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 email@example.com.
- 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.
In Sunday’s sermon, “God’s People in God’s Presence,” Ryan addressed at some length the role of children in our corporate gatherings.
It is easy to assume that these gatherings are for adults, and that children’s programs are a substitute for children. But as a general principle, it seems consistent with the Bible’s description of the family and of the church for children to join us as soon as they are able. The question of when they are ready depends largely on our role as parents in training them and preparing them. Each family will need to work through how to get from here to there with their young ones.
Here are some articles to help you work this out in the context of your family.
Articles on families together in corporate worship
- “The Family: Together in God’s Presence,” by John and Noel Piper
- “Children in Worship—Let’s Bring it Back,” by Jason Helopoulos
- “Children in Worship—Mom Tested Tips,” by Jason Helopoulos
Statements from other churches families together in corporate worship
- “Practical Suggestions on Your Role in Worship,” by David Eby, North City Presbyterian Church
- “On the Family Pew: Children in Corporate Worship,” by Michael Brown, Christ United Reformed Church
- “Teaching Your Children to Worship,” by Mark Kuykendall, Bethel Bible Church
- “Children and Corporate Worship,” Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church
- “Ten Reasons Why Your Children Should Sit with You in Worship,” by Reggie Weems, Heritage Baptist Church
- “Worshiping with Your Children,” by Matthew Fletcher, Webster Bible Church
If you had to read one article on this subject, we’d recommend the piece written by John and Noel Piper, “The Family: Together in God’s Presence.” In fact, we’re making this available for you in print this coming Sunday and around the church on an ongoing basis.
It is good for families to worship together with the family of God. Everything else that goes on around here on Sunday is second to that.
This weekend we will sing a song that is increasingly familiar to us at DSC: “Oh How Good It Is.” This is a song about what it means to be the family of God written by Keith and Kristyn Getty, who will be with us in just two weekends for a concert on Saturday, September 20. By the way, if you haven’t already, click here to register.
Here’s a video of the song followed by lyrics:
[RSS and email readers, click here to view this video]
Here are the lyrics to this song, written by Keith and Kristyn Getty, Ross Holmes, and Stuart Townend.
Oh how good it is
when the family of God
dwells together in spirit,
in faith, and unity;
Where the bonds of peace
of acceptance and love
are the fruit of His presence
here among us.
So with one voice we’ll sing to the Lord,
and with one heart we’ll live out His Word,
till the whole earth sees
the Redeemer has come,
for He dwells in the presence of His people.
Oh how good it is
on this journey we share
to rejoice with the happy
and weep with those who mourn;
For the weak find strength,
the afflicted find grace
when we offer the blessing
Oh how good it is
to embrace His command,
to prefer one another,
forgive as He forgives;
When we live as one
we all share in the love
of the Son with the Father
and the Spirit.