— those we meet in CHE ministry.

Jesus gave us this principle for leadership: “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty (Matt 23: 11-12, The Message)

To Jesus, a person’s leadership is not defined by his position or power, but by his willingness to serve. He inspired people to volunteer their time and energy for something they believe in. He counted those who did so as leaders in His “upside-down” Kingdom.  Hundreds of CHE Volunteers around the world are those leaders in their community, visiting and serving their neighbouring homes to bring healing, education and making God known.

The practices and principles of Jesus apply to all forms of leadership– from informal leadership in the home to the leadership in the communities, in workplace, in government, education, health, etc. No person, vocation, or role is outside the scope of Jesus’ example in leadership. 

Moreover, Jesus empowers ordinary people to do extraordinary things.  He came to liberate people by calling them to be who they were created to be. He models and teaches how to address practically the big universal questions:  What is the purpose of the world? What’s wrong with it? How can we be part of making it right? He changes forever those who encounter Him as Savior and Redeemer and He lives on in the lives of His followers through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit abiding in them.

Jesus began a movement like no other– a movement still going strong two thousand years later, a movement of disciples who love and serve God and others.  CHE ministry to the whole person in a variety of religious settings and throughout the world is part of this movement.

Jesus is the ultimate servant and, therefore, the ultimate leader.

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Dr. Martine Fristch served with her husband Jean-Marc for 30 years in Africa working in church planting and disciple-making movements integrated with Community Health among unreached people groups.  Since 2013, she serves as Global Integral Community Health (ICH) Promoter with Healthcare Christian Fellowship International. Martine and her husband are based in France, they have 2 adult daughters and one grand-child.

 

 

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CHE Core Values: Participatory Learning

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By Dr. Hugo Gomez

“When medical professionals de-professionalize, health comes to the people.” These are the words of David Werner—globally recognized pioneer in primary health care and community health. Allow me to repurpose his words: “When educators de-professionalize, knowledge comes to the people.”

Professionals often tend towards either a conventional or progressive philosophy. Conventional educators seek to conform; Progressive educators seek to reform. Both of these approaches fall short: the first can lead to dependency, the second to anarchy. Let us instead pursue a third option, not to conform or reform, but to transform.

Transformational teaching requires that we stop trying to talk at people and start talking with them. Werner says, “To teach is to help others grow, and to grow with them. A good teacher is not someone who puts ideas into other people’s heads… but instead helps others build on their own ideas.” At some point in history, the church traded this participatory learning for impersonal, oratory teaching. At this point, the church lost its focus on the practical engagement with Biblical truth.

Let us return to the way of Christ, who invited his disciples to walk alongside him for three years, who challenged the assumptions and false beliefs of the public, who answered the questions of both outcasts and elites, who preached the news of a kingdom that involves every area of life, who trusted his followers to spread the Gospel and build his church. Christ’s primary goal as a teacher was not to conform or to reform; his mission was to transform citizens of earth into citizens of heaven.

Christ’s model of a “Good Teacher” is the foundation for the CHE Core Value of Participatory Learning. To better understand how the CHE Network describes this approach for transformational teaching, read more about the “LePSAS” model. LePSAS is an informal, inductive, participatory, dynamic, all-inclusive style that has brought Shalom into many communities.

Let me close with the words of John Mackay: “When the representatives of Christianity in Latin America would go out to the open field and introduce their faith in such a way that will appeal to the common man, a new day will dawn in the history of the continent”.

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Dr. Hugo Gomez is the Co-Founder and CEO of Global CHE Enterprises (GCE)– an organization multiplying CHE programs throughout Meso-America. GCE has planted 32 new churches, and have seen more than 1,500 people come to faith in Christ. Hugo and his wife Miriam are parents to 4 grown children.

 

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CHE Core Values: Local Ownership

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A Bridge Over Troubled Water

By Keith Holloway
Representative Council Member

After 20 years of civil conflict, the land and people of Lira were worn and weary. Poverty and defeat were etched upon the faces of the villagers we encountered. In spite of this, our local CHE partners—the Pentecostal Church of Uganda—knew that the people of this town could be empowered to reclaim the upper hand over their lives and families.

