This webpage has been established to act as the main location to update our community of any changes or pertinent information you need to know. It can be accessed at https://efcmaym.org/covid-19-updates/. We encourage you to share this page and check it daily.
Below are quicklinks to the latest updates:
COVID-19 UPDATE: GUIDELINES FOR RE-OPENING[With special thanks to our friends and colleagues from Lifeway Research]
Notes for Survey Administrator: Swap in your church’s specific names for the words in blue, and remove any options that do not apply or that your church would not consider.
Thank you for participating in this confidential survey.
This survey includes several questions about your current feelings about returning to regular church activities when local government lifts its ban on public gatherings.
- When our local government lifts its ban or guidance against churches meeting, which best describes your attitude toward returning to a worship service at church? Select one: I will return the first opportunity we have.
I will return at first opportunity but with some concerns and precautions. I will wait several additional weeks before I attend.
It may be quite a while before I return.
- In addition to our local government lifting its ban or guidance against public gatherings, are there other signals you would want to see before you return to attend a worship service at church? Select all that apply ❑ Local businesses are open again
❑ Local restaurant seating areas are open again
❑ Schools are open again
❑ The number of coronavirus cases near me is very small
❑ Most social distancing recommendations have been lifted ❑ None of these
❑ Not sure
- What precautions, if any, do you plan to take when you return to a worship service? Select all that apply ❑ I will wear a face mask
❑ I will stand and sit in places where I will be at least 6 feet from others (beyond my own family) ❑ I will avoid shaking hands
❑ I will avoid any physical contact
❑ I will avoid crowded hallways
❑ I will bring hand sanitizer
❑ None of these
- What precautions, if any, do you expect our church to take for worship gatherings? Select all that apply ❑ Limit handouts of any kind (e.g., worship guide, notes pages, etc.) ❑ Use a new method for distributing Lord’s Supper elements
❑ Use a new method for collecting tithes and offerings
❑ Encourage social distancing in sanctuary seating ❑ Encourage social distancing in small group seating
❑ Prop doors open so people do not have to touch handles
❑ Set up one-way foot traffic entering and exiting the building and sanctuary ❑ Provide hand sanitizer stations
❑ Discourage shaking hands
❑ Allow a longer period of time between worship service hours
❑ Other ______________________________________________________ ❑ None of these
- Would you be willing to attend your small group where it typically meets? Yes
Not right away
I do not have a small group
- Do you have children age 18 or younger who live with you and typically attend church with you? Yes No
Ask if Q6=Yes
7. Would you allow your child(ren) to attend their small group where it typically meets?
Not right away
My children do not typically attend a small group
Ask if Q6=Yes
8. What precautions, if any, do you expect the church to take in children’s and student small groups when they resume? Select all that apply
❑ Reduce the number of people in each room or move to a larger room
❑ Seat children where they cannot touch each other
❑ Prohibit snacks that would cause children to put their hands to their mouths ❑ Require teachers to wear face masks
❑ Encourage kids to wear face masks
❑ Require teachers to wear gloves
❑ Ask kids to use hand sanitizer before entering
❑ Plan activities in which kids do not need to touch each other
❑ Other ____________________________________________________
❑ None of these
- Which of the following describes the attendance level at which you would be comfortable attending a worship service?
I would be comfortable attending if the sanctuary is…
Filled to capacity (every seat taken)
Three-quarters filled (some empty seats throughout but no empty rows)
Half filled (most people have empty seats either beside them or in front of them)
One quarter filled (most people have empty seats beside them and in front of them) None of these (at least right away)
- When our local government lifts its ban or guidance against public gatherings, which of the following would you prefer for our church?
Resume in person worship services at our church immediately
Meet in small groups in homes for a few more weeks before resuming in person worship services
- Would you be willing to attend a worship service at a different time than you typically attend to allow people to be more spread out in the sanctuary?
- Would you be willing to attend a worship service in an overflow room to ensure people (in the sanctuary and overflow rooms) are spread out?
- How long have you been attending?
I am new in 2020
Less than 2 years
I don’t remember
- What is your age?
Less than 18
I prefer not to answer
COVID-19 UPDATE FOR PRESIDING CLERKS: APRIL 2, 2020
Good Morning Friends. I trust you are all safe, and walking through this pandemic with Jesus, a day at a time. Just a reminder, again, that the Ministry Center is closed for walk-in traffic. All of us are working remotely for the foreseeable future, but should be able to be reached by email or tphone, as needed.
