History of Community Health Evangelism

Stan Rowland

Stan Rownload

In 1978, after spending almost three years at Arrowhead Springs helping to launch the Agape Ministry (Christian Peace Corp), Stan Rowland, now Director Emeritus of the Collaborative of Neighborhood Transformation, wrote a document at the request of Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) on how to integrate curative care, health education/community development, and spiritual growth. This document became the premise for the Community Health Evangelism (CHE) strategy.

The first CHE program was inaugurated as a clinic/CHE project in Keriocho, Uganda, in 1980. When civil war erupted in 1982, the team moved to Buhugu, Uganda. Three additional projects were developed in Uganda, and two in Kenya, including the Letein Hospital CHE program. These early projects were rural, based on agriculture or disease prevention.

The results were impressive. Local volunteers from ten villages involved in the Buhugu project improved and protected 40 springs and built a 13 km, gravity-fed water system that provided clean water for more than 10,000 people. The incidence of measles in the area was reduced by 40% and deaths due to diarrhea were reduced by 30%. In addition, several individual projects, operating according to CHE concepts, were also successfully carried out by groups within the community. These projects included bee-keeping, seedling-plant nurseries, ponds for raising fish as a food source, and improvements in many home garden plots. The CHE training team also spent as much time in discipleship as in physical subjects. [1]

In 1990 Stan and his wife Rose Mary joined Medical Ambassadors International in Modesto, California. At this point, Medical Ambassadors decided to transition away from supporting clinics, and to focus on community development and disease prevention. Stan Rowland brought the CHE strategy with him, and for many years continued to develop and refine this holistic strategy as it spread around the world. Today it has become a CHE movement.

The Community Health Evangelism Movement

From its very early days, Medical Ambassadors has had a purpose of multiplication or replication of the Community Health Evangelism (CHE) strategy. One way to do this was to share both trainings and CHE materials with other missions, groups, and churches who wanted to use this strategy in their own ministries.

Since 2005, the widespread use of Regional Councils in different parts of the world has brought together people from many organizations using CHE to encourage one another and learn from each other.

This spirit of collaboration took a great leap forward in 2008 when Terry Dalrymple issued the call to form the Global CHE Network. Many organizations responded and joined this collaborative. This collaborative exists for the purpose of networking different ministry organizations together as equals and to serve their interests individually and collectively to promote and grow the CHE method.

2012, members of 520 different organizations are now using the CHE concept independently. A few of these organizations include the Assemblies of God, Partners International, Fida International, International Mission Board (Southern Baptist), Youth With A Mission (YWAM), Bridges of Hope, World Gospel Mission, ReachGlobal, Covenant World Missions, Christian Missionary Fellowship, and many others.

As a result, thousands of communities around the world are being empowered through CHE to make improvements that are lasting because they are the community’s own solutions, born of their own ingenuity, dedication, and success. The Global CHE Network is incorporated under the Alliance for Transformational Ministry (ATM), an independent 501c(3) established in 2008.

In 2005, Stan Rowland began creating a new model of CHE called Neighborhood Transformation. This new model is being used in urban-poor settings in North America in a number of states, with the first programs started in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area.