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Wednesday, April 26

Archive for the Announcement Category


Apr 17

Interview with Asher Griffin, Part 2

2017 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

This is the second in a two-part interview with Asher Griffin, DSC’s new Minister of Theological Training. In Part 1 we learned a bit about Asher’s background and how he met Brooke. Here in Part 2 we’ll learn about some of the larger influences on his life.

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In Part 2 we’ll focus on some of the influences on your life. What’s your favorite book of the Bible and why?

Psalms. I love this book because I think it captures everything God wants me to see, know, and feel about Him. And you can’t make sense of any of that without hoping for and seeing the Son of God as the Savior. I’m not a fan of poetry (always dreaded it in English classes). But with the Psalms, I can pray to God, learn about Him, see His work, and hope in His will.

What book or author has had the most impact on your life, besides the Bible?

There are so many! Jerry Bridges’, The Practice of Godliness, was so helpful to me in college, and I’m always trying to read it with other people. R.C. Sproul’s, The Holiness of God, is a book that I wish I read every year. Don Whitney’s, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, was helpful in college and in seminary to help me craft a devotional, spiritual life. Don’s section on prayer (now its own book) completely changed my prayer life.

But John Bunyan’s, Pilgrim’s Progress, is, I think, the best book ever written. I’ve read it several times and every time there’s something more that shows me the goodness of God. I try to reread it every year.

Tell us about the most influential sermon you’ve heard?

I started listening to Martyn Lloyd-Jones sermons in college, and remember being mesmerized by his sermon on Ephesians 2:1-10 titled: “But God”. I was out on a jog around OSU’s campus and by the end I was just standing on a sidewalk listening to the last 20 minutes feeling overwhelmed God’s love.

For what seems like most of my life, I’ve been surrounded by good preaching. Growing up, my parents would listen to John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul every time we were in the car. I grew up in a great, expositional preaching church. And while I was in college, iTunes exploded and friends would introduce me to preachers like Alistair Begg, John Piper, Matt Chandler, and many more.

How do you like to spend your down time? Any hobbies?

Brooke and I can truly lounge. And we enjoy hanging out with people, having coffee, and having people over to our house. Beyond that, I like tinkering around on house projects, backpacking/camping, and reading. When I lived in Virginia, I would cycle a lot. I plan to get back into that.

Okay, now a few left fielders. What is the dumbest thing you did as a kid?

My mom has taught gym for most of my life. So, after school, we were in a constant onslaught of climbing, scootering, throwing anything, and jumping off everything. Let’s just say that glow-in-the-dark roller blade hockey in the halls was just the beginning. It’s amazing I’m still alive.

Any odd talents that we should know about up front?

I have this weird ability of recalling things or books by their color. For example: I used to organize all my books by the book cover’s color, and I could always find things. What’s the book by J.I. Packer on godliness? I have no idea, but it’s green. This annoyed and freaked people out so I changed it up. And now I have no idea where any book is.

What’s your favorite animal, and why?

I like dogs. Brooke LOVES dogs. Dogs are fun, up for anything, and dependable. Brooke and I have both had dogs as pets growing up. Some were amazing, and some are truly laughable. And Brooke asks if we can get a puppy nearly every day.

Without going to the internet, do you know what a Lobo is? An Isotope? Carne Adovada?

Yeh, Lobo basketball! I want to see a game in The Pit. I’ve seen the Isotopes play in Oklahoma City several times. And Carne Adovada sounds like something I’d eat, but I don’t know what it is.

And, for one last question, red or green?

Christmas.

Apr 13

Easter Weekend Services and a Special Request

2017 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
– 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

This weekend we will remember and praise God for that which is of first importance: the death and the resurrection of Christ! Here’s a reminder of our Good Friday and Easter Sunday service times:

  • Friday, April 14: Good Friday service at 6:30 PM with childcare for children four years old and under
  • Sunday, April 16: Easter services at 7:30, 9:00, and 10:45 AM, with childcare for all children during the later two services.

Of course, don’t forget to invite someone to our weekend services. Here’s a digital invitation to make that easy. And if you do, make sure they know to be early to whatever service they join us for.