With all of the information coming your way these days related to COVID-19, it is not my intent to overwhelm you with additional information, but to simply share with you a few items that may be helpful to you as you work with your pastor to provide leadership to your local church:
Pastoral Care is an essential, but difficult ministry during a pandemic. Fortunately, through
telephone calls, texting, online video communication, and live streaming there is a variety of
opportunities available to you in order to keep in touch with those who are a part of your
church. We encourage each church to develop a strategy to communicate with each member of your congregation every 1-2 weeks to check-in, solicit prayer needs, as well as simply provide a listening ear of loving support.
- The CARES Act has a few provisions which can be taken advantage of by churches under the 501c3 umbrella. Here are two links you may want to check out in order to get up to speed on those opportunities. One is from Christianity Today and the other is from EFCA. The primary opportunity is the Payroll Protection Program where small businesses and non- profits can apply for “forgiveable” loans to cover up to 8 weeks of payroll costs, if revenue has been impacted by COVID-19. You must apply through a local bank which is an SBA lender, and the application process is supposed to open tomorrow, April 3. Demand is expected to be quite high, so if this is something you would like to take advantage of you will want to work with your pastor and Stewards Team to file an application as soon as possible.
- Once again, here is a link to our churches that are doing live streaming of their worship services, if you want to share this with your congregation. If you need help setting up live streaming for your local congregation, please contact me and I will put you in touch with someone who can assist you with that effort.
Blessings to each of you and thank you so much for working with your pastor and leadership team to provide excellent leadership during these days.
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
‘Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.’
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.”
– Psalm 46:1-3,10-11
– Thayne A. Thompson, DMin, Executive Superintendent (Cell: 316-650-6958)
“19 DAYS OF PRAYER FOR DELIVERANCE FROM COVID-19” COVID-19 RESPONSE UPDATE: MARCH 22, 2020
“Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service,
and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness.” – Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
If our good friend Richard Foster is correct in his assertion that “nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness,” and I believe he is, then how might such a realization change the way that we approach Christian life and ministry in the midst of a global pandemic that requires us to limit public gatherings and practice social distancing?
During this season of Lent, as we make intentional efforts to more fully embrace the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, it would be good to remember that Jesus’ public ministry was inextricably tethered to his prayer closet. It was in the “hidden” places that he did some of his very best work. Over and over again, the gospel writers testify that it was “as he was praying” that Jesus was empowered to reveal the redemptive heart of God for this broken world. This may help explain the fact that, as far as we can tell, Jesus never taught his disciples how to preach, but he did teach them how to pray (cf. Lk 11:1-4).
So, we may ask, how might Jesus teach us to pray during this current COVID-19 crisis? In the model prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples, what we commonly refer to as “The Lord’s Prayer,” one of the central themes was a prayer for deliverance (“deliver us from evil”). Jesus clearly prayed this prayer on a regular basis, based on the fact that he continually devoted himself to delivering people from every manifestation of evil in our world, including demons, disease and death.
Call me crazy, but it seems self-evident that a virus which has already infected over 300,000 people worldwide, killing over 13,000 and leaving millions of others trapped in isolation and/or paralyzed by fear and anxiety, would tend to qualify as a legitimate form of evil. As one prominent epidemiologist recently declared, “This means war!”
Therefore, with the help of our friends and colleagues from SIM (Sudan Inland Mission) International, I would like to offer the following recommended prayer points:
- Heavenly Father, we pray for you to intervene to stop the spread of the coronavirus. We pray in Jesus’ name that the virus would recede and diminish from this day forward, and that the numbers of those infected would decline rapidly. We trust you, Lord, to intervene today with your loving care. (cf. 1 John 5:14)
- We pray for those who are sick, that they will have access to the care and treatment they need. We pray peace and perseverance for them amidst suffering. We pray for those in isolation who are cut off from their normal routines and support systems, that they would seek their strength from you, Lord. We pray encouragement over the thousands in quarantine, waiting to find out if they have the virus or not. (cf. Psalm 46:1)
- We pray for the health workers who are caring for those with COVID-19. We pray for their protection from the virus, for stamina during long or intense work hours, and for safe protocols to be observed in healthcare institutions in order to keep them protected. We pray for health workers to seek you during this crisis. (cf. Psalm 107:28)
- We pray for grieving families who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus. Even as their hearts are breaking, we pray they would know your nearness and comfort. We pray that your compassion, Lord, would be felt through the Holy Spirit’s ministry and through the ministry of friends and neighbors who come around them. We pray against despair; we pray new mercies every morning. (cf. Philippians 4:6-7)
- We pray for pastors and elders serving their churches and communities affected and infected by COVID-19. We pray that the Holy Spirit would give these shepherd leaders the right words for the right time and the right actions for the right situation. We pray they would speak your gospel in heart, word and deed to each person they are called to minister to. (cf. James 5:14-16)
