From October 22-24, DSC hosted the third annual Charles Simeon Trust Albuquerque Workshop on Biblical Exposition.
If that’s an earful, which it is, it’s enough to say that this workshop serves as a kind of spring training for a number of teachers and preachers in our area. Each workshop is made up of three elements:
- Six instructional sessions to sharpen tools for Bible interpretation
- Three Bible exposition sessions to demonstrate the power of the Word faithfully preached
- Six hours of small group interaction on Biblical texts
This year our workshop was concentrated on the gospels and, specifically, the Gospel according to Mark. To learn more about the Simeon Trust workshops, click here.
Naturally, our prayers are often centered on what’s happening in our life, our city, and our church. In addition, we often pray for the remotest parts of the world. This is all very good. But as you read this post, consider praying for the teaching and preaching ministries of the churches throughout our region, and specifically New Mexico. God gets his work in the world done through the Word. The church needs men who are progressing in their work with the Bible. That’s what this workshop week was about, and it’s what we can pray will continue for the strength of the church in our place.
Here are some photos from the week:
This year we were joined by 45 preachers and teachers on site from 27 different churches, including 20 preaching pastors from churches around the region. Assuming each of these guys will go home more faithful in his teaching and preaching, 5300 congregation members will hear the Bible more clearly for the investment of these men in this week of study.
There is no week or day or moment for the church during which missions is not an emphasis. That’s why we host Missions Emphasis Week each year. It’s a way of centering our church’s life on the cross and its proclamation for God’s glory among the nations.
Here’s a run-down of what to expect for Missions Emphasis Week:
Silent Auction (Sunday – Wednesday, October 26-29)
A Silent Auction will run from 8:00 AM, Sunday morning to 6:00 PM, Wednesday evening. See the Missions Blog for details and previews of things and services being auctioned. Winners will be announced after the Lord’s Supper service on Wednesday. All proceeds from the auction will go toward our Sunrise North Africa Partnership (SNAP).
Sunday Services (Sunday, October 26)
Missions Emphasis speaker, Drew Hunter, will preach a sermon from Matthew 10:16-42, titled, “The Cost of Missions and the Courage to Endure.” Drew is the Preaching Pastor at Zionsville Fellowship in Zionsville, Indiana, and the author of Isaiah and Matthew in Crossway’s Knowing the Bible series.
Dinner with the Missionaries (Sunday, October 26)
From 5:00 – 8:00 PM we will enjoy dinner and hear from missionaries representing our three global initiatives: Chuck Harper of Western Indian Ministries (WIM), Eder Ixcopal of Operation R4 (OR4) from Guatemala’s Rabinal Achi people, and Mr. C, the father and husband of our second SNAP family headed to North Africa in early 2015. All proceeds from the dinner will support the three featured missionaries. Click here for more information and to register.
Lord’s Supper Service (Wednesday, October 29)
Redemption Church Leaders will share about the Campbell’s early 2015 departure. As always, we will focus on the cross and share in the Lord’s Supper together, proclaiming Jesus’ death until he returns. Dinner is at 5:30 PM and the service begins at 6:30 PM.
The Gospel in an age of ISIS (Sunday, November 2)
At 9:00 AM and 12:30 PM in the Youth Room, a guest speaker will share how the gospel and new churches are taking root in the Middle East and North Africa despite the spread of radicalized Islam. Our speaker represents Preparing Arab-world Leaders for Ministry (PALM), an organization that exists to nurture self-replicating discipleship groups and to train their leaders in countries without historic churches.
This past Sunday we had the joy of witnessing the baptism of ten brothers and sisters between two Sunday services. These are some of the happiest moments in the life of our congregation, for baptism is the symbol God has given us to identify with him and his people. It’s declaration and reminder that God raises men and women spiritually from the dead. Sunday is a reminder that he is doing that among us now.
As we listen to these testimonies, let’s praise God for his salvation of these people and remember these words from the Apostle Paul for all of us who are in Christ:
. . . all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
— Romans 6:3-4
9:00 – Will Hay, Tim Hollingsworth, Tara King, and Alexia Riley
10:45 – Allison Mancini, Caleb Mancini, Darien O’Donnell, Mikelle O’Donnell, Yashar Pakdel, and Caitlyn Ray
We should do this more often. That is, point you to good blogs around the web. We’re good at linking to good resources, but pointing you to a good blog is like teaching you to fish.
One blog you should know about is Head, Heart, Hand, by David Murray.
In a given week, David will interact with theology, culture, politics, and everyday Christian life issues. Today he blogged on a moving video of an adoption story from Pittsburgh.
[RSS and email readers, click here to view this video]
Here’s David’s follow-up reflection:
A challenging adoption: “We end tonight with a detective who took on one of the most challenging cases of his career.”
A head-and-heart adoption: “Solving it took teamwork between his head and his heart.”
A merciful adoption: “Most of the kids who come into this gym are street-kids, many of them have been born into poverty.”
A searching adoption: “When they stopped showing up at the gym one day, Jack went out and found the older boy.”
A compassionate adoption: “He looked terrible, bags under his eyes, 12 years old….What no one knew was just how bad these kids had it. They were in a foster home and had foster parents who were extremely abusive and neglectful.”
A sovereign adoption: “They had had it as worse as any other kid that has lived in the city of Pittsburgh…and I’d had enough of it.” “Jack Mook took matters into his own hands…and got the kids placed in a new home.”
A sacrificial adoption: ”…And got the kids placed in a new home…his.”
A beneficial adoption: One of the kids said, “I slept the best I ever did that night.”
An enjoyable adoption: Mook said “I’m loving this. It’s awesome. It’s the best thing I ever did in my life.”
A full adoption: “This week he went to court and did one better…adopted the boys and made them Mooks.”