A Special Request for Easter Morning

If possible, on Sunday morning, please attend the 7:30 AM service. Imagine that you come to church once a year and this year a friend from DSC invited you to church. You plan to arrive when service starts. You show up maybe even five minutes early, but you are directed to an overflow room to watch the service on a TV. This is too-bad at a number of levels. But it is preventable if several hundred of our normal attenders attend the 7:30 AM service instead of their regular service.

If you have young children, this may not work, as we don’t provide childcare for this service. Or if you are inviting a friend or family member to join, 7:30 AM may not be the better time. But if it’s a matter of convenience we would ask that you do come early to ensure a seat for our many guests who will attend the later services. Thanks for helping us be hospitable.

Apr 10

Interview with Asher Griffin, Part 1

2017 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

On Sunday, March 26, we introduced you to Asher Griffin, a man we were considering for Minister of Theological Training. More recently we announced that we invited Asher to come and that he accepted. We’re thrilled about this, as are so many of you who have expressed excitement for Asher and Brooke to come.

Asher and Brooke are still in Oklahoma and plan to move for Asher to start at DSC on May 1.

In the middle of his own fury of transition details, Asher was kind to take some time to answer some questions for us. In Part 1 we’ll learn a bit about Asher’s background and family. In Part 2 we’ll learn about some of the more profound influences in his life.

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We sure look forward to having you here. Thanks for doing this interview with us. How are you and Brooke doing?

We’re doing great; thanks for asking! We couldn’t be more excited to get out to Albuquerque. In fact, probably every night, one of us will say something like: “I just reeeeeeally want to get there.” We’ll miss many people in Oklahoma, but we’re so grateful to be coming to DSC. We’ve only felt true peace and eagerness in this. It’s been a great season for us.

Let’s start with your salvation story. How did the Lord save you? You can give us the brief version here, and we’ll have the chance to get better acquainted later.

I’ll try to be brief. God saved me at a young age by showing me His glory and power through His Word, conversations with my parents, our church, and some older friends. I’ve always been a worrywart. And because of that, I was taught and shown how God brings ultimate peace and comfort through Jesus’ death, resurrection, and reign over everything. I never had doubt that I was a sinner, but I started to understand more and more that my sins not only had consequences, but finally must be dealt with. That was alarming to my conscience, even at a young age. My parents were careful and clear in explaining that Jesus took the place of repentant sinners on the cross and conquers death and sin. Over time, my faith became a reality and there was a shift from fear and regret to eagerness to trust in God and see Him as my Savior and hope, not my abilities or efforts. I was baptized a couple of years later. I still have doubts and I still worry, but those moments have an endpoint when I remember God’s love for me, remind myself of His perfect will and promise, and rejoice in the truth that Jesus saved me for rest and enjoyment.

Now, some context for your life and ministry. Tell us, briefly, where have you lived and what were you doing there? Tell us about degrees, some jobs you’ve had, and how you’ve served in ministry.

I’ve lived in Oklahoma, Washington D.C., Alaska, Kentucky, and Virginia. I grew up north of Oklahoma City, where I loved playing sports, school, friends, church, and outdoor stuff.

Things got logistically dramatic during my 20s as I attended Oklahoma State University. College was sanctifying. I joined my first church there, lived with nearly 20 people in 4 years, grew up a lot, and really saw the importance of being a disciple of Jesus. For a little bit, I lived in Washington D.C., working for the White House during the Bush administration. I lived in a town north of Tulsa, OK, working a short accounting stint for ConocoPhillips. I lived in Anchorage, AK, for a summer doing more accounting things with ConocoPhillips. In 2009, I moved to Louisville, KY, to go to seminary. Before finishing seminary, I moved to Charlottesville, VA, to serve at a church for nearly 2 years before then moving back to Louisville so that I could finish my M.Div. in 2013. In the fall of 2013, I moved back to my hometown and began serving at Henderson Hills Baptist Church, where I met Brooke, got married, and turned 30.

It was toward the very end of college (2008) that I made the switch from going the business route to then wanting to be a preacher and pastor. Growing up, I always thought highly of pastors, but never in my life saw it as something I’d want to be. It was after roughly two years of seeing the balance of ministry, career ambitions, and discipleship unfold to where I believe God made it clear that I truly want to vocationally pastor, pray, and preach. He’s been kind to let me serve, intern, and pastor within His churches, and I hope each step keeps preparing me for more ministry.

