The landscape has changed, but the Way of Jesus remains the same.

Church of God Ministries is committed to providing practical resources to help our Movement along #theway, both during the pandemic and into a stronger future together.

theway

A Message from General Director Jim Lyon

“I’m a planner. I’m used to sizing things up, doing my homework, and then making a list of how to get things done.” He paused and then continued, “But I’ve never faced anything like this. When I think about the future or even tomorrow, everything is just a big question mark.” I replied, “I know what you mean. It’s a very uncertain time.”

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At the end of May, I was talking with one of the finest men in the Church of God I know. He loves Jesus, the church, and his family. He’s built an extraordinary business, which has grown exponentially over time. Now it is at a standstill, like so many others, as the COVID-19 pandemic still dominates the headlines and our daily lives.

What’s next? None but heaven can know. But this we do know: Jesus is not surprised by the turn of events; He’s got this. We are learning to seek Him, trust Him, and follow Him in life—and in ministry—with a depth and authenticity that may have escaped us in more normal days. God doesn’t waste anything, even the tough stuff.

That said, this Church of God Ministries web portal continues to be a popular doorway for you and your local church as you figure out all things pandemic. There are many questions for which no one yet has answers, but we do have some answers. Actually, we have a lot of them.

Scroll on for valuable resources to help you, your church, and your family navigate the turbulent waters of this present crisis. Check back often. The content on this page is updated regularly.

The landscape has changed. But the Way of Jesus remains the same. Be with Jesus. Become like Jesus. Do what Jesus did. One. Two. Three. And, all together, at once. He has opened doors for us; He is providing for us; He is scrubbing us; He is humbling us. And, He is empowering us. Jesus is Lord.

Coronavirus Statement from Ben Shular

As the COVID-19 (novel corona virus) pandemic emerged, our General Director, Jim Lyon, asked me to chair a Special Event Response Task Force (SERT), comprised of key strategic personnel. This task force is responsible, on behalf of Church of God Ministries, for monitoring the rapidly developing impacts, analyzing and filtering the most ministry-relevant and reliable information, developing contingency plans, and making decisions with regard to our operations and sponsored events.

It is as the SERT Chair that I release this statement after prayerful, thoughtful, and up-to-date review of the situation with the team.

The challenges COVID-19 poses to all of us, including our churches, have produced unprecedented impacts that demand urgent and careful response. Ordinary routines have been upended, life in the United States and Canada has changed, and over 2,000 Church of God congregations (like so many others) have been swept into the center of the storm.

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Guidelines & Resources

In an effort to stem the tide of the pandemic, Church of God Ministries urges our church family to follow the recommendations of our public health officials. In the United States, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has posted guidelines for faith-based organizations. In Canada, Health Canada has posted online guidelines as well.

The following steps outlined by the CDC are a help to all of our churches:

  • Consider streaming services online, live or pre-recorded, as an alternative to public gatherings.
  • Offer online giving opportunities.
  • Use phone conversations and conference calls for member care and team meetings.
  • Consider the needs of the most at-risk, including, but not limited to, senior citizens and persons with health conditions.

Additionally, we encourage you to pay close attention to your local, state, and provincial authorities, as unique protocols may be in play close to the ground where you live and serve. As a Movement, we want to be always seen as the champions of public health and the common good. Our witness depends upon it; our love requires it.

Our trusted friends at Brotherhood Mutual have also compiled a wealth of practical resources for the local church. The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) has also prepared a list of best practices and additional tools especially for churches responding to COVID-19.

We are leaning into our partnership with Faithlife during this time. They have offered to help by providing resources to take your church online, as well as by waiving the subscription fee for 6 months on their Premium Faithlife Giving subscription.

  • Take Your Church Online in Under 24 Hours: https://faithlife.com/church-online
  • Activate online giving now: To help the church in this time, Faithlife is waiving the subscription fee for six months on their Premium Faithlife Giving subscription so your church can get the lowest rates. You can get signed up and active today, and Faithlife provides a communication kit for activating your congregation. Sign up for Faithlife Giving now, or schedule a 1:1 appointment with a specialist by clicking on this link: https://faithlife.as.me/schedule.php?appointmentType=13533845.

SHOULD YOU CLOSE YOUR CHURCH AFTER REOPENING? RETHINKING YOUR CHURCH GROWTH STRATEGY.

NEW BLOGPOST FROM CAREY NIEUWHOF
Originally posted on careynieuwhof.com

Every time you think 2020 is going to get easier, it just gets more complex.


So here’s a question: “Should you close your church after reopening it?”


While that sounds like a terrible question, what if it was your best church growth strategy?

