Thank you for your faithfulness and dedication as we have walked through these challenging circumstances over the past few months. We believe that God is sifting and refining us, and that we will come out better on the other side. We will look different, but we will be better (see Hebrews 12:11).
We’re excited to announce that our target date to resume on-campus worship is: SUNDAY, AUGUST 2nd!
We will continue to do our best to obey the Great Commandment to love others (Matthew 22:34-40, Philippians 2) by following best practices (Romans 13, and 1 Peter 2:13-21). More details on the specifics of what that will look like will follow within two weeks.
We remain committed to Enjoying God, Embracing His Word, and Engaging His World.
We are praying for you and look forward to seeing you soon!
Updates & Sunday Services at Midland Free
To our dispersed church family of Midland Free:
We, as the Elder Board, wanted to take a moment to keep you informed of our discussions and planning around our coming together again for worship as a body.
Thus far we have been respectful of the directives of our government officials and the advice of the CDC and local health officials. We plan to continue to consider those directives and advice as we understand them to apply to Midland Free and our interactions together. It is very difficult to find the balance between caution for the health of all (especially the more vulnerable) and eagerness we sense from many who desire the sweet community of fellowship. Resolving this issue has become even more difficult with the additional time, energy and resources needed to adequately respond to the flood crisis that has affected many in our church family, as well as neighbors, and those alongside whom God is guiding us to walk.
We ask for your prayers and understanding as we continue to seek the Lord's clear direction. Equally as important, we ask that you show abundant grace to your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who may feel differently about the potential risks associated with reconvening our services. Satan would like nothing more than to pit us against each other on these kinds of non-essential matters. This is a chance for all of us to think less about ourselves and our rights or preferences and instead look out for the interests of others as we're instructed to in Philippians 2:2-4.
With the recent executive order change that allows for social gatherings of 10 or less, we recognize that this affords a first step to begin meeting together in small groups in our homes for those who feel comfortable doing so. As we mentioned at the start of restrictions back in April, this would be a wonderful opportunity to also have a meal together, to pray, and encourage one another before or after the streaming the worship service. This may be a Life Group you're already a part of or a new group you may want to start by gathering with some friends, relatives or neighbors. As an Elder Board, we encourage these kinds of fellowship, but ask that you remain respectful and inclusive of others who may not yet feel comfortable in gathering in these ways. This may include following government guidelines, practicing appropriate social distancing, and good hygiene practices as well as connecting electronically with those who are not yet ready to meet in person.
Please know that we have spent many hours praying over and discussing various options in which we might be able to meet together as a larger gathering. Our drive-in time of worship and business scheduled on June 7th is an example of one of those options. We are continuing to review the necessary steps that the church body, as well as our church office staff, may be required to complete before we can open up our facility under the current set of robust and ever-changing directives.
At this time, we're hoping to have some more solid direction on larger gatherings by the start of July. Our ultimate hope is in the Lord, and that coming through this we'll be better on the other side. We will keep you informed as things develop via email, our weekly newsletter, Facebook, and Sunday morning streaming announcements.
Thank you for walking faithfully together during this time!
Your Elder Board
Len Bogan, Troy Griese, Marty Hill, Jeff Koehlinger, Mike Ladenburger, Josh Stevens, Pastor Jeremy Lobdell
Here’s how we ask you to continue to participate and engage with us as we continue to be the church during these challenging circumstances:
God reminds us in Psalm 46 that He is our refuge and strength, and our ever-present help in trouble. Armed and confident in this truth, we hope and pray that we will, as a church body, use this opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus and a light of love, peace, and faith in these dark and uncertain times - through our prayers and our care for others we encounter in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces and community.
Please reach out to the Elders via email if you have any questions or concerns.
Trusting in His Sovereignty and Goodness,
Your Elder Board: Len Bogan, Troy Griese, Marty Hill, Jeff Koehlinger, Mike Ladenburger, Josh Stevens, and Pastor Jeremy K. Lobdell
The well-being of our Midland Free church family, visitors, staff and community is a top priority. We can all contribute to safe environments, whether we’re at home, school, work or church. Here are reminders we’ve gathered for paying attention to good respiratory etiquette and great personal hygiene:
Like many of you, Midland Free is paying close attention to updates from organizations that are monitoring the illness, like the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) as well as state and local health and safety officials:
INCREASED FLEXIBILITY AND EXTRA MEASURES OF GRACE: Our Pastors and Elders will make decisions to promote the safety and wellbeing of our church family and are carefully monitoring this situation as it unfolds. Please be flexible, as the situation is very fluid and we might need to make decisions on short notice.
While we expect the shelter in place restrictions to begin to be lifted in May and June, we expect that process to be slow and that we will not be free to meet all together for Sunday worship for quite some time (likely well into the summer). We do, however, plan to explore how we can begin to resume some of our more normal small group activities (Life Groups, prayer groups, ministry team meetings) in person in compliance with governmental and health department orders and guidelines.
As we do so, we plan to err on the side of slower vs. faster and health and safety vs. physical proximity. And, we will continue do what we can to reflect the widely different personal circumstances that will exist and protect you as you engage with us in ministry, including, live streaming of full Sunday morning services online at 10:45 am for the foreseeable future and encouraging and continuing to provide creative opportunities for our other ministries, from Small Churches to Life Groups, to BLAST, to JAM and XTREEME, to meet and engage on-line.
Please also extend an extra measure of grace to each other as we walk through the next few weeks together. Remember that each of us will have varying levels of sensitivity and concern about this situation, particularly as we emerge from shelter in place. Please be politely and lovingly clear about your own personal boundaries and respect those who may have personal boundaries more protective than your own.
Mindful of the need to be safe and responsible, we do encourage you to continue to look for new and creative opportunities to create community or fellowship in smaller settings, particularly online, whether through your Small Church, Life Group, or otherwise. God promises that where two or three are gathered together, whether in person or on-line, He will be present in the midst of them. Look at these uncertain times as an opportunity to reach out with the light of the Gospel of Christ to those around you.
Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we navigate this uncharted territory together. Let's commit to praying for those who have been impacted by the virus, check on our neighbors, be ready to serve others in our community, and pray for the spread to end.
The uncertainty of this outbreak is creating anxiety and even fear in our workplaces, schools, and day-to-day activities. Yet, as believers, we remain certain of God’s steadfast love, presence and careful attention to all that is happening. Please join us in praying for those who are affected by this illness, as well as their caregivers and those who are working around the clock to minimize the impact of this virus.
In Psalm 46, we are reminded that it is God who is our refuge and strength, and our ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, let us not fear, but with confidence use this opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus through our prayers and our care for others we encounter in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces and community.
Please call us or contact the Elders if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you.