You’re newly married! Tell us about how you met Brooke and how things progressed to marriage.

Ah, Brooke is an ongoing answer to prayer and is truly lovely. Her mom introduced us at church on Good Friday in 2014 (Brooke grew up at Henderson Hills). Months later, she was home for the summer and I kept “accidentally” seeing her and chatting with her in the church lobby before or after services. So, I finally called her cell a couple weeks later, and after 98 dates (I have a list of all of them) in 6 months, I proposed.

Our “dating” was fast, but I believe God prepared us both for not only that whirlwind, but also the desire to spend a lifetime together in marriage. From our first date, I knew that Brooke was an amazing Christian woman, that I wanted to be around her, and that I’d never stop calling her. We got married in the summer of 2015 and it has been wonderful.

How did you first find out about DSC and what resonated most with you in learning about our church?

Well, I first heard of DSC when Trent Hunter went there in 2010. Trent and I were friends in seminary, so I followed his work and life through social media. He emailed me about this role in February, and I was pretty hooked.

From the outside, DSC looks good: great preaching, great music that you can hear from the website, elder leadership, and helpful doctrinal papers and stances. But to be honest, when I came as a candidate in March, it became clear how great a fellowship it is. On DSC’s inside, we saw that: the people were so kind, they were so great to Brooke, the elements of the worship service were just what we were hoping for, and the interview process with the elders greatly encouraged me. When we flew back to Oklahoma, we deeply desired to be invited back.

You’re serving in an associate ministry role at your current church. What is the same and what is different about the role you’re taking as Minister of Theological Training?

I expect a lot to be the same and a lot to be different. I expect it to be the same in that when I walk into a church building, a home, a hospital, or a coffee meeting, ultimately, I’m entrusted with the task of shepherding people. And I love that. That’s the most affirming thing I get to do daily – I get the opportunity to listen to others tell about God working in their own and other people’s lives, and I get to participate in sharing and showing God’s love and watch others do the same. We’re all called to that in some degree, but I get to do it vocationally. I’m so grateful for that.

Differences will be vast in several ways. First, I’m not from New Mexico. I expect the culture of people, the personality of Albuquerque, and the rhythms of DSC to be different than what I’m used to. Which is great, but it’ll take a little bit for Brooke and I to observe, listen, and understand. Second, I’ll be so thankful every chance I get to preach, teach, or lead a ministry/project within my own church. I do a lot of pulpit supply now, which is fun. But it’s even better when you preach a sermon for people you know, are entrusted to, and love already. It allows you to pray differently, preach more personally, and focus on the Word’s connection with specific groups even more.

You’ve completed a Master’s of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Tell us about that degree and how it will help you in your role here.

I had a great experience at Southern. It was very hard for me to transition from a business mentality in college (and just the social atmosphere of college) to a more rigorous academic culture. On top of that, I was quickly beginning to grow in what it means to pastor people. But at Southern, I really loved learning about how to use God’s Word, and began trying to give my life to others within the church. I joined a great church and was influenced by some tremendous people. It was a great time of enjoying God through His Word and His Church.

Imagine seminary being a man standing in front of a class, holding up the Bible, and saying “trust the God of this Book.” That’s what seminary was to me. I believe my role at DSC will allow me to encourage people to delight in the Lord, to trust and use His Word, to not shy away from growing alongside others, and to be merciful to a world who needs Him. That’s what I gained from a life in the church and a season at Southern. A small picture of my role may look like leading through a conference, having coffees here and there, getting others to teach short theology courses, or preaching some sermons. But the big picture: together, we’re trying to worship God like He deserves, and we hope others see who we’re worshipping.

Nov 15

Interview with Josiah B., Part 2

2016 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

This is the second in a  two-part interview with Josiah B., DSC’s new Minister of Local and Global Missions. In Part 1 we learned a bit about Josiah’s background and how he met Janice. Here in Part 2 we’ll learn a bit about Josiah’s approach to evangelism and missions, as well as some of the larger influences on Josiah’s life.

