In Ed's Newsletter, News, Uncategorized

Updated March 31, 2020

Hi Pastors and Leaders,

 

Just a quick reminder that we have our Team of Teams Zoom Call today at 1:00pm. Here is the link: https://zoom.us/j/420411906

 

In preparation for our time together let me suggest a few things:

 

1. If you have specific questions that you would like addressed by the group or issues that ONMB may be of help with – please send them to us. The best way is through Kristi – klee@onmb.org  We will do whatever we can to help you as together we sort out our way forward.

 

2. Issues related to Finances and HR are changing daily as our Governments (National and Provincial) look for ways to help our battered economy. There are various options for us in the non-profit sector. I’m including a helpful guide and overview pulled together by JP Hayashida. We are attempting to gather all pertinent information related to our ON context in one place. Please look regularly to our website for ongoing updates – www.onmb.org We have dedicated a new section for all updates – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update.  JP’s contribution was dated yesterdayMarch 30th. We are already aware of some further updates. We will get them to you shortly but this document is a good primer.

 

3. As leaders & shepherds in our churches we need more than ever to be reflecting theologically on these issues. Many of you are doing that through your sermon series, devotional thoughts, etc. As you unpack things that you think would be helpful to a broader audience please share with us. This is a great time to be learning together. Yesterday our MB Seminar profs drafted a collaborative document called: “Living as Christians in a time of Pandemic”. You might find this helpful.

 

4. Finally, I offer one more resource. This one from the Praxis Journal:“Lead beyond the Blizzard: Why every organization is now a startup”. This is a challenging read that will push you to think beyond the immediate crisis that we find ourselves in. It’s a attempt to grapple with the seismic shifts coming in the months ahead. It has got me thinking about forming a cluster group with some of you who really want to reflect and discern both theologically and practically what ministry in the years ahead might look like. If you have been sensing a similar impulse, please send me a personal email and we can discuss further.

 

There is so much happening at this moment. Thanks again for all you are doing for the Kingdom.

RESOURCES

Team of Teams Zoom Link

Here is the link: https://zoom.us/j/420411906

Issues Related to Finances and HR

March 30, 2020 Resource page (pdf)

Need prayer? Have a question? Want to support?

If you have a prayer request, or have any questions, or would like to support in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are in this with you and want to guide and support you in every way possible.

Updated March 25, 2020

Hi Pastors & Leaders,

 

I just came off our first National MB prayer gathering via Zoom. It was over lunch today and many of you participated. At its peak I saw 184 monitors or phones on the call. Likely over 200 people joined in prayer. It was very meaningful and I believe God was lifted high! There is discussion about doing this regularly. I’ll keep you posted.

 

I realize that you are being inundated with updates from many sources. My desire is to get you specific items that will help you in a timely manner. Today I want to provide several resources related to staffing and financial considerations, as well as a theological reflection relevant to this moment in history.

 

  1. Financial and Staffing considerations:

 

All of us have to address some critical matters related to staffing and finances. This was not in our plans just two weeks ago. To assist you immediately I offer a video provided by friends from the Alberta & NWT District of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. It’s a very practical and timely video on how to prepare your church for the financial impact of COVID-19.

If you don’t have the 20 minutes to watch the video here is the outline:

 

To survive this crisis your church must do two things:

 

Reducing Expenses

  1. Mothball your facilities
  2. Reduce program costs
  3. Develop a staffing contingency plan
    1. Determine income thresholds
    2. Create a staff triage order
    3. Abandon tenure and hierarchy
    4. Prioritize tech and ability to connect
    5. Prepare yourself and your team for bi-vocational and volunteer options.
    6. Inform your people of government support options
    7. Do not abandon those you have to lay off!

       Increasing Income

  1. Make it easy to give
    1. Physical giving
      • Sanitized drop off
      • Safe pick up
    2. Online giving
      • tithe.ly
      • Is the 2.9% fee too much?
  2. Give them a reason why
    1. Formulate an action plan
      • For your congregation
      • For your community
    2. Cast the vision for involvement
      • By volunteering
      • By giving
  1. Employment Insurance (EI), Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB), and Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

 

Taking the first point further, some of you are already asking questions about staff layoffs. I am attempting to gather and put together a simple tool to help you navigate these waters. The details keep shifting daily if not hourly. I hope by next week to have more clarity on the various options before you. One thing I can tell you is that each of our ONMB Churches are registered for the SUB plan under Ontario Conference of MB Churches with CRA. You should also know that the government has just announce a new benefit for anyone who has lost their income as a result of COVID-19. You can find these details here. Let me assure you that our team is working hard to learn what the best next steps are to assist you.

