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Please refer to this page for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19, the coronavirus, and what Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A. is doing to address the safety of students while continuing to minister to them.

Episode 280 of the National Director Staff Video Blog

Leading in this Pandemic: Chi Alpha Campus Ministries Teams Share Their Wisdom

Episode 279 of the National Director Staff Video Blog

Episode 278 of the National Director Staff Video Blog

Episode 277 of the National Director Staff Video Blog

Episode 276 of the National Director Staff Video Blog

Episode 275 of the National Director Staff Video Blog

April 15, 2020 Email to Affiliates

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

– 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

Greetings fellow Chi Alphans,

We are living in unprecedented times as COVID-19 has changed our world. There are many uncertainties today: Will our campuses be open this fall? Will my budget hold up? Yet, as I have recently shared in National Director video blogs, there is much I am confident and certain of. I am certain that when we humble ourselves and pray, our God hears us.

On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, the Chi Alpha Executive Ministry Team is calling a day of fasting and prayer for Chi Alpha Nation. We are asking every Chi Alpha affiliate to join us in fasting at least one meal and hopefully all food that day. We will convene at 1:00 PM Central Time on Facebook Live as Chi Alpha Nation to humble ourselves before our Lord and pray together for our families, students, universities, churches, economy, and awakening. We will also pray against COVID-19.

You will be able to post any prophetic words and Holy Spirit led prayer that the Lord may give during the prayer meeting in the video chat box.

I am personally asking every one of you to join me. If you have something scheduled, please change it. Invite your students to join us as well.

This is our moment to stand in the gap. See you in prayer next week!

E. Scott Martin
National Senior Director
Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A.

Episode 274 of the National Director Staff Video Blog

April 9, 2020 Email to Affiliates

Dear Chi Alpha Family,

I hope you’re doing well during these strange days. You have encouraged me with the perseverance and teamwork you’ve displayed. Your devotion to disciple making whatever it takes has been exemplary and it’s going to bear fruit.

We wanted to inform everyone that National Chi Alpha has decided that all international missions trips for summer 2020 need to be postponed to next year.

Here are a few reasons: AGWM has already restricted all travel for the foreseeable future. We also feel it serves our world missionaries best to let them focus their time and energy to navigating unprecedented ministry challenges.

As for us in the US, today we have become the primary hot spot in the world with 434,000+ cases followed by Spain with 152,220. It is unlikely that countries will open their borders to travelers from the US until we have this under much better control. There is so much uncertainty and complexity to preparing an international team in this climate. We want to encourage everyone to focus their time and energy on preparing for the changes that we will still be dealing with in the fall.

Domestic trips may still be considered depending on the context and governing authorities. For example, Virginia is under a stay at home order through June 10, so we would abide by that order. Universities may have specific mandates as well, and we will follow those. You will still need to register stateside teams as normal (chialpha.com/expeditions).

We are also working on a “virtual missions trip” resource in cooperation with veteran AGWM friends of Chi Alpha and Chi Alpha leaders. Our goal is to have this available by June 1. If you’re interested in participating, stay tuned for more information in the coming days.

Psalm 46:10-11 has been a promise that’s fueled my prayers the last few weeks:
He says, “Be still, and
know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Even while we are “still,” He will be exalted among the nations. This is not a prayer request. It’s a promise. This is not something we pray for God to do. It’s something God plans to do. So I’m praying, “God, give us front row seats!”

We love you! We are praying for you! We believe in you! We are here for you!

If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me (Brian) at bhargett@ag.org or 919-280-1512. 

Brian and Mindy Hargett
Chi Alpha Expeditions Directors

XA National Director Staff Video Blog Episode #273

XA National Director Staff Video Blog Episode #272

March 27, 2020 Email to Affiliates

Greetings Chi Alpha Nation,

I’ve (Harv) got a old song I grew up with as a kid running through my head. It goes like this:

In times like these you need a Savior
In times like these you need an anchor
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

These are unusual times, however, it does present us with unique possibilities. This is a great time to dive deep in our personal, spiritual life, a great time to focus on team building, and a great time to give guidance to students.