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In Part 2 we’ll focus here on some questions about evangelism. Let’s start where we must: what is the gospel?

The Gospel is the Good News that although we were undeserving hell-bound sinners, God loved us and sent His Son to live the life we should have lived and die the death we should have died. This God-man was buried and rose again on the third day, promising eternal life and the forgiveness of sins to all who turn away from their sin and trust in Him alone for their salvation.

In your daily life, in what ways are you cultivating evangelistic opportunities? How have you helped others to do the same?

We invest in our neighbors by taking time to linger and have conversations about life with them, pray with them, show them hospitality. Because I spend a lot of time with students, and they bring a lot of unchurched friends to church with them, I also have the opportunity to build relationships with those students who do not know Christ. I then model evangelism for the students I am discipling by taking them alongside with me as I intentionally have conversations with those lost students. I also try to use the same vendors and build relationships with outsiders in that way. For example, our church in Oklahoma hosts events to attract local kids and families to the church, and my responsibility is often ordering a bounce house. I gladly use this as an opportunity to call a local Jordanian man who happens to rent this type of equipment. He brings the equipment and comes to collect it afterward. Each time he comes, he stays and lingers with me, and we have long conversations. He often asks me questions that give me straight-foward opportunities to share with him the reason for my hope in Christ. It is sometimes hard for those of us who spend the majority of our time in a church building to have meaningful relationships with the lost world, but I have found that if I am strategic and go to the same people each time, then I can build relationships with them and get more opportunities to share the gospel.

What are the two best books you’ve read on evangelism and why?

My perspective on evangelism was really changed through reading both Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus by J. Mack Stiles and The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever. First, Stiles showed the value of building an evangelistic culture within the church. Many Christians want to leave evangelism to vocational ministers, or to justify big productions as their sole means of participating in the Great Commission. However, with a biblical approach, the entire church is involved in this Great Commission. The second book by Dever realigned my evangelism strategies. He argues that while apologetics, feeding the poor, inviting people to church, etc. are all good and necessary things, they are not evangelism. When we do these things, we might be tempted to pat ourselves on the back for a job well-done, but Dever reminds the reader that if the gospel is not shared, evangelism has not taken place. This book is a kick in the pants to believers to go and evangelize!

How would you shepherd the person who says, “I don’t really think sharing the gospel is for me. Other people are good at that but I seem to struggle”?

I would encourage a person to re-evaluate how they define success in evangelism. Since we know that ultimately we cannot change hearts (that’s God’s job!), we need to take the emphasis off of the response of the individual, and instead be more concerned with being faithful to what Christ has commanded us. The Great Commission is for all believers, not just for those who are the most persuasive or articulate. Also, for the person who is struggling, I would say that evangelism is like any other discipline in that it requires some practice to feel more natural. Just like I must discipline myself to read God’s Word even in seasons when I don’t “feel like it,” I must also practice the discipline of evangelism, even if it does feel a little awkward at first, because in time it does get easier and feels more natural. If someone is eager to share but has never done so before and is nervous about it, I like to encourage them to practice sharing the gospel with a loved one. There’s no pressure, and once the message of the gospel comes out of our own lips a few times, we’ll find that we are better prepared in a more spontaneous situation where we might feel nervous. God is faithful. He empowers us by his Spirit. We just need to be obedient, and by His grace, He’ll help us.

Now, for some general influences on your life. What’s your favorite book of the Bible and why?

I would say I’m very fond of the book of James. Growing up in the Bible Belt, many people talk a lot about faith, but you won’t hear so much talk about works. There’s a lot of talk about blessings that are often material in nature and the good things God has stored up for a person, but you won’t hear a lot of acknowledgments about how God’s good will might actually involve trial and suffering in a person’s life. Since being a teenager, the book of James has always been an encouragement to me to put on good works through faith. We are saved by faith alone, but faith is never alone. I think this message is especially important for a culture swept away with “easy believism” thinking that having warm fuzzies in their heart at one time in the past and saying a prayer equates having a saving faith in Christ. I am also so encouraged to read James’ admonishment that we can embrace the trials that God allows in our life with joy, trusting that our faith will be refined in our suffering and that He will be brought glory.

What book or author has had the most impact on your life, besides the Bible?

