1983 - Midland Evangelical Free Church started in December 1983. Six adults from Midland, who were commuting to services at the Bay City Evangelical Free Church, met in a Midland home for Bible study. They began to consider the possibility of planting a church in Midland. In January 1984, several others joined them for a regular Sunday evening Bible study. The group began laying a biblical foundation for the purpose of the church and the qualities that they desired to see in a church. The purpose was defined as: To bring praise, honor and glory to God by allowing Jesus Christ to build His church.
1985 - On July 7, 1985, our first public worship service was held at what is now the Midland Ramada Inn Conference Center, with approximately 30 present. Our original name was Living Hope Evangelical Free Church, but for simplicity, it was subsequently changed to Midland Evangelical Free Church. In 1986 Phil Green was called to be the first pastor.
1988 - In December 1988, a vintage church building, school, and parsonage campus was purchased on the corner of Gordon and Grove Streets. At this time average attendance was 75. Pastor Jay Childs, our second and current pastor, came to Midland Free in 1990. As our attendance rapidly grew, it became evident that a new campus was needed.
1993 - In 1993, with an average attendance of 250, the first Jefferson property was purchased, and the task of building began. Midland Free moved to this new facility in August 1996 with an average attendance of 570.
1999 - A Family Ministry Center was added in 1999 and church offices moved off campus to provide additional classroom space in 2001.
2000 - A Steering Group was appointed by the Elders in summer 2000 to obtain information regarding new land, design/build options and finances. The church body met on April 29, 2001, and approved a search for new land, a search for a firm equipped to design and build a new facility, and proceeding with a stewardship campaign.
2002 - The Building a Brighter Beacon, Beam by Beam, campaign began in January 2002 with Matthew 5:16 as the theme verse, "Let your light shine before men so that they may see your good deeds, and praise your Father in heaven." After 40 days of devotions and a prayer vigil, Midland Free designated March 10, 2002, as Celebration Sunday, a time when we celebrated our past and stepped out in faith by making financial commitments to the future. Three Rivers Construction was selected in winter 2002 as the firm to design and build a new facility for Midland Free. In June 2002 the Oskvarek farm was purchased. It is a 78-acre parcel just 1.2 mile south on Jefferson Road from the first Jefferson campus.
2003 - On June 8, 2003, at the annual business meeting, the membership voted to proceed with the final design and construction of Phase 1 of our new campus. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on June 22, 2003. Tractors moved in and dirt began to move in September 2003. The site began to change on a daily basis as Three Rivers began construction of a new "tool for ministry."
2005 - We took occupancy of our new campus in February of 2005. Our mission inside and outside the borders of our campus is to glorify God by making, maturing and multiplying disciples of Jesus in mid-Michigan and to the least reached peoples of the Earth.
2008 - Now, 25 years since its inception, approximately 1500 people (average weekly attendance) consider Midland Free their church home. It is our vision to be a church of IMPACT for Christ in our communities, our region, and the world through:
I - Intentional Evangelism
M - Mentor the Next Generations
P - Passionate Worship
A - Authentic Christian Living
C - Compassionate Care
T - Take Christ to the Nations
Midland Evangelical Free Church is composed of people who believe that a relationship with God comes through a personal trust in Jesus Christ. We are united by a common desire to glorify and serve God in our individual lives, families, church, community, and world.
The term Evangelical refers to our commitment to proclaim the Gospel and to maintain the Word of God as our authority. The word evangelical comes from the New Testament Greek word "euangelion," which means good news or gospel. The Bible summarizes the meaning of this good news:
"By this gospel (euangelion) you are saved...For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures..." 1 Corinthians 15:24.
The term Free refers to our form of church government, which guarantees that we are free from a central controlling body. Being part of an association of Evangelical Free Churches, we enjoy many unique privileges, but we also enjoy autonomy, which enables us to govern our own affairs.
We base our form of church government on Biblical evidence. There is no reference in the New Testament of a higher authority over a local church except Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22). Leadership such as elders and deacons are to be appointed by the congregation for oversight and order within the church, but these leaders have no authority outside of the local congregation they serve (Acts 6:3-5).
In 1884, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish immigrants formed a fellowship of churches in Iowa which eventually merged in 1950 becoming known as the Evangelical Free Church of America. While a relatively new and small denomination among the 229 denominations known to exist in the United States, the EFCA is experiencing explosive growth, adding one new church every week into its fellowship. This growth is projected to continue well into the next decade! We believe the rapid expansion of the EFCA is primarily due to a commitment to four crucial distinctives:
Believers only, but all believers.
It is a firm conviction of Evangelical Free Churches to exclude no one who freely and sincerely confesses personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. We are an inclusive association of churches by intention.
Where does it stand on the written Word?
The Evangelical Free Church of America is marked by a submission to biblical authority. We believe the Bible is without error in the original manuscripts and must, therefore, be accepted as the final authority in all that it teaches. It is the infallible guide for daily living. We are a fellowship committed and submitted to the Word of God.
In essentials - unity; in non-essentials - charity.
Evangelical Free Churches agree to disagree over non-essential beliefs and practices (i.e., non-essential to salvation). This includes issues such as baptism, eternal security of the believer, the degree of separation from the world, and the version of scripture used. In such matters, we uphold the believer's right to draw his or her own convictions from the Bible.
Together we minister.
The Evangelical Free Church of America is characterized by a passion for ministry with an intense zeal for carrying out the Great Commission.