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”.

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.


CHE Core Values: Local Ownership


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.

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.

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.