It was upon reading The Pleasures of God by John Piper that I first felt a desire to go overseas in order to preach the Gospel to those that do not have access to it. In this delightful book Piper describes the transcendence and magnificent beauty of God, and he calls readers to persuade others to delight in a God who is worthy of all of our praise. Through this book the Lord stirred up in me a desire to see others delight in God unto His glory. This book ultimately persuaded me to change my M. Div. focus from pastoral ministry to international church planting.

Tell us about the most influential sermon you’ve heard?

The most influential sermon I’ve heard would have been from my pastor when I was a young child. I don’t remember all of the specifics, but he did spend some time talking about hell. At the time I realized that I was separated from God and didn’t have a right relationship with Him. This led me to later talk to my dad, and after hearing the Good News that Jesus died for sinners like me, I repented of my sins and trusted in Jesus and my Lord and my Savior.

How do you like to spend your down time? Any hobbies?

I enjoy cooking, baking bread, and roasting coffee.

Okay, now a few left fielders. What is the dumbest thing you did as a kid?

I was probably around 5 years old, and my brother would have been about 9. He had a fundraiser for school, and my mom showed her loving support by buying a chocolate bunny. She hid it up high in a cabinet, not knowing that someone had been watching! Being the cunning five-year-old I was, I got up in the middle of the night, climbed up high, reached into the cabinet, and procured my prize. I crept through the hallway, slipped into the bathroom, and quietly enjoyed my midnight snack in solitude. When I was finished eating the entire chocolate bunny, I responsibly placed the wrapper inside the trashcan (I wasn’t a barbarian, after all!)  for my mother to subsequently find the next day. The dumbest thing about this story? A couple years later my brother got a chocolate snowman, and it disappeared and was disposed of in the very same way.

Any odd talents that we should know about up front?

After years of working in student ministry, I have developed a stare that can make a middle school boy reconsider his actions.

What’s your favorite animal, and why?

Cows, because they are delicious.

Without going to the internet, do you know what a Lobo is? An Isotope? Carne Adovada?

A Lobo is a wolf and the mascot for the University of New Mexico. The Isotopes, if I am not mistaken, are a minor league baseball team. (This came up in my interview!) Carne Adovada is a meat dish. I don’t know what that last word is, but it’s obviously meat.

And, for one last question, red or green?

Green.

Nov 3

Interview with Josiah B., Part 1

2016 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

On a Sunday in August we introduced you to Josiah B., a man we were considering for Minister of Local and Global Missions. More recently we announced that we invited Josiah to come and that he accepted. Well, he’s here!

Josiah is on site and starting to get acquainted with our history and plans for missions. What a task that is! He’s excited and so are we. Janice and his children are still in Oklahoma but hope to be here soon.

Josiah is busy getting acquainted with the history, specifics, and relationships for missions at DSC. He was kind in this transition to take some time to answer some questions for us. In Part 1 we’ll learn a bit about Josiah’s background and family. In Part 2 we’ll learn about some of the more profound influences in his life.

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We’re so glad to have you here. Thanks for doing this interview with us. How are Janice and the kids?

Thank you for asking. They are really excited to be coming to DSC and we’re all praying the house sells quickly so they can move to ABQ soon! Our youngest two, Juliet and Blaise, are doing great. We’d ask for your prayers for Janice and for our oldest, Charlotte. Janice has been struggling with a new diagnosis of a rare disease called Alpha-Gal Syndrome, which is thought to be due to a tick bite. It involves a severe allergy to all red meat (=mammal) products, and because by-products are hidden and unlabeled in so many foods (even salt and sugar and enriched flour!) it’s been a struggle to avoid reactions, and lately she’s been very sick. As for Charlotte, it was recently concluded after many tests that she has a stress fracture in her lower spine due to an accident this summer and will need to wear a back brace for at least three months. The doctor said there is a chance she may never fully heal, so we are asking for prayers that the Lord would intervene if it His will and use this trial in her life for His glory.

You’ve been in ministry for about ten years now. Tell us, briefly, where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing.