FURTHER QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

Submitted by Rev. Marcus Archer
Crosspoint Church, Natchez, MS

  1. Has the church really left the building? Are we intentional about being IN the community, living out our discipleship?
  2. If we cannot physically gather as a congregation, how can we create moments of physical communion with one another? How can we have a ministry of presence while being physically apart?
  3. How can we stir people to good works and to become doers of the Word and not hearers only? Life givers rather than content consumers?

RESOURCES FOR YOUR CHURCH

CARES Act Information

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was signed into law on March 27, providing loans to churches, nonprofits, Christian schools that are 501c3s, and small businesses affected by COVID-19.

5 Questions You're Probably Asking

Is my church eligible?
If your church is a 501c3 and has under 500 employees (at one location), you are eligible.

How can my church use the loan funds?
Use the loan funds to cover expenses including payroll costs, paid sick, medical or family leave, insurance premiumsmortgage interestrent payments, or utilities. 

Do we have to pay the loan back?
The loan is 100% forgivable if you employed the same average number of people during the loan period as you did during the same period in 2019. If your full-time equivalents (FTEs) are less during the loan period than last year, you will only need to pay back a portion of the loan over a 10year period starting in 2021.

In May 2020, the forgiveness rules for the PPP were amended. Please make sure you are working with the latest information available from the ECFA and Small Business Administration.

 

What’s our next step?
Contact your current banker and let them know you’d like to apply for this loan provided by the SBA (Small Business Administration). As this is new and quickmoving information, your bank may not be prepared yet to handle the application. 

Do SBA-backed loans violate the separation of church and state?
If you’re feeling uncertain about receiving government funds for your church, this article makes the case that this should not be an issue for churches.

Apply for the CARES Act loan

Having difficulty applying through your bank?

If your church has been rejected or you’re at the bottom of a long waiting list, try submitting your application through America’s Christian Credit Union.
Visit their website >>

Churches That Heal

by Dr. Henry Cloud

A comprehensive, easy-to-use digital resource designed to equip pastors and churches to handle issues of mental health in their communities through a biblical and psychologically-sound plan of healing.

Available as a Church Program or an Individual Program.

24 Questions Your Church Should Answer Before People Return

How will you go forward with VBS? Is “passing the plate” a thing of the past? How will you conduct communion?

7 Implications for the Church in a Post-COVID World

from the Global Strategy podcast, “A World of Good,” with Nate Tatman and Andrew Gale

Important questions for the church when considering how churches will serve their communities post-pandemic.

Churches That Heal

by Dr. Henry Cloud

A comprehensive, easy-to-use digital resource designed to help local churches with a biblical and psychologically-sound plan of healing for pastors and congregants.

24 Questions Your Church Should Answer Before People Return

How will you go forward with VBS? Is “passing the plate” a thing of the past? How will you conduct communion?

7 Implications for the Church in a Post-COVID World

from the Global Strategy podcast, “A World of Good”

Nate Tatman and Andrew Gale examine important questions for the church when considering how churches will serve their communities post-pandemic.

faithlife_logo-copy

FREE WEBINAR FROM FAITHLIFE

Pivoting with the Right Plan:
4 Tips to Get Your Church Ready for Digital Fall

Tuesday, September 15, 2:00 PM (EST)

Prepare your church for everything from back-to-school through Christmas with a Digital Fall Kickoff.

When you attend this live webinar brought to you by our partners at Faithlife you’ll learn tips for how to use technology to get back into the ministry groove online, like:

  • How to start a simple system for live streaming
  • How to become an invitational online community
  • How NOT to leave discipleship to a search engine
  • How to engage your community to meet its needs

FAITHLIFE

Faithlife is waiving the subscription fee for 6 months on their Premium Faithlife Giving subscription:

EVANGELICAL COUNCIL FOR FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY (ECFA)

How does the Church of God get out there,
during the pandemic, and serve?

STEP 1:
Pray. Ask God to open your eyes and doors of opportunity.

STEP 2:
Appoint someone in your local congregation to help organize community contacts. Those on the front lines do not need to be overwhelmed by contacts from multiple voices in each church. But, an “official” call from a local church, will be welcomed.

STEP 3:
Next, identify likely partners in your local context. Call the mayor’s office. The local hospital. The public health office. Even if the schools are closed—give the school district a call. Call the county jail. Don’t reinvent the wheel as you problem-solve; reach first for partners already in the game.

STEP 4:
If you can’t find a partner and know of a need, figure out how to meet the need; problem-solve.

SALVATION ARMY

The Salvation Army is a part of our Wesleyan-holiness church family; our Movement’s early founders (including D. S. Warner) were fans, publishing news and promoting the Salvation Army on the pages of The Gospel Trumpet in its early years. We have been in conversation with Salvation Army officers at its American national headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. They have explained to us the Army has prepared and is executing a two-phase plan during the pandemic and its wake.

