Wheaton College’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute Has Led Evangelical Response to COVID-19

September 15, 2020

"HDI has led the Evangelical response to COVID-19": The country’s first faith-based academic disaster research center reaches +603 million people during COVID-19.

HDI logoThe Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) at Wheaton College has released a new six-month report detailing the impact of their COVID-19 response, which began nearly two weeks before the declaration of the global pandemic on March 11, 2020. 

Over the past six months, HDI has reached over 603 million people and trained 29,620 people around the globe.

“HDI has led the evangelical response to COVID-19 each step of the way, helping churches around the world to navigate the challenges with faith, wisdom, and vision over the last 6 months,” says Walter Kim, Ph.D., president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

In many areas, HDI was the first in the country to respond in serving the church. Over the past six months, HDI has:

  • Produced 118 new resources, which have been translated into 32 languages and downloaded 33,767 times,
  • Hosted 16 online events—including online summits and webinars,
  • Created 56 videos with 41,000 total views,
  • Published 108 articles, and
  • Received 1,102 media citations.

“The stories and statistics you’ll see are our way to be transparent and accountable as we seek to witness to God’s love in Christ. We also share these numbers to testify to the ways our HDI colleagues, students, alumni—and the entire Wheaton College community—are serving Christ and His Kingdom,” say Jamie Aten, Ph.D., and Kent Annan, M.Div., HDI co-directors, in their introductory letter.

HDI 6 Month COVID-19 Response ReportThe report also highlights the ways students and alumni in the M.A. in Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership program at Wheaton College Graduate School have served the church in this time of crisis. Over the summer, these M.A. students provided 3,520 service hours to 20 different organizations as part of their final Field Work assignments, many responding to COVID-19 needs and challenges. Students also contributed directly to HDI’s efforts, assisting in the creation of 22 different resources, from blog posts and tip sheets to devotionals and resource translations. HDI has also worked with numerous alumni in efforts to help others navigate the pandemic.

“With devastating events seemingly becoming more and more routine, the need for Wheaton’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute has never been greater,” says Philip Ryken, D.Phil., president of Wheaton College. “HDI’s response since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis has been especially inspiring, and necessary. HDI has been at the forefront of the evangelical church’s response to the global pandemic, providing resources for the churches and other ministries worldwide.”

Another hallmark of HDI’s response has been the many partnerships developed through various resources and events. HDI has partnered with the National Association of Evangelicals on the COVID-19 Church Online Summit, the resource website reopeningthechurch.com, as well as an ongoing webinar series tackling some of the most pressing issues churches are facing in the wake of a pandemic.

Other key partner organizations include the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Church, Food for the Hungry, Healthcare Ready, NavPress, N.T. Wright Online, Outreach, Inc., The PEACE Plan (a mission of Saddleback Church), and World Impact.

HDI’s mission is to help the church prepare and care in a disaster filled world, which they accomplish by translating research advances into biblically-based educational programs, trainings, resources, outreach activities, and partnerships. For more on HDI’s ongoing response to COVID-19, including a full list of resources, articles, events, and more, visit wheaton.edu/HDI-covid19.