Midland Evangelical

Free Church

Midland Evangelical Free Church logo

IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATE:

 At this time we are offering a STREAMING SERVICE ONLY on Sundays at 10:45 AM. Due to the stay-at-home order issued by the Governor, the Midland Free church building is closed, and as a result, all ministry events at our campus are cancelled or postponed until further notice.

When the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, we will post updates and look forward to seeing you again!

  • We ask you to subscribe to our weekly email for all important updates. >>Subscribe here.
  • Do you have a prayer request or other need? Visit our Care page to submit a Benevolence application.
  • We hope you will continue to give as you are able so we can continue to meet the needs of our church family and also work toward our shared goal of spreading the Gospel locally and around the world.
    • Online giving is the most convenient and preferred method to receive your generous contributions to our ministry. You can also text the word GIVE to 989-244-7155 or mail a check to Midland Free,
      7221 N. Jefferson Ave., Midland, MI 48642. Thank you!
  • Please subscribe to our YouTube or Vimeo channels to watch the Sunday service online.
  • Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram (icon links above) to keep in touch with current news about our church.  Thank you!

NEW Updates & Sunday Services at Midland Free

(Posted - 6:00 pm, Monday, May 4, 2020)

 

Dear Midland Free Church Family,

On Monday, March 23, Governor Whitmer issued a new Executive Order suspending, activities not necessary to sustain or protect life, including a stay at home requirement and prohibiting public and private gatherings of any number of people among persons not part of a single household.  That order was extended twice, most recently on Friday, April 24th, when Governor Whitmer extended that suspension of such activities, with some revisions, until at least May 15th. While we are sensitive to the Biblical imperative in Hebrews 10:25 to meet together as a church body for regular corporate worship, we also want to honor the command in Romans 13 to be submissive to our governing authorities. And, we want to be sensitive to the potential realities of the current Coronavirus situation, and to ensure that we are a positive witness for Jesus Christ and the Gospel in our community.

In light of these circumstances, we would like to update you on some additional changes that will occur at Midland Free from now through at least May 31, 2020.

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:

  • ONLINE STREAMING SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP: On Sunday mornings we will continue to host a time of worship and teaching online at 10:45 AM. You can view the streaming video on our YouTube channelVimeo channel or Facebook page. We strongly encourage everyone in our church family to connect live at 10:45 AM to participate corporately in our time together. The Bible (see Hebrews 10:23 and Acts 2:42) is very clear about the importance, for the church body as a whole and each of us individually, to meet together regularly for purposes of encouragement and stirring one another up towards love and good deeds. We look forward to seeing you there Sunday morning!
  • SMALL CHURCH & SMALL GROUP FELLOWSHIPS: In light of the Executive Order, we continue to encourage these groups to meet virtually on Sunday mornings during the 9:00 hour.  We continue to work with Small Church leaders on creative ways and supportive technologies to facilitate these online gatherings.  Please continue to watch for more from your Small Church or Sunday morning study group leaders.
  • LIFE GROUPS: We also encourage Life Groups to continue to meet weekly. These meetings could occur online, thorough Facetime, Webex, Zoom or other similar apps. You should expect further communication about this from your Life Group Leader. If you are not in a Life Group or a Small Church but would like to join one, please contact Pastor Gib at 989-859-6137.
  • BLAST CHILDREN'S MINISTRY: The BLAST Children’s Area will continue to be closed on Sunday mornings through at least May 31. Watch for more information from Kristi Smith on how you can continue to engage your children with our BLAST Ministry.
  • YOUTH MINISTRY: JAM and XTREEME will no longer meet in person but are meeting virtually. Please watch for further communications from Pastor Chuck and his staff each week about how to connect within those ministries, including DG Groups.
  • CARING FOR NEIGHBORS: We also want to continue to be the light of Christ to others in our community and neighborhoods. Jesus gives us tremendous hope during this time of cultural uncertainty and change. If you are able and comfortable doing so, reach out to your neighbors to connect, to see if there are needs you can meet, or how you can otherwise be of assistance. This is a wonderful opportunity to pray and encourage one another.
  • PLEASE NOTE: Based on the guidelines set forth by the CDC and others, please consider the health and safety of everyone in our church family as well as our neighbors. Meeting together at this time is not permitted, but connecting together in meaningful ways is still an essential part of your spiritual health and growth.  We encourage you to exercise sound personal judgment, be sensitive to God’s leading, and find creative ways to keep engaging as the united bride of Christ during these times. Be a light in the darkness to all you encounter.

