The Christian University of Haiti is a small Christian college located in Gonaives, Haiti. We currently have the following three majors: Teaching & Education, Bible & Theology, Administration & Management. We run on two 18-week semesters per year, beginning in the month of September. We currently have three kinds of students. First, we have our upper-level full-time students who are taking about 18-21 credits per semester. Second, we have our Integrated Development Program first year full-time students who have a unique discipleship training school to meet their needs. Third, we have some upper-level part-time students who take one or two courses per semester and who are working towards completing their degrees.
Here is a list of the courses that we offered to our upper-level students during the Spring 2014 semester. These include the following: Christian Philosophy of Education, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Bible Study Methods & Hermeneutics, Study Skills and Foundational Research Methods, Health and Development, and Marriage & Family. Our students’ day begins with chapel from 5:15-5:45 am, followed by 45 minutes of private “secret place” devotional time. Our first class runs from 6:45 to 8:15. By 1:00 pm our students have completed their three classes for the day and a study hall. In the afternoon they have lunch, a rest time, and then 1.5 hours of work.
THE INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY OF HAITI
The Integrated Development Program of U.C.H. is a unique one-year discipleship training school designed to meet the specific needs of each student through a mentor-based model, not unlike that of Jesus and his disciples. This is not a “one size fits all” program; it is tailor-made to each individual.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines a “disciple” as: “a follower; an adherent to the doctrines of another.” Hence Christian disciples are those who receive Christ’s spiritual life and practice Christ’s principles & commandments. The call of Jesus echoes down through the centuries: “Come, follow Me!” We are each called to follow the Lamb of God and to abide in Him. Jesus defined the cost of discipleship when He said, “If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer summarized the essence of discipleship in these words: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
The word disciple comes from the Latin word discipulus, derived from disco, meaning to learn. It shares the same origin as the verb “discipline,” which means “to instruct or educate; to prepare by instructing in correct principles and habits; as to discipline youth for future usefulness; to instruct and govern; to teach rules and practice, and accustom to order and subordination; to correct.” We see from this definition that to disciple young people is to educate & discipline them how to live according to God’s principles and spiritual truth. Webster goes on to define “education” as “all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations.” This is the purpose and goal of UCH’s one-year discipleship training school known as the Integrated Development Program.
The U.C.H. faculty are not your typical modern university professors, but rather they will function as disciple-makers, as mentors, as spiritual fathers and mothers, and as models of godliness. The relationship between a faculty disciple-maker and his student (disciple) will be much like the spiritual relationship between the Apostle Paul and his disciple, Timothy, which was like a father-son relationship.
The “curriculum” is simply to make disciples, teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded, mentoring them in the spiritual life of walking in the Spirit, forming them into the character of Jesus, and establishing in their lives practical life skills, spiritual disciplines, godly habits and manners, healthy relationships, a strong work ethic, self-government under Christ, submission to godly authority, and the foundation of truth according to a Biblical worldview.
The one-year discipleship training school curriculum is practical, relevant, designed to be practiced and applied to real life experience, rather than academic or theoretical. Discipleship is the process of learning derived from practice and experience, not from theory and textbooks. One of the biggest problems in Haiti is that education is for the most part theoretical, academic, and textbook-based. Students go to school for fifteen years and practice only rote learning, repetition, memorization, and copying of notes. In general, they never learn how to think, to reason, to evaluate, to research, to understand fundamental principles, to persuade, to communicate well in writing and speaking, and to apply knowledge to the real world of relationships, work, and service. As a result, when they graduate from high school or university, they don’t know how to live in the real world. They have no practical life skills, don’t know how to start a business, don’t know how to serve in the community, don’t know how to establish a healthy marriage and family, don’t know how to manage their finances, and don’t know how to fulfill God’s Kingdom purpose for their lives. Therefore, we recognize the great need for a one-year discipleship training school which integrates spiritual truth and practical life principles into the students’ daily lives, in order to prepare them for their four years of university studies at UCH and for their future life work and service in God’s Kingdom.
The Christian University of Haiti is a five-year degree program. The first year is the discipleship-based “Integrated Development Program,” followed by four years of academic and practical instruction in various fields of study. When our students complete the full five-years at UCH, they will receive two degrees, a degree in their Major and a degree in Integrated Development.
We strongly believe in Jesus’ Hebraic model of education which is based in discipleship, mentoring, and a transformational incarnate approach. In Jesus’ model, the goal is for the truth to become one with the disciple to the point that it is lived out. Also, truth is to be learned by practicing it in relationship with others. In addition, truth is learned only when it is reflected in the disciple’s life through right relationship with God, others, and the environment.
Justin Martyr (A.D. 130) declared that the Christian faith revolved around a continuing cycle of “believing, belonging, and behaving,” which is what we would call today “integrated organic development.” 1) Knowing the truth or “Believing” into Christ is a process of understanding who God is and how we relate to Him and to others, which leads to a transformation of our lives in relationship with God and others. 2) This relationship bonds us with other disciples who share that relationship, enabling us to experience a sense of “Belonging” in the community of Christ’s body, a body in which every member works and does its part. 3) The truth transforms us as it becomes incarnated in us and becomes who we are, our very being. It effects our “Behaving” in our relating to God and to others in the community of disciples. Therefore, the cycle of believing, belonging, and behaving results is truth that is practiced and lived out in the daily life of worship, stewardship, relationships, work, and service.
The disciple-making model we are using at UCH in our Integrated Development Program consists of the following elements:
1. The call to follow Jesus: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
2. Discipleship is relationship-based with a personal godly mentor.
3. Discipleship is about making disciples who are disciplined and obedient followers of Jesus.
4. This model requires a deep commitment, an obedient trust in God, a denial of self, a renouncing of the world, and a taking up of the cross including suffering, trials, and persecution.
5. This model is community-based where our group of disciples live together in one place and share their daily life together with each other and with their mentors. The disciples live together as a Christ-centered community of disciples who enjoy a sense of belonging, acceptance, accountability, and a unifying team spirit.
6. This model includes teaching each student how to start and run his own business in order to pay for his UCH education and to support himself and his future family. The students learn the value of a solid work ethic and entrepreneurship through UCH’s work-study program.
7. This model at UCH is a “24/7 discipleship process” without outside obligations or distractions and without family interference or responsibilities.