Yes, I have been in ministry since college, but that wasn’t originally my plan. In college I was studying accounting, and I desired to go work for the FBI. During one of my classes I met an international student, and I desired to share the gospel with her, but I had no idea how to do that cross-culturally. So I went to the Baptist Collegiate Ministries and asked the director for advice. As a result I became very involved with their international student ministry. I enjoyed it so much I then asked the director how I could become an assistant. Upon his advice, I applied to work as a missionary with the North American Mission Board serving as a college ministry intern, working with both locals and international students on the island of Maui.

After my 8 months in Hawaii, I made a “quick stop” that Fall back in Oklahoma to see family before moving to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Forth Worth, TX. It was during these brief weeks in Oklahoma that I met Janice, and since I moved to TX, we began a long-distance relationship. The following Spring, I moved back to Oklahoma, continued seminary at an extension campus, and asked her to be my bride.

That Summer we were married and moved to South Korea a week after the wedding. We taught English together for one year at a secular school. We both had a burning desire for missions, so we decided to do bi-vocational ministry overseas. After a few months living in Korea we starting meeting expatriates that also were learning how to adjust to life in Korea. We were able to teach them the ins and outs of living as an expat and in the process we invited them to our home Bible study. During this time, we saw one man come to Christ and a Bible study turn into a small church but I also realized that I needed to continue my education in order to be a better missionary. So when our term ended we moved to Texas so I could finish my seminary education. While I was finishing seminary I also served as a Youth and Associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Venus, TX. I completed the in-country portion of my International Church-Planting M. Div. degree in Texas while we had two children, and to complete my studies we moved overseas with the International Mission Board to serve Central Asian peoples living in Germany.

We spent two years in Germany studying both German and Turkish. We met weekly with German believers to disciple and equip them in the work of reaching their Muslim neighbors alongside us, and we also met weekly with a small congregation of Muslim-background believers to encourage them in their pursuit of Christ and in their efforts to reach their neighbors as well. We saw God do some really amazing things. We were allowed to share our faith so frequently and freely. For the first time we found ourselves being the only Christian in many different people’s lives. It was a really blessed time and made us all-the-more-passionate about spreading His glory among the nations!

After our two years in Germany, the “plan” was to become career missionaries, but the Lord had other plans. Due to budget cuts we were not allowed to stay on the field. After having traveled the world, the Lord surprised us by moving us back to our home state of Oklahoma where I have served as a Pastor to Youth and College Students for the past two years. We’ve been so blessed to be near family after having lived abroad for so long, and we’ve had such a great group of students to pour into. The people at our church in Tulsa have loved us well.

But ultimately, that passion for spreading God’s fame globally has stayed alive in our hearts, and while we are grateful for our time in Oklahoma, we took this position because it allows me to participate in the mission work of equipping and sending and going. We are thrilled that God has given us the opportunity to join this like-minded body of believers at DSC and participate with you in the Great Commission.

We had a chance to meet Janice during your visit with us in May. We admired how well you two interacted and cared for one another. I know the story of how you met Janice and how you entered the mission field are mingled. Tell us the story of meeting Janice and heading to the mission field merged.

As I mentioned before, I began doing international student ministry in college with the Baptist Collegiate Ministries. Janice was also doing international student ministry on the same university campus; however, she was doing it through her local church, and so our paths never crossed until I heard about how successful her church’s outreach to international students was, and I decided to go check it out. They were hosting weekly Bible studies in the home of an older married couple. Janice and I were so focused on talking to international students that we almost didn’t talk to each other, but at the last minute I came over to her, started a conversation about why we loved international student ministry, and eventually parted ways. Janice thought we would never see each other again because I was moving to Texas. I ended up pursuing a relationship with her anyway! We quickly bonded over our love for Christ and over our passion for sharing His Good News with those who have never heard. Our first date sounded more like a strategy session of asking how committed we were to obeying the Great Commission, and where we wanted to serve. Just 11 months after that first meeting we were married, and immediately set off to go do cross-cultural ministry in Korea. Our relationship began with cross-cultural ministry, and it has really been a defining and unifying passion throughout our entire marriage.

How did you first find out about DSC and what resonated most with you in learning about our church?

