As we process the events of the past few weeks of Spring 2020, it is easy to focus on the hardships and challenges of dealing with COVID-19, but let’s also make sure to open our eyes to the ways people have come together and how technology has helped in making life in this new reality. At Faith Alive, we want to share a few stories about how Spring 2020 has shown us God’s providence.
We launched Dwell Digital not even a year ago (July 2019). Now this convenient, online Sunday School curriculum is being used even more widely during this period of church shutdowns and social distancing. Children’s Ministry coordinators that had been using Dwell Digital quickly switched to emailing lessons out to families for home schooling ever since churches stopped meeting in person due to COVID-19.
Even before the virus became a pandemic, we had plans to offer Dwell Digital free to the Christian Reformed churches thanks to their ministry share support. In March we sent out the initial announcement, and by the first week over 30 churches had signed up. Now even more congregations are using this convenient online curriculum to continue nurturing the faith of their youngest members - even from a distance.
A unique example of Dwell Digital use comes from a seminary in Richmond, VA. They were using the Dwell curriculum in their Masters of Church Education program. Once they sent all students to shelter at home due to the virus, the administration quickly ordered a subscription to Dwell Digital and these future teachers were able to have instant access to the materials online and continue their studies. One year ago, we were busy making preparations for Dwell Digital without any thought of how it might be used during a pandemic. But God knew.
We also see God’s providence in the Dwell at Home resources that were rolled out only five months ago and continue to be developed. These free tools were specially designed to encourage and equip families as they nurture faith at home. For this time of year, God’s Big Easter Story has been especially popular and downloaded often.
Another useful online tool people have turned toward has been the CRC Digital Library. It became available four years ago to provide free, online access for CRC members to hundreds of Faith Alive titles—including curriculum, Bible studies, and more. The online library was intended to maximize the use and ministry impact of Faith Alive’s resources, and it especially delivers in this stay-at-home reality.
Having a social platform like The Network on which to post information for everyone to see has also been an act of providential timing. It started 10 years ago, and when the pandemic struck, traffic doubled when compared to the same time in 2019, and pageviews hit a new site record for the month. People are coming together and sharing many encouraging thoughts and ideas on this social platform. (Note: the Christian Reformed Church in North America runs The Network and Faith Alive Christian Resources is the publishing imprint of the CRCNA).
Looking back, we see that all of these resources were built for such a time as this! God had a plan when he inspired the creative people to craft these tools.
”And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” - Esther 4:14b (ESV)