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Coronavirus: Safety vs. Comfort

The impact of the coronavirus is now experienced globally. In the county where Deanne and I live (King County), 22 people have died from this virus (twenty of those who died were residents of Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland). Multiple schools have been closed for deep cleaning after potential coronavirus exposure. Public health officials are urging businesses to allow employees to work remotely if possible.

I am certain that your community is impacted in similar ways to ours. Pastor Edwin Recinos told me today that there is no hand-sanitizer available in stores in Canyon Country. Many churches in our area did not meet for public worship this past weekend, instead they encouraged members to watch a live-stream broadcast online. Perhaps you experienced a decrease in attendance as a result of many church attenders taking an extremely cautious approach to prevent exposure.

If you have not already addressed growing concerns in your area, I would encourage you to be proactive in your communication with your church family. The church where Deanne and I belong has cancelled all mid-week activities and programs and has created a Health and Wellness page on the church website to keep people aware of steps they are taking to prevent the spread of the virus. (Here’s a link to the email that was sent to our church family).

I highly recommend that you review this information: All Things Coronavirus – developed by Northshore Church in Kirkland, WA – the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak. While you might not find all of this information useful – there is still quite a bit that can be gleaned.

Many churches find themselves needing to respond and adjust to the spread, as well as minimize the effects. This Concise Coronavirus Guide for Churches from Christianity Today and Church Law & Tax offers tips on forming a plan, staying informed, and caring for those affected.

Our health insurance provider, Anthem, has informed us that Anthem will cover the care for members diagnosed as having COVID-19, based on the member’s plan benefits. It’ll also cover testing for COVID-19. Members will pay any out-of-pocket expenses their plan requires, unless otherwise determined by state law or regulation. You can download COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about how it is spread, symptoms and how to protect yourself.

As I was coaching a pastor in Vienna, Austria two weeks ago, he expressed concern on how to manage this crisis – particularly in the Chinese congregation that he was working with. We discussed the challenges of preventing the spread of the virus, protecting those who were vulnerable, and the opportunity to pastor and shepherd those who were feeling isolated and fearful. The image that came to my mind was sitting in my seat on an airplane. When the flight attendants come down the aisle, I often consider that they are there to make the flight comfortable for me. I eagerly wait for the beverage cart to come by after take-off and typically order soda water. On each flight, however, before we take-off, time is spent reviewing the safety procedures. The announcement is always made, “Our first priority is your safety.” I think this is important to remember during this season of global crisis. We must exercise wisdom and an abundance of caution. We must keep the safety of our church families a priority.

My daughter has been traveling in Europe with her ballet company (Alonzo King Lines Ballet) for the past month. They were scheduled to perform in northern Italy two weeks ago when their shows were suddenly cancelled and they were sent back to France. Deanne had planned to fly to France today and Italy on Sunday — but we’ve cancelled her trip. The entire nation of Italy is now under quarantine. At the end of this week, one of my family members will complete 14 days of being quarantined after exposure to someone infected with the coronavirus. This is certainly disruptive – and we do not know how the spread of this virus may impact our church families and individual communities. This must lead us to our knees as we cry out for God’s mercy and intervention.

I read this week during my time alone with God in Isaiah 26:3-4, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord is the Rock eternal.” I love that as we trust in him – he keeps us in “perfect peace.” May you experience his perfect peace in the midst of the crisis among us.

Finally, if you haven’t read the latest blog post from our Missionary Church president, Steve Jones – please follow this link: What You Need to Know About Coronavirus.

We are here to help you and serve you in any way that we can. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and our regional team.

Christian Foundation of America
– Your Partner in Ministry –
Grants Largest Amount Ever!

The 2020 Cultivating Generosity Grant Program culminated in a Celebration Banquet on February 6th where $60,000 was given to 11 worthy ministries! In the six years of this grant program, we have now given away $310,000 to amazing charities doing kingdom-building work.

This is truly a community endeavor! The grant funds are possible because of the generosity of many donors and sponsors, and we were blessed with a terrific volunteer committee and applicants, along with engaged guests and prayer warriors. When great mission outreach work is resourced with generous donations, we truly can “Soar Together as One”!

It was an exciting evening with the ministries sharing what they do and the impact the grant will have on the people they serve. Babies will be born. Teen foster moms will be trained in parenting and life skills. Teens will be rehabilitated after being rescued from trafficking. Churches will be planted in Ukraine, Czech Republic, Poland and Russia. Food will be delivered by churches to low income families. Teen athletes and coaches will lead others to Christ. Homeless will be transitioned, while receiving wrap around services.

Missionary Church Western Region was on hand to enjoy the fellowship, learn about impactful ministries and to congratulate the recipients. We appreciate the Region’s participation and support!

We encourage you to submit an application for 2021! Watch for information to come out in the Fall. Better yet, talk to us now and let us know your idea for how a grant will help your nonprofit serve and build God’s Kingdom! We are here to help if you have an idea for a grant! Give us a call at 805-523-9087.

To see a full list of recipients go to our website, and for photos and fun go to our Facebook page.

Pastor Tax 101

Pastors taxes can be confusing on a good day – and if you are new to all the tax laws for pastors, it’s even more challenging. Mike Somers, our MCWR Executive Pastor, recently attended a workshop at the the XPASTOR.ORG conference that was all about this topic. The document they handed out was very helpful and even included examples. With their approval, we are able to share it with you. Consider sharing it with your tax preparer. Download the PDF here

Pray With Us

“None can believe how powerful prayer is, and what it is able to affect but those who have learned it by experience.” – Martin Luther

We believe in the power of prayer! We want you to join our MCWR Prayer Team. If you’d commit to pray each week for our pastors and churches – sign up here and we will send you a weekly text or email with updated requests.

NEW FREE SERVICE FOR MISSIONARY CHURCH PASTORS AND MEMBERS

In today’s sexualized world, we believe that all of us are in need of proper strategies and support to maintain our purity and prevent us from acting on sexual temptations. In an effort to meet this need, the Missionary Church has announced a ground-breaking partnership with Before It Begins, an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and restore the church from sexual sins “before it begins” to destroy us and the ones we love. For pastors struggling with sexual temptation, Before It Begins offers free and confidential access to trained advocates who help provide accountability, prayer, practical coaching, and crisis support. Before It Begins also offers free and confidential access to certified sex addiction therapists for more serious situations. Before It Begins even offers resources and services for your entire church!

We encourage all of our pastors to visit beforeitbegins.org or call 805-507-5511 to learn more. A great place to start is to watch this short video from our President Steve Jones. Note: all Before It Begins services are confidential and independent from your local church, the MCWR and the MCUSA.

MCWR Regional Leadership Conference 2020

This is going to be an amazing conference for all leaders, staff, volunteers and pastors in our family of churches. REGISTER NOW at $249/person.

Need a partial scholarship for the conference?

You can apply for a scholarship to attend this year’s conferencePastors and leaders are eligible for a partial scholarship based on need. Here’s the link.

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