I first found out about DSC when I was searching through The Gospel Coalition’s job board. I read the description of your church, of what you were looking for in a missions minister, and I was extremely excited. I quickly sent you my resume. We promptly found your church’s blog and website, began listening to your sermons, and found you guys to be very thoughtful and like-minded in your theology. We were blessed by your devotion to Scripture as your authority and your desire to see Christ prized by all peoples. We longed to be a part of a church that shared our values. As we had already for years been following The Gospel Coalition’s website, we felt a kinship with you. Having the opportunity to meet you all in person and worship with you at DSC, our hearts rejoiced to confirm what we already knew!

The cultures in Oklahoma and Albuquerque are quite different. Why was Albuquerque appealing to you?

Yes, Albuquerque is quite different from “Green Country” (that’s the nickname for the Tulsa area where we’re moving from). We desired to move west of Oklahoma and out of the Bible Belt in order to be able to make a greater impact on lostness. Two summers ago I visited Santa Fe on a mission trip with my youth ministry where we did backyard Bible clubs. It didn’t take long for me to see the lack of biblical literacy present in New Mexico compared to Oklahoma, and as we’ve taken the time to study some general demographics, our hearts were tugged to go somewhere where there is less access to the gospel.

You’re coming to us from Oklahoma where you’re doing youth ministry. You have a background in missions. Why are you seeking a role in mobilization instead of going to the field?

Though our hearts are eagerly willing to uproot our lives and children and go to the ends of the earth to spread His Good News, the Lord has simply not allowed that for us at this time. Janice’s health problems have become too complicated to live overseas for the foreseeable future. We recognize that this is a limitation that God has allowed for His reasons, although mysterious to us at times, and we are at peace with that. We feel like God has allowed this opportunity to fulfill our heart’s desire to be more actively involved in mission work without needing to physically move overseas. I am hopeful that my past experiences living overseas will help me to serve DSC and love your workers who are living abroad. I am very excited about the opportunity to not only go myself, but to mobilize others as well.

From your experience, what was hardest part of being on the mission field? What was the greatest part?

The hardest part of living on the mission field for me was language. Learning language is hard. Speaking in a language that is not your mother tongue can be taxing on the brain, and sometimes you just want a break, but you may not get a break until you get home and the only person you can really, truly communicate with is your wife. It felt at times as though we were living on an island. We went to German church each week, but we weren’t actually able to comprehend and be encouraged by sermons until far into our stay there. That’s probably the other side of that difficulty. The lack of Christian community can be really hard. We had to listen to sermons online. It was rare to be able to sing praises with other believers in our mother tongue.

The greatest part was being able to share the gospel with people who had never heard it before. We had a friend we connected with, and the only contact he had previously had with Christianity was what he had learned in his Muslim school. Janice had a whole group of North African ladies who asked her to teach them what Christians believe, because they had always been so curious, but they had never personally known a Christian who would be willing to share with them.

You’ve completed a Master’s of Divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Tell us about that degree and how it will help you in your role here.

I completed a Master’s of Divinity with an emphasis in International Church Planting. I chose this degree because I was able to get the full benefit of a Master’s of Divinity in learning how to better interpret the Word of God so that I can faithfully preach the text. Yet I was also able to study missiology and learn how to plant churches in a cross-cultural setting. I was blessed to study under professors who had not only previously served as missionaries, but also as directors and mobilizers for hundreds of missionaries. I believe that my knowledge and experience gained in this program will allow me to better equip the church body to not only support our church planters but to also personally participate in the great commission.

Oct 3

Interview with Scott Meinema, Part 2

2016 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

This is the second in a  two-part interview with Scott Meinema, DSC’s new Minister over the areas of Biblical Counseling and Community Groups. In Part 1 we learned a bit about Scott’s background, how he met Janelle. Here in Part 2 we’ll learn a bit about the larger influences on Scott’s life.

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In this second part to your blog interview, let’s start with a question at the heart of what you’re coming here to do: what is your view of how discipleship takes place in a church?

Great question. By discipleship I assume you have in mind the activity of introducing others to Jesus and /or helping them grow to become more faithful and mature followers of Christ. Discipleship takes place many different ways in the midst of life on life relationships. In other words, parents modeling Christ and teaching their children is discipleship. Husbands dying to self and sacrificially serving their wife is discipleship. Older men and women modeling Christ and teaching younger men and women is discipleship. Christ followers exhorting, encouraging, and serving one another is discipleship. Confession of sin to one another is discipleship. A Pastor’s teaching and preaching is discipleship. Discipleship takes place in Community Groups. What takes place in the counseling room is discipleship. Discipleship takes place whenever we are living in a way that demonstrates Christ to one another.

