We hope the information below will be helpful to you. Please note that we will do our best to keep information updated as frequently as possible, but we encourage you to look to your local/state health departments and governments first as they will have the most recent information available.
(This page is in progress and will be updated as information is available.)
Congregations with services online
- Visit this link to see a list of congregations in the Nebraska District that are streaming or archiving services (This information has been shared by the congregations—please contact the congregation itself for details)
- Congregations can click here to add their streaming information on the Google form.
Updated Resource: Template for making calls to older adults and those with chronic health conditions during the COVID-19 outbreak
Parish Nurse Chris Blanke has produced a guide that can be used by congregations who are making calls to older adults and those with chronic health conditions. It is a step-by-step set of prompts and resources to offer special assistance to those in at-risk categories. A new version of that file is now available (6/15/2020) You can download that updated document by clicking on this link.
Resources for families and individuals while at home
- Concordia Publishing House: Free resources to lean on Christ during uncertain times
- KFUO Coffee Hour—Hear Our Prayer: Family Devotions: Listen to Rev. Sean Daenzer, worship director for the LCMS and International Center chaplain, talk about why we should do devotions at home, simple formats to use, and how this is beneficial to family life.
- Worship Anew: Worship Anew is a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod that produces a weekly, 30-minute Lutheran broadcast worship service called Worship Anew. Each service includes music, scripture readings, prayers, and a pastor delivering a message that is designed to feel one-on-one to the viewer. Each program is closed-captioned for the hearing impaired.
- Lutheran Hour Ministries at home resources
- Main Street Living Main Street Living is an abbreviated worship service that airs in several TV markets throughout this district as well as through access on the web. Since many of our congregations are not meeting and many of our members do not have access to internet, we encourage your members be made aware of this alternative worship opportunity. The best way to do this is to link your congregation’s web site to: www.mainstreetliving.com or to share broadcast times and channels in future communications which you can find on this website.
- Visual Faith Ministries: Downloadable resources such as children’s bulletins, sermon notes, and other inspirational hands-on resources.
- Awake us Now: Includes resources on prayer, and offers a Sunday worship time and encouragement.
- The Hymnal Project: Hymns, lead sheets, and recordings are available for free to enhance your devotional and worship time.
Financial assistance opportunities for church workers, congregations, and schools
- Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) has committed resources to assist LCMS organizations and Rostered Church Workers during this time. Please contact Nate Meier at firstname.lastname@example.org or (913) 221-8999 for more information. Read LCEF’s statement here.
- Lutheran Federal Credit Union information on online giving offer from GiveCloud
- The CARES Act passed at the end of March by Congress allows small businesses and non-profits, including churches, to apply for a potentially forgivable loan for 2 ½ months of salary and expenses. Click here for a helpful PDF describing details about how this act could affect church workers. Concordia Plan Services has helpful information about this on their website. You should apply at your local bank ASAP if this program will benefit your organization as funds are limited. Vanderbloemen, a firm serving Christian organizations, has been closely following the bill and has detailed information on its various aspects. It is also suggested that you begin the calculations of the amount you will be asking for (see the videos and blog post for details and how to do those calculations).
- LCMS Soldiers of the Cross and LCEF have teamed up to offer special grants to church workers in this COVID pandemic.
Eligibility: LCMS-rostered ordained or commissioned ministers; Surviving spouses of retired LCMS-rostered ordained or commissioned ministers; Non-rostered (lay) LCMS district, church, school or RSO employees; Church workers from partner churches who are residing in the U.S.
Criteria: Soldiers of the Cross (SOC) is the grant program through which the LCMS may respond to a financial crisis that arises unexpectedly in a church worker’s life. SOC grants are for a situation in which the short-term financial help requested will demonstrably help to alleviate the immediate crisis. Funds provide only short-term assistance, usually to cover a period of 30–90 days. The following are examples, but do not limit the application of aid to other situations: Health or medical crisis; Counseling; Financial incapacity of a church congregation or organization to pay her workers; Transition relating to employment or family crisis; Legal situation; Traumatic event
1. All Soldiers of the Cross grant applicants must complete the District Endorsement Request Form (click here to fill out the Nebraska District’s grant request form) and it will automatically be submitted to their district for review and a determination for subsequent submission to LCMS Disaster Response.
All district-reviewed-and-endorsed Soldiers of the Cross grant requests are subsequently submitted to LCMS Disaster Response by the district’s designated respondent email@example.com, unless the applicant elects not to have the District submit the application on their behalf.
2. Soldiers of the Cross grant requests can be submitted directly (click here for the link to Synod’s grant request form) to LCMS Soldiers of the Cross or LCMS Disaster Response without a District Endorsement Letter, but they will first be referred back to the Nebraska District for review and endorsement.
Make an impact by supporting struggling church workers
Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) is blessed to partner with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) to provide financial assistance through our Synod’s Soldiers of the Cross program to church workers in crisis situations. Our LCEF funds, administered by each LCMS district office, will help ordained or commissioned ministers and laity serving congregations, schools and Recognized Service Organizations who find themselves with immediate unmet financial needs stemming directly or indirectly from the spread of the pandemic.
You can support this initiative through a direct donation by check or their online portal, or you can donate the interest from your LCEF investments. Click here to learn more about this opportunity.
My congregation wants to livestream our service, but we don’t know how
We encourage congregations that are already understaffed or overwhelmed with caring for their community to consider recommending that their members view the livestream of a sister congregation that is already prepared to provide this video access. You can find a list of Nebraska congregations ready to stream at this list. If you do choose to connect with your members this way, here are some resources to help you.
- Livestream Setup Resources, Michigan District LCMS
- Livestream 101, LCMS Social Media Director Peter Slayton talks congregations through the nuts and bolts of setting up a Facebook page, using simple equipment to do a livestream of their service, etc.
- Livestream your Church, Concordia Technology Solutions
- Get needed licensing for the Lutheran Service Builder for free, limited time offer
- Are you streaming performances of music? You will likely need a CCLI– Streaming License. or ONE LICENSE, (which is offering gratis licenses to help cope with COVID-19 challenges, valid through April 15. Use code “CRVS20”) *There are many license options that cover a wide variety of songs. Please research your options and be sure your songs are covered before you stream them.
- CTCR document on COVID-19, online services, and communion
- Want to ask more questions to a group that might have answers? Consider joining the Lutheran Communicators group on Facebook
We don’t have internet access in our sanctuary, so we can’t livestream. What can we do?
Both Facebook and YouTube have options called “Premiere” that will allow you to pre-record, load, and schedule a video of your service to start at a certain time. This provides a similar feel and comments section interaction of a livestream, but does not require you to broadcast live with WiFi from your building. This article has tips on setting up your video premiere.
Health and planning resources for congregations and schools
- Best Practices for Restarting Your Programs
- Sample Classroom Cleaning Checklist for COVID-19
- COVID-19 Check-in Guidance For Childcare Providers
- Resources from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (planning guide, bulletin inserts, worship resources, etc.)
- Get Your Community- and Faith-Based Organizations Ready for COVID-19
- Current guidance for gatherings from Nebraska DHHS (as of 3/17/20)
- Poster: Stop the Spread of Germs
- Poster: Did you wash your hands?
- Poster: COVID-19 Symptoms
Other Useful Links
- Centers for Disease Control Situation Summary
- CDC: How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19
- Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 updates
- COVID-19 resources from the Pacific Southwest LCMS
- Concordia Plan Services Response