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Transforming Lives, Transforming Communities



Written by Joel Augustus, Executive VP of Field Ministry

What does it mean for a person to be healthy? Typically we think of physical answers to this question. Fitness, balanced diet, full mobility, lack of ailments, etc…

But what if true health goes much deeper than just the physical? What if it includes other aspects of life - the spiritual, the emotional, the relational, etc…?  

A person who is only physically healthy can have all kinds of sickness, or perhaps we can even call it “poverty,” in other facets of life. Rich in physical health, but relationally poor. Rich in physical fitness, but living in spiritual darkness.

A person is not truly healthy (or “rich” or blessed) unless they are healthy in every aspect of life.

Haitian girl smiling

Lifeline has long been a ministry focused on the whole person - attempting to address not only spiritual needs, but also physical needs. Our ministry efforts are focused on how the gospel of Jesus Christ transforms our future in heaven, but we also are convinced it should transform our reality on earth each and every day.

The gospel restores us to wholeness - true health - in our relationship with God, our relationship with others, our relationship with ourselves, and even our relationship with the natural world around us. But could the gospel also do the same to entire communities?

We are convinced it can and it should. Where the gospel is taken, as it plays out in the lives of God’s people, every area of life should be transformed over time.

During 2019, Lifeline has focused much attention on learning gospel based, community transformation methods known as CHE (Community Health Evangelism). This ministry model is not focused just on healthcare (physical), but on the whole spectrum of what makes a community healthy. Things like food, clean water, medication, education, friendships and neighborhoods, purpose and meaning in life, productive employment, peace with God, emotional stability, rest, strong families, and safety.

Earlier this year we held a training seminar in Spanish in Honduras where we trained church, school, and clinic leaders from Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras how to use CHE methods. We held another training seminar in Creole for our church, school, and clinic leaders in Haiti. A third CHE training session was held in English for our ministry leaders from the US and Canada. The outcome of these intense trainings has been much prayerful reflection on the past and even more prayerful envisioning of the future.  

Our staff in Central America and in Haiti have already taken the lead and have begun to implement CHE methods in our ministry. They will do so more and more into the future.  

Globe in hand

Our hope is to begin to introduce CHE to you, Lifeline’s supporters, so that you will understand the “why” behind the “what.” We want you to see the big picture behind the details of the day to day to ministry that is going on.

Over the next few months, we will be unpacking this ministry model to you through a series of articles and conversations.

For now, let us share with you the eight pillars of ministry using CHE methods:

  1. Integrate the spiritual and the physical (holistic gospel).

  2. Teach, don’t just “do” for someone.

  3. Prevention has a greater impact than cure.

  4. The local community should own (and drive) the ministry.

  5. Ministry should be sustainable, not dependent.

  6. Effectiveness is measured by producing mature Christian leaders.

  7. Multiplication of ministry and Kingdom workers is a must.

  8. “Development” trumps “relief” for long term impact and true transformation.

Honduran Man Smiling

This is a time of great excitement for Lifeline as we more fully implement these strategies in the way we minister. We can’t wait to see where God leads us and what he teaches us on the journey.
We know we will have to change the way we have done some things in the past and that might be painful, but we can’t wait to see the new things we will get to be a part of, and the transformation of lives - and even entire communities - that waits on the other side.

Please pray for us as we continue on this journey. John 15:2 (ESV) says that “every branch that does bear fruit, (the Father) prunes that it may bear more fruit.” Pruning is painful, and change is painful, but if we follow God’s leading we will see our Kingdom impact multiply and his name be praised.

Thank you for your constant support and prayers. If you have any questions on CHE and the direction we are heading, please contact me. Blessings!