on campus worship - Sundays @ 10:00 AM
Sunday Live Stream @ 10:00 AM

Midland Evangelical

Free Church

Midland Evangelical Free Church logo

COMING TOGETHER AGAIN

We’re excited to resume on-campus worship (including the full worship band and live preaching) on Sundays at 10:00 AM. Meet outside on the south lawn. Please bring your own seating and other equipment (Lawn Chairs, Tent, Blankets, Sunscreen, Umbrella, etc.).

DETAILS:

SAFETY: Please practice social distancing by leaving adequate space between your family and others.

BATHROOMS: The bathrooms will be available for your use, but masks are required indoors for those who can medically tolerate them.

WORSHIP LYRICS: Song lyrics will be available for download on our website and Connect newsletter.

BLESSING: We plan to continue to live stream the Sunday service on our YouTube channelVimeo channel or Facebook page. If you do not feel comfortable meeting in groups yet, the leadership respects and affirms your decision and requests that you continue to engage with your church family by worshiping at home (see Hebrews 10:23 and Acts 2:42). You have our blessing.

SUPPORT: Please continue to be faithful in your regular giving of tithes and offerings through online giving.

Thank you for your faithfulness and dedication as we walk through these challenging circumstances. We believe that God is sifting and refining us, and when God is at work, we know that things will be better on the other side.

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 (ESV).

We are praying for you and look forward to seeing you soon!

Updates & Sunday Services at Midland Free

(Posted - 11:00 AM, Tuesday, July 28,  2020)

 

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 and outdoor gatherings of 100 or less, we recognize that this affords a first step to begin meeting together. One option is to worship together at Midland Free on the south lawn beginning on August 2nd at 10:00 AM, or 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.

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!

In Christ,

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:

  • SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP: On Sundays in August and September we will host one 10:00 AM worship service outside on the south lawn on our church campus with the full worship band and live preaching. This service will also be live streamed. You can view the live stream on our YouTube channelVimeo channel or Facebook page. We strongly encourage everyone in our church family to worship on campus or connect live at 10:00 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: We continue to encourage these groups to meet  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 also occur outside or 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. 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 do not meet weekly during the summer but have a variety of events and mission trip opportunities. Please watch for further communications from Pastor Chuck and his staff 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 in groups of 10 or less is permitted, and connecting together in meaningful ways is 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 the summer and fall. 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 the past few months 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?

  • Firm Foundations is open with
     restrictions to protect the safety
     and health of the children and staff.

    Our office and building
    are closed to anyone other than
    individuals necessary to conduct
    minimum basic operations, and
    the coordination of flood relief
    efforts through ReachGlobal
    Crisis Response.
     
    We'll communicate other 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?

  • We will resume on campus worship on Sundays 10:00 AM on the south lawn with the full worship band and live preaching.
  • You can also view the service online on our YouTube channel, Vimeo channel or Facebook page.
  • We encourage our Small Churches to gather together or meet online 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 or meet 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?
  • 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 Tuesday, July 28, 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:
  • 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 have been 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.

 

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 10:00 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.

 

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.