    Decisions an all other ministry events and activities will be made on a case by case basis as we move forward through May 31. We will communicate updates, invitations, and changes through our social media pages, website, emails, and messages from ministry leaders to their teams.
  • GIVING & TITHES: We are taking prudent cost-saving measures as a staff during these unprecedented times. However, the financial needs of the church and facility continue, as nearly 71% of our annual budget is “fixed” costs (such as our mortgage, utilities, and salary and benefits costs). Our giving in March and April has been strong, and for that we are thankful to God and our congregation!

    We hope you will continue to give as you are able so we can continue to meet the needs of our body and also work toward our shared goal of spreading the Gospel locally and around the world. 

    Online giving is the most convenient and preferred method to receive your generous contributions to our ministry.  You can contribute in one of the following ways:

 

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

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Is Midland Free open?

  • No.  In light of the Executive Order
    issued most recently on Friday,
    April 24, our office and building
    are closed to anyone other than
    individuals necessary to conduct
    minimum basic operations. 
    We'll communicate scheduling
    changes directly through individual
    ministries, by email or Facebook
    and reflect those changes on the
    website and social media
    whenever possible.

 

Will Midland Free be open for Sunday worship services?

  • In light of the existing Executive Orders, we will continue to hold a single online service at 10:45 AM, at least through May 31.
  • You can view the service online on our YouTube channel, Vimeo channel or Facebook page.
  • While we are not meeting together as a full church body, we are encouraging our Small Churches to gather on-line during their normal Sunday meeting times and continue to study, pray, and care for each other. We are also encouraging our Life Groups to meet together online to worship together, study God’s Word, pray, fellowship, and otherwise care for each other.
  • All of these opportunities are subject to the guidance in the “TAKE PRECAUTIONS” section below, and we encourage everyone to err on the side of promoting and preserving health and safety if there is any question about whether to attend one of these smaller gatherings.

 

How can I continue giving if I am unable to attend worship gatherings?
  • While we will not be formally meeting for the together for the foreseeable future, we do understand that people want to be faithful and obedient in making their tithes and offerings. And, while we are not having Sunday services together, our “fixed” costs for the building and staff, which comprise about 71% of our budget, continue with little or no practical ability to reduce them.
  • Online giving is available for your convenience and continues to be our preferred method for giving.
  • Click here to give online.
  • You can also give by texting the word GIVE to 989-244-7155.
  • And, for those who you prefer to give by an actual, physical check, you can do so by mailing a check to our main office at 7221 N. Jefferson Ave., Midland, MI 48642. Thank you!

 

Are there any cases of COVID-19 within the Midland Free church family?
  • As of Friday, May 1, 2020, we are not aware of, nor have we been informed of, any known presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 within Midland Evangelical Free Church.

 

What is the difference between "presumptive" and "confirmed" cases?
  • “Presumptive” is when a medical assessment is completed and an initial diagnostic test has come back positive with an additional diagnostic test sent for confirmation. “Confirmed” is when additional diagnostic test has come back positive (usually within 48 hours).

 

 

TAKE PRECAUTIONS

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:

  • Regularly wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20-30 seconds (about the time it takes you to sing the Doxology) especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose. >>Watch this hand washing video.
  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick. You should be fever free for 24 hours before going back to work, school, or public gatherings.
  • When possible, avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid shaking hands and other unnecessary contact. Use an elbow bump, air hug, friendly smile, or Vulcan greeting.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or cover it with a tissue—then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean/disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe.

 

 

UPDATES & CURRENT INFORMATION

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:

  • Information is changing quickly and misinformation is circulating. The CDC's Coronavirus Disease website is the best place to get the most accurate information about the virus.
  • Other local resources include:
  • Currently, Governor Whitmer has issued a new Executive Order extending the suspension, until at least May 15, activities not necessary to sustain or protect life, including a stay at home requirement and prohibiting public and private gatherings of any number of people among persons not part of a single household. In light of that guidance, our Sunday services will continue to be live streamed online and we encourage Small Churches and Life Groups to meet online. We will make decisions about other church related activities on a week by week basis in light of the then current circumstances.
  • Midland Free recognizes that positive cases of the virus continue to be recorded in Midland county, and that there are cases of those severely impacted by this virus. Let’s all continue to be diligent, stay informed and pray for these families and regions that are especially experiencing the effects at this time.

 

 

WHAT TO EXPECT AT MIDLAND FREE

 

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 forseeable 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.

 

ABOVE ALL

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.