A happy adoption: “You’re a Mook,right? You happy? Good!
And I just love the next line when Mook says “Good, now you’re going home to cut my grass,” and the journalist closes with, “Safe to say, the thought of chores has never been more welcome.” Isn’t that exactly how the adopted Christian feels about obeying and serving God? It’s no chore; it’s so welcome.
Life is short and in sin we fritter away our time—especially these days on the internet! One way to productively channel your screen time is to direct your clicks to blogs like Head, Heart, Hand.
On September 24 we hosted this year’s Elders Q&A. This is a way of facilitating and encouraging meaningful communication between the church’s leadership and the congregation. In a church as large as ours, this does require some thoughtful planning and care.
Ryan opened the evening with an explanation of why we do this each year and interacted with Scripture to give some context for the role of elders in God’s plan for his church. Then, for he first half Ryan moderated pre-submitted questions among the elders, and for the second half Trent fielded questions from the floor.
Here’s a list of questions we addressed with time stamps for the audio, which is available here.
- 8:00 DSC has sent out one family as missionaries and will send another out in the new year. What are the contingency plans should the missions giving dip below support levels?
- 10:47 There was a big push in 2011 and 2012 for local church planting as a part of the overall vision, but not much since then about what is next locally. Is local church planting still part of our strategy?
- 12:04 Other churches, even some locally, seem to have had some success with planting campuses instead of churches, would DSC leadership ever consider doing a satellite campus in Albuquerque or beyond?
- 14:41 How do the elders hold each other accountable in their personal spiritual lives and in regard to responsibilities at church?
- 19:26 Have you considered whether the makeup of the current eldership isn’t “elderly” enough? In other words, is it too young? Related, what about the balance (or imbalance) of staff elders and non-staff elders?
Church Life: Lord’s Supper, Church Discipline, Membership, Etc.
- 22:21 Why is our communion service on Wednesday night? Is it possible to have this communion service on Sunday mornings more often? Why do we do it when we do it?
- 25:14 Is there a place in church discipline for shunning? Paul tells the Corinthians that one of their sinning members should “be removed from among you” and to “purge the evil person” from their midst. Is this shunning?
- 28:04 How can members, under the elders, be more proactive about shepherding each other?
- 30:46 Why do we have a Sunday school or adult Sun classes? Why do we have age graded Sunday School or classes?
- 32:15 What does it mean to be a member of DSC? Is that in the Bible?
- 35:53 With our new Equip classes starting in the fall, are there any thoughts to expanding the building to allow more classrooms for adult education?
- 37:14 Is DSC cessationist or continuationist in belief? How does that work out in what we practice?
- 40:08 How should Christians think about and relate to a government that is increasingly antagonistic to Christians and restrictive of Christian freedoms?
Questions From the Floor
- 45:14 As elders you go to the sick in the body and pray for them. How often do you do that and how does that work?
- 47:47 Is there a possibly legalistic reason behind the gender separation between a Women’s Bible Study, Men’s Huddle, etc. Is there a reason there isn’t a corporate Bible study?
- 50:58 There’s a lot of excitement with the annual thrust for missions during Missions Emphasis Week. As far as church planting, what are your thoughts about that, how often it should be done, and our strategy?
- 55:04 In years past we had a ministry called The Well for young adults. Do we have any plans to reinitiate that type of ministry? If so, how would we go about that?
- 1:00:32 We’re all excited about our missionaries going to West Africa. Some organizations are calling their missionaries back because of Ebola. Whose decision will it be to protect our missionaries not only from health issues but other potential harms throughout their career?
- 1:03:12 What are the strengths of the pastors and the congregation at our church?
- 1:06:59 Israel has been in the news a lot lately. A lot of Christians think it’s biblically required to stand behind them. What’s the church’s position?
- 1:12:23 Praises to God from each of the elders
For audio from past Elders Q&A gatherings, click here.
DSC is not alone in its need to think carefully and labor consistently to include our children in the corporate worship services. And parents at DSC are not alone in wrestling with the question of when their children are ready to join us.
Here’s the introduction to a post published today by Kevin DeYoung on just these issues, titled, “History Helps Put Things in Perspective“:
I am strongly opposed to providing our kids with alternate worship experiences all the way through high school. They ought to be worshiping with adults, with their families, in “big” church, not having a special service tailored to their teen demographic.
I am a believer in parents bringing their children, even young children, with them into worship. Our kids can pick up more than we know. And even if the content is beyond them, they will learn some songs, pick up some liturgy, and see their parents worshiping Christ.
I’m a proponent of families worshiping together.
I’m not a proponent, however, of taking a good principle and making it an absolute rule.
He goes on to interact with what we know about Protestant church culture in the 16th century. They had kids back then too!
Read the whole thing here and let’s keep talking about this together.
Questions are crucial for understanding, unity, and fruitfulness in almost any relationship. This is obvious in marriage, parenting, and at work.
Good questions and thoughtful answers are important in the context of the church as well, perhaps especially between shepherds and the flock. And so DSC’s elders are available in the halls around church, by email, and once each year we set aside an evening to take questions in the context of a corporate gathering. We call it, an “Elders Q&A.”
Our next Elders Q&A will take place on the last Wednesday of this month, September 24, at 6:30 PM.
If you have a question, submit it. If you don’t, think of one and then submit it. Here are four ways to ask your questions:
- Submit your question using your bulletin Comment Card next Sunday and drop that in an offering box.
- Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Communicate your question for the Q&A to an elder directly.
- Show up with your question on the 24th. The elders will take some questions from a mic in the course of the evening.
Of course, we appreciate your questions early. This helps us notice recurring themes and spend our time in a way that best serves the congregation. Any questions that are not addressed at the Q&A will be answered through the DSC Blog or by email.