Local Trainers worked to show them God’s purpose, presence, and provision in their everyday lives. Month after month, faithful Trainers would return to find villagers eagerly awaiting the next lesson. And month after month, the trainers would return to see the lessons practically applied in the villages. Neighbors had shared lessons with neighbors, multiplying the impact throughout their community. The new life in the villagers’ hearts had transferred into their hands and was beginning to produce something never before seen in this region.

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The swamp, before the bridge

After a short time, several small victories had been won: installation of latrines, improved
crops, regular access to soap and water. Now, they were ready to tackle their Goliath—the
swampy marshland separating them from their markets, schools, and loved ones. While only a few kilometers separated these villages, navigating the swamp tripled the distance. Attempting to cross it cost the lives of several school bound children each year. The villagers were ready for a change.

The communities locked together with absolute resolve, declaring, “We shall build a bridge!” This Local Initiative prompted discussions by Local Leadership. These leaders identified the Local Capacities and Resources and drew up plans to solve the swamp problem. Through the power of God and their Local Ownership, they constructed a beautiful bridge over the troubled waters!

Soon after the bridge’s completion, a local man on his oversized tractor, attempted to traverse the bridge. To his surprise, he found his fellow villagers standing in front of the bridge, refusing him passage. They boldly declared that they ‘owned’ this bridge and his load exceeded what the bridge could bear. ‘We built this bridge ourselves and we will not have someone among us tearing it down.’ To this day, both villages maintain the road and the bridge, proudly watching over it as one of their greatest assets and achievements.

Since the construction of the bridge, no lives have been lost to the swamp.

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Keith Holloway is the Senior Missions Director of World Poverty Solutions, an organization working to end extreme poverty across the globe. Keith is a CHE trainer, facilitator, and a member of the Global CHE Network’s Representative Council. He and his wife Maureen live in Colorado Springs; they have six grown children and seven grandchildren. 

 

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Core Value: Long-Term Solutions

By John Payne, M.D.
Global CHE Network Representative Council Member

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In the late 1980s villagers in central Zaire (now D. R. Congo) came to Medical Ambassadors missionaries asking if the missionaries would teach them how they could help themselves. They had seen missions come, do good things for people, and leave. When the missionaries left, all the good things left with them.

The Medical Ambassadors missionaries suggested a 2-point solution

  1. Local people needed to be in charge – to set their own priorities and to use their own resources.
  2. The Gospel needed to be preached—service to God would put the goals into focus and provide the power to achieve them.

The villagers liked the idea. They chose their leaders; the leaders chose the community goals– sanitation, water purification, and agricultural advancement. They chose volunteers and trained them to reach these goals, all the while sharing Jesus’ teaching of loving their neighbors as themselves. These volunteers then went hut to hut, spreading what they had learned. Within a year, the results were so evident – healthier children, cleaner streets, happier people – that neighboring villages started asking if they could be trained too. By 1997, the one village using the CHE strategy had become 56 thriving villages.

But could such growth be sustainable? Civil war broke out and all the missionaries were evacuated. For four years, Medical Ambassadors was without contact with these communities, aside from being able to send a small amount to money to the trainers. At the end of these four years Medical Ambassadors revisited to discover that 56 villages had become 113 villages using CHE strategy. Malnutrition and infant mortality rates had been cut in half. Bible study, prayer, evangelism, and church giving suggested the spiritual maturity of the new believers to be the best outside evaluators had ever seen.

Since CHE was introduced to this region, outside missionaries have since been sent elsewhere. Aside from small amounts of outside funding, the locals of central Zaire have been equipped to find and sustain their own long-term solutions. Today, nearly 700 villages in that area are proving the effectiveness and longevity of CHE strategy. This is the power of local leadership equipped with the remarkable strength of the Holy Spirit.

 

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Dr. John Payne is a physician who served in the field of family medicine for many years before becoming a missionary. Since 2005, he has worked with Medical Ambassadors International: first, as Regional Coordinator for in East Africa and now as President/CEO. John and his wife Madelle work hand-in-hand at Medical Ambassadors; their two children and four grandchildren serve the Lord in various ways across the world.

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Representative Council Posts: Dayo Obaweya

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True Transformation in Africa

By Dayo Obaweya

“God has blessed Africa with an abundance of human and material resources.”