Phase 1 addresses immediate needs. These include (but are not limited to) the distribution of food (to those most in need, exacerbated by the present and escalating economic dislocation) and child care (in some communities, child care centers have closed, but the provision of child care is considered an essential infrastructure to support healthcare workers, those who are stocking our grocery shelves, etc.). In these cases, volunteers are needed.

Phase 2 will tackle the anticipated economic challenge after “the peak” of COVID-19 cases, as things begin to return to “normal.” It is forecast that many jobs now left behind will vanish altogether and there will be a sustained period of need, after the headlines move on.

Today, the Salvation Army has footprints in over 7,500 ZIP codes in the United States—and in the provinces of Canada. Click on the appropriate link below and find your nearest local outpost, reach out, and ask how you can help. Some outposts may not need volunteers, but need only resources (for example, personal hygiene items for distribution); others may need helping hands.

United States: www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn
Canada: salvationarmy.ca

FEMA (United States)

FEMA has a useful website with some ideas about how to respond to help our communities during the pandemic crisis: www.fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help

They encourage churches to contact their local emergency management office to inquire about ways to help or to share stories of impact they are having in the community.

MORE...

If you are aware of a state/local outreach doing good work in your area, please send to webmanager@chog.org and we will make sure that your state leaders have access to this information.

RESOURCES FOR YOU

19 simple ways to love your neighbor right now

The National Christian Foundation has compiled a list of practical ways to love your neighbor in light of COVID-19.

Parenting in this challenging season

Thrive Worldwide shares some parenting tips to help you navigate the new rhythms in your family life.

Crisis Toolbox for Couples

Communio exists to serve churches in strengthening marriages and relationships.

COVID-19 Family Toolkit

from the Humanitarian Disaster Institute

The mission of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute is to help the church prepare and care for a disaster-filled world. Their team has curated a compilation of resources to help you care for your children and family in these unprecedented times. Click the button below to access their toolkit!

Online Churches

Many churches have adapted to livestream services in order to serve their congregations and provide a weekly worship experience throughout this pandemic.

As a result, it’s now easier than ever to “visit” other Church of God congregations across the country in addition to your local church livestream. This has created a unique opportunity for the broader Church of God family to worship together as one movement, and so Church of God Ministries is pleased to offer a list of 11 different online churches that were featured weekly after the start of the pandemic. All are invited to tune in, knowing that others from across the Movement are doing the same.

If you’re looking to take your church online and don’t know where to start, Faithlife offers valuable resources to help you get your church online in under 24 hours.

Fairfax Community Church

Fairfax, VA

Pastor Rod Stafford

First Church
of God

Columbus, OH

Bishop Timothy Clarke

McDowell Mountain Community Church

Scottsdale, AZ

Pastor Matt Anderson

Crossings Community Church

Oklahoma City, OK

Pastor Marty Grubbs

New Beginnings Church of God

Albuquerque, NM

Pastor Richard Mansfield

Arlington
Church of God

Akron, OH

Rev. Dr. Diana Swoope

Highland Park Community Church

Casper, WY

Pastor Mike Fackler

Alma Church
of God

Alma, MI

Pastor Erin Taylor

Celebration Church at Columbia

Columbia, MD

Pastor Robbie Davis & First Lady Pastor Robin Davis

Hope Community Church

Andover, KS

Pastor Nick Martineau

Cornwall Church

Bellingham, WA

Pastor Bob Marvel

Regional Conventions & IYC

Regional Conventions

Our first priority at any event we host is the health and safety of our guests. Due to the ongoing effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, Church of God Ministries announces the cancellation of all 3 Church of God Regional Conventions in in California, Indiana, and New York. For Church of God Ministries staff, this has been a difficult, but necessary decision in light of the most recent recommendations from the CDC and local government regulations.

International Youth Convention

After considering multiple factors, primarily the safety of attendees and existing restrictions in various states due to COVID-19, we have come to the difficult decision that IYC2020 will not take place in July 2020. Instead, IYC2020 will take place in Orlando on July 4-7, 2021.

Global Strategy

We also want you to be aware that Global Strategy is already working with missionaries globally on region-specific responses. Some regional gatherings have already been cancelled and noncritical travel has been suspended. As we move into the summer, each location will assess their ability to accept visitors based on local conditions and government regulations.

For information regarding developments in the United States and Canada, contact info@chog.org. For information regarding developments abroad, beyond the United States and Canada, contact globalstrategy@chog.org. Updates will be issued as needed. Thank you for your continued prayers and precautions.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” —Psalm 91:1–2 NIV

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