- We pray for your church to be a light on a hill in the neighborhoods, hospitals, communities, and cities where you have placed them. We pray for an outpouring of love, compassion and service, in your name. (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:24-27)
- We pray for government officials and decision makers who are leading countries and organizations through the crisis. We acknowledge you have allowed each one to be in a place of influence during this time. We pray they would mobilize resources quickly and effectively to where they are most urgently needed. We pray for all those working behind the scenes; we pray for the good administration and execution of response efforts worldwide. (cf. Jeremiah 29:7)
- We pray for those waking up each day to fallout caused by COVID-19, that they would reach out to you, Lord. We pray they would look earnestly for you, because we know their desire to seek you will have come from you, and we know you will meet them. We pray for those whose businesses and livelihoods are ruined by the halt in many sectors of the economy. We pray for those who may lose jobs and salaries. For each one, we pray new beginnings with you walking by their side. (cf. Jeremiah 29:11-12)
- We pray for our missional co-workers worldwide today, especially those serving in areas acutely impacted by COVID-19. We pray for wisdom for each ministry team to know how to carry out their responsibilities. We pray that ministries would not have to shut down, but that you would see fit that they are carried on through this difficult time, for your glory. (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9)
- We pray for all those who live and die without the knowledge of Jesus to hear about you through this crisis and respond to your love. We pray the gift of salvation for every man, woman and child around the world today, so that they will become our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are asking in your name for this gift to come out of this crisis. (cf. 2 Peter 3:9)
During these final days of Lent, as we prepare to celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday, an event which represents the ultimate answer to every prayer of deliverance throughout human history, I am inviting every member of our extended family of Friends here in Mid America to join me in a focused season of prayer by committing to pray for at least 19 minutes per day for a period of 19 days (March 24-April 12). Those who find value in practicing fixed hours of prayer throughout the day may want to add these prayer points to their daily office. Others may find benefit in incorporating the discipline of fasting as well. And many of our churches may want to make a practice of praying through these prayer points during small group gatherings throughout the week.
However we may be led to participate, may our “service of hiddenness” bring glory to God and healing to the nations as we engage together in 19 days of Prayer for Deliverance from COVID-19.
– David O. Williams, Lead Superintendent
COVID-19 RESPONSE UPDATE: MARCH 19, 2020
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to
God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 4:6-7
May God’s peace guard your mind from worry and your heart from fear as we continue to walk through days of uncertainty. May we be people of faith, rather than people of fear.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, the leadership of EFC-MAYM is staying alert to what is happening around us and will be periodically making suggestions for action.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is now recommending that all public gatherings of 50 people or more choose not to meet for the foreseeable future. The federal government has gone one step further and has requested that Americans avoid groups of 10 or more people. Therefore, we are taking the following steps and making the following recommendations:
- The EFC-MAYM office will remain open M-F from 9am-1pm for now. However, if you have a need to visit the office, please contact Jenna Schmidt first to make the necessary arrangements (316-267-0391). If you need to contact one of our superintendents, you may do so by email or on their cell phones, as they will be working from their home offices. Contact information is provided below. (Local churches may want to follow a similar pattern.)
- All EFC-MAYM sponsored events through the end of March have been cancelled or postponed. A decision regarding April events will be made by March 31.
- Churches are encouraged to support the recommendations of our governing officials, and refrain from meeting for larger corporate gatherings until further notice. A growing number of our churches now live stream or post their messages online. If your church offers this service, please let us know so that we can make that information available to the wider community.
- Church leaders should make plans as to how people can continue to send in their tithes and offerings during this period of restricted on site activity. Online giving options are available, or they can be mailed to the church office (or dropped off). Each leadership team should discuss and communicate the option(s) that fits best in their setting.
- Finally, and most importantly, as the people of God we must resist the temptation to operate in a mode of self-protection. Instead, we should prayerfully identify meaningful ways to serve our local communities and bring honor to Jesus (cf. Mk 10:45). This is not a time for the church to retreat, but to advance with Christ-like courage, compassion and creativity.
As much as possible, we do encourage our churches to follow the recommended guidelines in the latest announcements from the federal government, as well as any local guidelines, bans and restrictions, making every effort to walk “in favor with both God and man” (cf. Lk 2:52; Ac 24:16).
As followers of Jesus let’s do what we do best in times like these, pray, and shine brightly in the darkness by sacrificially loving people on behalf of Jesus!
- David O. Williams | Lead Superintendent
email@example.com (316) 249-4278
- Thayne A. Thompson | Executive Superintendent
firstname.lastname@example.org (316) 650-6958