I have heard this rhetoric used all around me. Yet, we have not been able to utilize this abundance to bring about transformation. There seemed to be a disconnect between the  resources and the people. This inconsistency brought a swarm of questions that would lead me into a 25-year journey for understanding:

  • What resources does Africa have in common with the rest of the world? How does the rest of the world use its resources differently?
  • What about the beliefs and culture of my people could be responsible for this inconsistency?
  • How might God be leading us to create lasting change?

In my search for answers, I visited several communities to study what resources were available and how those resources were being used. I eventually discovered what I believe to be the root cause of the problem– a separation between the physical and spiritual ministry in most communities.

In the course of the search, God led me to CHE. When I went through CHE’s Training of Trainers, a veil was removed from my sight. This is the tool! I knew I was being called to bring CHE into my community. Immediately, my ministry partners and I began to mobilize people of all kinds to engage their own communities. We engaged not only churches and individuals of influence, but also reached out to marginalized groups like children,  women, and impoverished individuals. Soon, the CHE vision spread surrounding communities.

A recent visit from a partner church in the US helps show how far God has brought our ministry in these communities. Here are some highlights from this trip:

  • The team spent several days with the orphans at City of Refuge Ministries, enjoying arts, games, sports, and bible studies with themuntitled
  • In Avehime, 270 children came to our first Children’s Camp—almost 3 times as many as we expected! Team members led them in both spiritual and physical lessons—from Bible stories and memorization to fitness and music lessons.
  • Many of the mothers of these children were led through Women’s Cycle of Life training and were taught some basics of business and accounting.
  • In Kotokor, the team led our interns in lessons about health, sewing, carpentry, and cooking. Moreover, they were taught the importance of living a celibate lifestyle until marriage—this is especially unusual in an area with a 95% teen pregnancy rate.

Through steps like these, our communities began to see true transformation— our available resources were being used produce sustainable change and to build relationships with Jesus.

 

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After being introduced to CHE in 1999, Dayo Obaweya has been working to implement wholistic ministry throughout West Africa. He currently is the Regional Coordinator of Medical Ambassadors International for West Africa.

Learn more about Dayo’s work and impact here.

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Core Value: Integration and Wholism

By Ron Seck

How incredibly wholistic the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is!


Community Health Evangelism seeks to minister to the whole person: body, soul and spirit. When CHE does so it follows in the work of Jesus, the Apostles, and God’s eternal resurrection

When Jesus entered into the world, Greek thought ruled the culture. To them, the body was the worthless, defiled cage that imprisoned the immortal spirit. To discard this wretched, sinful body at death was the great, final liberation of the spirit. For a pure spirit to return to a physical body after death would be utterly foolish. The only eternal thing was the spirit.

Jesus’ bodily resurrection turns this whole way of thinking upside down. For forty days after his death, he walked and spoke and ate with his followers. He invites a doubtful Thomas to reach out a hand and touch his wounds (John 20). His resurrection shows that salvation belongs to both the spirit and the body.

When the Apostles preached Jesus’ bodily resurrection, they were declared a wholistic salvation for those who put their trust in Christ. They preached with such spiritual power that thousands were being converted, day-by-day. But the same awesome power was also manifested in incredible physical ways. As Acts 4: 33-34 records, “God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.” We witness here the physical integrated with the spiritual: the Church’s ministry to the whole person.

Lastly, at the final resurrection our immortal souls will be reunited with our physical bodies and we will live forever in a new heaven and earth. The final chapters of Revelation offer a vision of completed spiritual reconciliation and physical restoration. How incredibly wholistic the redemption of our God is!

Integration and wholism are core values of CHE because of their prevalence through the whole New Testament. We preach the bodily resurrection of Jesus, God’s salvation of the whole person through faith in Christ, the wholistic Kingdom that is now and not yet. We minister to the whole person—to the spirit and to the body. And we do so in order that there be no needy persons among us.

 

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Ron is a member of the Representative Council and is the Central European Coordinator for the Global CHE Network. 

He and his wife Jeannie work as the North American Baptist Field Directors for Hungary.
Visit Ron’s Blog to learn more about his ministry.

 

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