Stefa and I put our thoughts together and provided you with some suggestions on how to maximize these times in the ways just mentioned. We hope some of these ideas resonate within you and you find them beneficial for your growth in Christ.

We love you all,
Harv Herman & Stefa Chappell
National Chi Alpha

XA National Director Staff Video Blog Episode #271

Download

XA National Director Staff Video Blog Episode #270

March 13, 2020 Email to Affiliates

Dear affiliate,

Yesterday’s news cycle was remarkable. WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic. The NBA suspends its season. The NCAA says March Madness will have no fans in the stands. Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson are diagnosed as positive for coronavirus. And many more universities impose class closures and/or online-only learning while restricting meetings-on-campus.

Yesterday I suggested some ways to respond.

  1. The world needs you to be a pastor.
  2. Pastor students through fear with hope and love.
  3. Respect those who grieve by keeping opinions personal.
  4. Work in tandem with your university’s response to COVID-19.
  5. Use your best missional imagination.
  6. Give attention to what this crisis teaches you.
  7. Learn from one another.
  8. Find credible sources and stay well-informed.

Let’s circle back and consider a few more considerations.

Take public safety seriously.

Pay close attention to the recommendations coming from the national health organizations. For example, consider asking students to wash their hands when they arrive at a gathering and before they leave. Keep a safe social distance and restrict personal contact. Sanitize the meeting venue before and after. Ask students feeling symptoms to not show up, etc. Remember universities are notorious for spreading infections. I still remember the SALT where 40% of the attendees came down with the flu – including me.

Comply with university written statements regarding the pandemic.

As a recognized student organization, we agreed to abide by their requirements. So, what is the official stance your university is taking? Are they saying no weekly meetings, or no meetings of more than 50 or 100 people, or no small group gatherings? What is their policy for social distance? We recommend you comply with their official requirements, and you inform the school that you are complying. Beyond that, ask the university how Chi Alpha could help them at this time of crisis.

Consider when the students go home.

At this point, it appears the effects of the virus are mild the younger you are, but not so for parents and grandparents. Let’s do what we can to protect the health of their loved ones who are more vulnerable.

Play the long play.

Chi Alpha wants to be back on campus with great favor in the fall. Building favor now will no doubt increase favor going forward.

Suspend Spring Break mission trips.

Today Brian Hargett, our national Expeditions director will speak to you via video on Facebook. Brian is recommending all international travel be cancelled and complying with university travel bans. Regarding domestic travel, again abide by university travel bans, and also consider your hosts. They may have their hands full, and your team may be more than they can handle.

Serve the international student.

Sevo Lwali, our national XAi director, will also address you by video shortly. Serving the international student presents an unprecedented opportunity to love and serve during this uncertain time.

Go virtual.

We recommend using Facetime, Zoom or other video conferencing solutions to keep the community interacting now while on campus and during the summer months. Who knows how long this pandemic will last? We believe video and phone calls are better for community than texting during a crisis. If your campus develops video sermons, please record and send your best ones to us (email mhiteman@ag.org). These video sermons by fellow Chi Alpha leaders would be a terrific resource to share around the country. 

Think “Why” and not only “What.”

This crisis provides us with a golden opportunity. We all know WHAT we do on campus through Chi Alpha. But when you are not able to everything you normally do, you can in a fresh way ask, “WHY do we do WHAT we do?” Asking WHY we do what we do may open you up to previously unconsidered options.

Use off-campus facilities as touch points.

I am not suggesting you move your meetings off campus, but consider planting yourself for most of the day in a public place or a local church and let the students know you may be found there. The students could come-and-go to touch base with you or receive prayer.

Again, I encourage you to report what you are doing in response to the pandemic on Fb and keep the conversation going.

Love to you all,
Harv Herman
National Program Director
Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A.

