Returning to child sponsorship done differently: Chosen

May 17, 2023
In 2019, World Vision Canada introduced a new experience that empowers children in need by flipping the sponsorship process: Chosen.
At the first Canadian church, Soul Sanctuary in Winnipeg, Lead Pastor Gerry Michalski invited the congregation to sign up and have a photo taken. “There are kids waiting to be sponsored, my challenge to you is that you will walk out today, you get your picture taken, and those kids will get to choose you, they’ll get to choose you.”  
Three years later, Pastor Gerry still talks about the whole reverse sponsorship experience.
“Watching people open up envelopes with their names on it with kids who chose them is very powerful and personal,” He said. He believes it touches the congregation on a deeper level. “They are committed to doing this, the emotional imprint off the top is very huge, people are responding to the call of God to look after the orphans.”

Why did churches stop hosting Chosen events?
Next, Lakeshore Evangelical Church volunteered to be Chosen by children in Kenya. Then Forest City Community Church answered the call with an emotional challenge by Pastor Rob Hogendoorn for children in Malawi. Congregants flooded the cameras with their positive responses. Despite this momentum, Forest City was the last church to host Chosen pre-pandemic. Doors slammed shut and Forest City lost its in-person ‘Reveal Party’ to celebrate together.
Finally, one last church, The Meeting House, tested the first Canadian all-virtual Chosen event for children in Malawi. Yet, due to challenges, Chosen paused temporarily to provide better hybrid opportunities. God still did beautiful things despite the change in plans.

Child in Malawi chooses a sponsor by picking a photo from a display of pictures at a World Vision Canada event.In Malawi, this young girl picks her sponsor: a couple from The Meeting House, who signed up as part of a Chosen event.

How Chosen works now – a second chance
Now that travel has resumed, World Vision Canada has reopened the Chosen child sponsorship program with hybrid options and ways to make the Chosen process more flexible to all sizes of churches.
In November 2022, congregants experienced Chosen at two different churches. At The Olive Branch Community Church, Selina, a church volunteer, expressed her appreciation “Thank you for coming to our church and spreading the amazing work of God. I had a ton of fun volunteering and watching people open their envelopes—it was so fulfilling!”
As pandemic restrictions were lifted, Forest City Community Church held a second Chosen event at their church. Lead Pastor Rob and wife Coby conveyed their “sense of love and gratitude and deeper appreciation” for just how important Chosen is “for every life, for every child, for every family...and community.” They affirmed that “faith in Jesus is at the core of this” and how they are “seeking to see lives transformed not just through improvements, but the God who is behind it.”

How Chosen can continue to help change lives

When we first launched Chosen in 2019, we believed it would change the future of churches and of hundreds of thousands of children and their communities. Now more than ever, we believe that this light and life is needed here in Canada and in the areas hit toughest by poverty and by the global food crisis. Together, we can help change the lives of children and communities. Do not wait: Learn more about how your church can be Chosen.
Contact a church advisor about Chosen