 

  1. Theological Reflections

 

If you are like me, a moment like this propels you into action. It is important however to take adequate time to reflect on what God is doing in this moment. Indeed a very important question is ‘what might He be wanting me to learn, or how might I need to change as I lead into the future?” This morning I received an article by Ruth Haley Barton from The Transforming Centre. Many of you have read one or more of her books. Todays article is worth your consideration: That the works of God might be revealed. Grab a coffee, stop for 30 minutes, pull away from your newly positioned desk in your basement or in your dining room, and reflect on these comments from John 9. You will be encouraged.

Updates from CCMBC

CCMBC Town Hall Meetings

Church finances and insurance

Taking church online

March 18 2020 Town Hall Resource page (pdf)

Updated March 13, 2020

I never wish to spam you, but this is a moment where we do need to communicate more than less. As you know, the COVID-19 story continues to spiral, changing every few hours. Given  developments in the past 24 hours I would like to offer you a few more reflections:

 

1. The closing of public venues across our Province has been happening at a rapid and unprecedented pace. Although it varies slightly depending on your municipality, it seems clear that large gathering beyond 250 people are strongly discouraged (mandated by the Ministry of Health). Additionally, all public schools are closed across the province for the next three weeks, with facilities such as pools, arena’s, & library’s closing for several weeks (at least here in Niagara). Universities are moving to virtual models, and all professional sports and large concerts are suspended or canceled. With that backdrop, several of our churches are also closing for Sunday worship services. I’m aware of WMB, Mountain Park, The Gathering Ottawa, and Southridge choosing to close their doors this Sunday and for the next few weeks.

 

2. I can appreciate that all of you will be needing to make tough decisions in the next few days. There is nothing to prohibit your meeting at this moment, but it should cause you to pause and give this much prayerful consideration. When our public health leaders are making tough decisions for our general well being, let’s be certain that our choices are based on good knowledge and a posture to be a part of the solution. I just came across this article by Doctor Daniel Chin writing in Christianity Today (March 12, 2020). He worked with the WHO during the SARS epidemic in 2003, and has worked in numerous other situations around the globe. I think the principles he suggests might be helpful to all of us, no matter what size or scope of our church. Should your Church Stop Meeting to Slow COVID-19?  Two key factors must be taken into account: a. the present health status of your community (i.e. what type of COVID-19 cases are in your town) and the size of your church are key factors in whether you keep your doors open this weekend. Likely, things will be very different by next weekend. I would suggest that we all prepare for the reality that by next weekend all of our churches will be closed for a season.

 

3. I have just received an update from our National CCMBC office which you can see here. They are recommending that churches of all sizes consider holding virtual services.

 

4. As noted in my earlier email – this is unprecedented territory for all of us. May I encourage renewed prayer and support of each other, for those suffering, and for those appointed and professional leaders guiding us through this season.

COVID-19 Updates

For the latest updates and recommendations:

 

Government of Canada

Province of Ontario

Niagara Region

March 12, 2020 Update

With the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a world pandemic this week, it should come as no surprise that we are living and leading in challenging times. Within the broader Canadian context there is a growing sense of apprehension and fear (how else do you explain the empty toilet paper section at Costco?) The daily diet of misinformation on our phones certainly does not help. Since our  churches and ministry contexts regularly draw people together, it is prudent that we reflect on best practices as we respond and serve in our communities. I would like to offer a few reflections for your consideration:

 

1. In a context of growing fear, we have the opportunity to offer wise counsel, hope, and proactive engagement. As the situation is changing daily, it is imperative to seek reliable health information.   Two sources are: Health Canada and Ontario Health 
2. I would encourage you to plan a proactive response in your context. One church in our MB Family has done significant preparation. Central Community Church Chilliwack. A key leader whom I respect has just posted a very insightful blog: Carey Nieuwhof: Crisis Leadership, Christian Leadership and the Coronaviras Epidemic. Additionally, the Canadian Council of Christian Charities (with whom we are a member) has a helpful article particularly for those in workplace contexts:Coronavirus Info.

 

3 I think we need to be ‘permission givers’ for folks who are ill, or the elderly in our midst, that it is best to stay home from church for the next few weeks. You may be able to point them to video or audio resources that your church provides. If you do not have those in place, you may wish to point them to the websites of sister churches who do.

 

4. I would finally suggest that we remind our folks that God is completely in control. He is our source of hope and peace in uncertain times. Additionally, in moments like this he is calling the church to step up and serve our communities in new and courageous ways. Please take time this weekend to pray specifically for those who are personally impacted by COVID-19, and those countries (China, Italy and others) who are really being effected. Additionally, please prayerfully consider how you might serve your local communities with the love of Jesus in the days ahead.
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