March 11, 2020 Email to Affiliates

Dear affiliate,

I just checked my news feed at noon on March 11th and the World Health Organization (WHO) just declared the coronavirus a pandemic.

Earlier this morning I checked with the CDC and discovered 121 universities are closing classes and/or going with online-only classes. Of those 121, 29 have a chartered Chi Alpha ministry. I fully anticipate by the time you read this in a couple hours these numbers with minimally double.

In my field of study, we call the COVID-19 outbreak a “wild card occurrence.” This describes an occurrence deemed improbable, but it has large and immediate consequences for everyone in an organization. 

Whatever you call it, it is disruptive and creates uncertainty. Uncertainty for you, your family and the university ministry you lead. Most things you rely on are changing and that is unsettling. Suddenly, it is not business-as-usual.

How are we to respond to a pandemic? As Chi Alpha missionaries, now is the time to lead and pastor. We are presented with a great challenge, but also a great opportunity. I suggest you consider the following.

  1. At a time of crisis, the world needs pastors to be pastors who exhibit empathy and do acts of love. As Paul says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:12-13
  2. Don’t dismiss people’s fear. Fear is very real and sometimes emotionally crippling. Pastor them through their fears. At the same time, be honest with your own fear. But a pastor does not peddle or promote fear. In Christ we are people of faith and hope. Acknowledge fear, but offer hope in love. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
  3. Respect the anxiety and grief of the families whose loved ones have contracted the virus and/or who have succumbed to the disease, even if you never have a chance to meet them. If you know someone, show pastoral care. If you never meet one, show respect to them by monitoring what you say in public forums and social media. If you disagree with the actions of governmental officials or health organizations, keep those opinions to yourself and/or to your trusted friends and off the digital airwaves.
  4. Work in tandem with your university’s response to the virus. Do all you can to support their efforts to protect their students and staff and keep them safe and healthy. As a university ministry, we exist as guests serving the spiritual development of their students. Act as a gracious guest.
  5. Seize this moment with your best missional imagination. If you are not permitted to hold a main weekly meeting, or you must disband small group gatherings, ask how you may continue to best serve your students. In particular, continue to meet in 1-on-1 situations. Consider the felt needs of the international students and do all you can to serve them. Internationals are often marginalized in these situations. This situation provides a genuine opportunity to serve an international without feeling awkward.
  6. Keep track of what you are learning from the Lord as we maneuver through disruptive days. Who knows, but we may be learning valuable lessons in case a day arises when we lose access to students through the loss of student organization status.
  7. Learn from one another. Follow the Chi Alpha Staff Facebook group and let others know what you are doing. If you create resources in this process, share them online.
  8. Read how others are responding to the coronavirus. For example, here are a couple somewhat differing perspectives to check out:  https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/preparing-your-church-for-coronavirus/  /  https://sojo.net/articles/first-rule-pastoring-during-outbreak-tell-truth

We here at the National Chi Alpha Ministry Center are forming a task force and will meet daily as the pandemic continues. We will send out updates as we move along through these uncertain days. 

Our morning devotional this morning here in Springfield came from the Book of Joshua where we are repeatedly admonished to “Be strong and very courageous.” Now is especially a time to rise up and be the people of God. I close with an old hymn of the Church (please don’t get hung-up on the gender exclusiveness).

Rise up O men of God,
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength,
To serve the King of Kings,
To serve the King of Kings.

Rise up O men of God,
His Kingdom tarries long,
Bring in the day of brotherhood,
And end the night of wrong,
And end the night of wrong.

Rise up O men of God,
The Church for you doth wait.
Send forth to serve the needs of men
In Christ our strength is great,
In Christ our strength is great.

Lift high the Cross of Christ,
Tread where His feet have trod,
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up O men of God,
Rise up O men of God.

Rise up O men of God,
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength,
To serve the King of Kings,
To serve the King of Kings.

Love to you all,
Harvey Herman
National Program Director
Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A.

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