Center for Community Transformation

ENLACE’s Center for Community Transformation, located in El Salvador, is dedicated to providing learning, training and research opportunities on church and community led poverty alleviation. The Center currently provides an ongoing study abroad program for undergraduate and graduate students and also leads short-term classes on special topics, forums and seminars for church leaders, practitioners and scholars. While ENLACE has provided space and support to academics and practitioners conducting research in the field of faith based community development for many years, the Center will develop this aspect more formally in the near future with the goal to encourage and share research on community transformation.

El Salvador shifted my perspective…I am thankful for the relationships that I still have from my initial study abroad and my recent trips back. I am now able to use those tools in my professional life working with at-risk teens in America to reach their full potential.
– Trinity Flores, Vanguard University, Sociology, Graduated May 2015

The ENLACE Study Abroad Program is an in-country, field and classroom-based learning experience for undergraduate and graduate students focussing on the areas of poverty alleviation and community transformation… For more information click here.

Discovering a Life with Purpose through CCT’s Study Abroad Program

Classes are conducted through a series of consecutive modules (3-4 week in duration) over a three-month period. Each module includes a combination of class instruction and fieldwork.

Courses include: Spanish
Area Studies:

  • Latin America
  • Mission of the Church (Theology/Ecclesiology of the Church)
  • Church-based Community Transformation/Development
  • Economic Development and Poverty Alleviation
  • Community/Public Health
  • Social Business Development
  • Microenterprise Development and Microfinance

This program is unique in that students receive credit for five academic courses while also earning credit for an internship with ENLACE. During this internship, students spend time with various ENLACE church partners throughout rural El Salvador.

For more detailed information click here for a ENLACE Study Abroad Program Packet.

Click here to read blog of John Mark Robeck, Program Director

My time here in El Salvador has been an unforgettable experience. I’ve been shown the world of poverty in a new light, grown tremendously as a person and have acquired a rediscovered faith, leaving me to be a changed person.
– Emily Klos, Southeastern University, Marketing, Graduating Spring of 2017

Having the privilege to study in El Salvador did more than just enhance my knowledge of poverty alleviation and church based community development. I gained an insight for God’s love of people and desire for us to know Him and serve and love His people as Christ did, that completely changed my understanding of the mission of the kingdom of God.
– Kasey Wells, Southeastern University, Psychology, Graduating May 2018

I am certain that as I begin law school this fall that God will continue to reveal how I can use the strategies I learned about community development through this study abroad to bring about change in my own city and nation. I’m so grateful for the stories that intersected my own in El Salvador and how they will impact my passion to make a difference in the future.
– Vonciel Bryant , Southeastern University, International Business, Graduated 2015

Center Staff

John Mark Robeck, Program Director
Ph.D., Theology, Ethics, and Culture, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA

Ron Bueno
B.A., Cultural Anthropology, Southern California College, Costa Mesa, CA, summa cum laude

Jamie Huff
Ph.D., Philosophy in Anthropology, American University, Washington, DC

James (Jamie) G. Huff Jr. received his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from American University (Washington, DC) in 2004, and worked as Associate Professor of Anthropology at Vanguard University (2002-2014) prior to his faculty appointment to the Human Needs and Global Resources Program at Wheaton College. His teaching and scholarly interests focus on understanding the relationship among three particular domains of cultural and social experience – namely, religious change, community development and human flourishing. At the broadest level his scholarship explores the changing religious landscapes of contemporary Latin America, with a particular focus on the social and economic changes generated by the rapid growth of Pentecostal-charismatic forms of Christianity across the region. For the past decade he has regularly conducted ethnographic fieldwork in El Salvador where he has documented the involvement of Pentecostal churches in community-based efforts to alleviate rural poverty. As an applied anthropologist, Dr. Huff is especially interested in helping development organizations better evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts to sustain human flourishing. And since 2008 he has worked collaboratively with the staff of a Christian non-profit organization (ENLACE) to implement evaluation studies that assess the impact of local development initiatives on the social, economic and physical well-being of rural communities across El Salvador.

More about Dr. Huff click here

ENLACE exists to equip churches to transform their communities.Since 1993, ENLACE has trained over 100 churches in rural and urban contexts in El Salvador and a growing number of churches in Nepal since 2014. We have also trained church leaders in Peru, Colombia, India, and the United States. Over the last twenty years, ENLACE has developed a flexible and contextually dynamic approach to help churches connect to and serve effectively their communities. The approach focuses on listening to church pastors and leaders and walking alongside them as they discover the resources of their church body, build relationships with community leaders and organizations and strengthen or foster community partnerships to address the specific needs and opportunities of their communities.