World Vision launches weekly online chapel series for Christian students stuck at home

Dan (R) and Ali (L) perform worship music from their home in Seattle, Washington during a World Vision Ignite online chapel service on March 23, 2020.
Dan (R) and Ali (L) perform worship music from their home in Seattle, Washington during a World Vision Ignite online chapel service on March 23, 2020. | YouTube/World Vision

As part of its response to the coronavirus outbreak, the evangelical humanitarian charity World Vision is producing an eight-week online chapel series and curriculum resources to be utilized by Christian schools across the United States as students remain at home during the pandemic.  

World Vision Ignite, an integrated program that provides free online resources to students and schools, launched the World Vision Ignite Chapel Series last Monday to help Christian schools looking for ways to continue offering weekly worship services during the crisis. 

The series is hosted by World Vision’s Director of Channel Marketing and Experience Michael Forsberg. Each week, services include worship time and a message from a special guest lecturer. 

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“It's really a time for students to take a timeout, stop and reflect and rest and worship,” World Vision’s Senior Director of Partner Innovation, Lori Bae, said in an interview. “So in every chapel, we open with our hosts, so they'll see a friendly face. Then, we’ll have probably about two or three songs of worship, songs that are familiar songs that they know. And then we have chapel speakers who are World Vision experts.”

Each speaker will present a 20- to 30-minute sermon or chapel talk. 

“So our very first chapel talks about the coronavirus and talks about kids going through exactly what they're going through when it comes to having to wash their hands,” Bae explained. “We show a clip of kids from the Philippines, a clip from China. So you'll see kids all around the world understanding that they are going through the same thing that our kids are going through.”

The first service featured a special message from longtime World Vision writer Kari Costanza about “God’s love” and how “we can turn viral into a very good thing.”

“I know your lives have been turned upside down by the coronavirus,” Costanza told students in the chapel service. “I know that you are frustrated. I know that you are scared. I know that this virus has created a new phrase — social distancing. … Here we are 6 feet apart and trying to stay connected.”

World Vision Ignite has existed for two-and-a-half years. Bae, who leads World Vision Ignite, told The Christian Post in an interview that World Vision Ignite seeks to promote human transformation by equipping a “generation of students with a biblical worldview” and empowering them with “the tools to champion global change.”

Since its existence, World Vision Ignite has engaged 10,000 students from various Christian K-12 schools across the U.S. 

“Considering our current situation, we really felt the pull and God calling us to really serve, not only our partners but the 78 million families and children that are home right now across the country,” Bae explained. “That is where the Ignite chapel series came from.”

Bae said World Vision has heard from many of its partner schools that they will be including the chapel services as part of their learning management systems. Bae said that during the week as students with partner schools go through their regular coursework, they will take part in a common chapel.

“Depending on the school, every school is gonna approach it differently, but I could imagine a school saying, ‘Instead of our Wednesday chapels from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., everyone dial into here. We're going to watch it together,’” Bae explained.

She said there is a possibility that the eight-week series could be extended depending on the need. 

Bae stressed, however, that the weekly chapel experience is just one service that World Vision is offering during the coronavirus outbreak.

“‘How to homeschool’ has a 70 percent increase in Google Trends right now. I think it's something that every family, every parent is looking at. So we're turning kids homes into global classrooms,” she added. “We're also going to be leading into a series of curriculum for primary and secondary students where kids will learn and experience from World Vision experts in different lessons to help them understand the world's most pressing humanitarian issues like health, gender, WASH. [They] all become change agents in the world.”

Bae said the new curriculums will be released this week. 

“This is a free resource we're going to be putting on our landing page under the link for ‘Free Family Resources,” she said. “And that's where anyone can find all the chapel series, as well as the curriculum that we’ll be launching next week.”

According to Bae, the curriculum that World Vision is working on is a “self-standing” body of work “that can really just get plugged in, played and then just have an opportunity for some great conversation.”

“We want to serve and come alongside all of the parents and the teachers that are having to design curriculums all of a sudden,” she said. “It is about 40 to 50 minutes of content that is absolutely engaging from beginning to end. There's an activity that's built into the primary lesson. It gets them to think a little bit differently. Parents could easily just press play, and then watch it alongside their kids.”

As World Vision is one of the world’s largest evangelical humanitarian organizations operating in dozens of countries worldwide, the charity has also taken other steps to help people during the crisis. 

Last week, World Vision announced that it would work with its network of existing partners to distribute food and supply kits to over 650,000 people in major cities such as New York City, Seattle, Dallas and Chicago. Each kit will provide a week’s worth of food for a family of five as well as hygiene products, education supplies, and protective items. 

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