In the span of about a week, churches all over North America have had to drastically reconsider how to spread the love of Jesus while at the same time slowing the spread of COVID-19. Passing the Peace was changed to sign language, holding hymnals replaced by projected song lyrics, and there was no more coffee hour. Now, congregating as a church must stretch its definition even further. In response, many Christian publishers and content providers have discounted or made their services free to help families and churches continue to deepen their faith while staying at home.
VidAngel, a streaming application and original content studio behind the life of Jesus series The Chosen, and Minno, a streaming service with “stories kids love, values parents trust,” each put out releases mid-March. VidAngel planned to make its content free till the end of the month. (The company later extended that offer through April.) Minno’s free offering is a Church-at-Home experience for kids.
Kids Corner, a collection of audio programs and resources from ReFrame Media, the English-language branch of the Christian Reformed Church’s media ministry Back to God Ministries International, has always been offered free. Ron VandenBurg, Senior Producer of Children’s Ministry for ReFrame suggests Terrene Episodes, Bible Stories Podcast, and The Kids Corner Activity Page.
Kids Corner has also collaborated with ReFrame’s Family Fire to publish “Talking to Kids About Coronavirus” and “Resources to Entertain Kids and Build Faith at Home.”
“In the coming weeks, Kids Corner will be publishing weekly articles to resource families in their at-home faith formation efforts and their upcoming Easter celebrations,” VandenBurg said.
ReFrame has five other free services including Groundwork, a weekly half-hour audio program that “digs deeply into scripture as a foundation for people’s lives,” and Think Christian, a digital magazine and podcast aimed at “devout followers of Christ who are also fans of popular culture.”
Robin Basselin, co-director for ReFrame, said, “We pray that people will find our free online resources to be spiritually nourishing and uplifting during this unprecedented time of disruption and isolation.”
Ministry Designs, a website development company based in Battle Creek, Mich., and focused exclusively on church website design, has removed its $1,000 activation fee to support churches in their efforts to switch over to streaming their worship services. Tyler Rominger, the company’s founder and CEO, said that since they’ve waived the fee, hundreds of churches have signed up. “We want to be a blessing in a possible time of need when meeting in person is unavailable.”
These services strive to offer hope during a scary and confusing time.
Basselin said, “We strive to come alongside people during this crisis with resources that will spur on their spiritual formation—as individuals, families, and churches—and bring hope and a much-needed reminder that God is always with us, even through the darkest of times and most difficult of struggles.”