Now, a few questions about influences on your life. What’s your favorite book of the Bible and why?

Genesis, because it gives us so much insight into the glory of God, his character, and his attributes. I love Genesis because we see God’s kingship of grace, mercy, sovereignty, holiness, and creative omnipotence. In Genesis we catch a glimpse of Christ and the gospel in various places and we learn our condition and need for a Savior. There are so many things that can be learned about relationships in Genesis. But I also like John’s gospel because he takes us back to Genesis and gives us the rest of the story. John unveils the very Word who became flesh and tabernacled among his people. John helps us to see Jesus, the true glory of God, in a way that is purposely veiled in Genesis.

What book has had the most impact on your life, besides the Bible?

That is a toss-up so I’m going with Desiring God by John Piper. I was surprised to learn that my pursuit for joy was actually good. The problem was that I was looking for joy in all the wrong places. The idea that real joy comes from our enjoyment of God was something foreign to me. Up till then, I saw religion more as duty but not in a relationship to delight in. I saw God’s commands as counter-joy not as something to run to because they offer blessings, protection, and joy from a Father who loves us and wants his best for us. That book helped recalibrate my thinking to see that all of life should be about glorifying God by enjoying him. I like what Piper says: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him”.

Tell us about the most influential sermon you’ve heard.

Well, I never heard it spoke but the most influential sermon I’ve read is John Owen’s “The Duty of a Pastor.” It is true North for anyone who ministers God’s word, particularly the pastor. Owen provides a rich buffet of truths but none more helpful for me then the point that the preacher (or counselor) must first and foremost preach to himself. In other words, it is difficult to lead others to a place you have never been to. The pastor must take in and apply the message to his own life first. He must not just think about it but feel it and act on it. He must experience the truth he is going to preach because that experience transforms and helps bring conviction to the delivery of the word.

Tell us a bit about one of two important mentors in your life.

One was a friend from when we lived in Chicago. God used Mark in my life to challenge my own knowledge of the Scriptures and of the God of the Scriptures. I recall one occasion when discussing a particular doctrinal issue, he asked if I had ever read the Bible with that one doctrine in mind? Of course I hadn’t and he proclaimed that I didn’t have a right to an opinion on that issue until having read to see all that God had said about it! Needless to say, I was not happy but went away and read with the goal of seeing what God said about the particular issue. To my surprise my previous opinion was way wrong. Mark helped me to think critically about the Scriptures, memorize the Scriptures and was the one who introduced me to John Owen for which I am grateful.

Another mentor would be our counseling supervisor, Dr. Bob Smith. I was privileged to spend over 100 hours in the counseling room with one of the early pioneers of the Biblical Counseling movement. Besides having a terrific command of the Scriptures, Dr. Smith is a faithful practitioner of the Scriptures. Week in and week out he faithfully applied the Scriptures to his own life and helped others do the same. He was transparent with his own fight of faith which made it easier for his counselees and trainees to be transparent and share their struggles. My favorite comment from Dr. Smith is when he would say, “my ears need to hear what my mouth just said.”
What was the most difficult time in your life as a Christian, and how do you believe this has this helped prepare you for the work the Lord has for you here?

We have had a number of difficulties throughout our marriage. I think it was John Piper who said that marriage is the most difficult relationship on the face of the planet. Marriage is one of God’s main sanctification tools. There is nothing like the marriage relationship to help us see our own selfishness. There is nothing like marriage that brings out my sinful and self-centered heart and need for change. There is nothing like the marriage relationship that provides me with opportunity to die to self and that can be difficult.

On the other hand, marriage can be joyful, wonderful and redemptive when marriage functions in the way our King intended. Seeing God’s goodness and sovereignty especially in the midst of our difficult circumstances and relationships is an important first step in ministering to others.

Okay, now a few left fielders we always ask our new ministers. What is the dumbest thing you did as a kid?

During the holidays my mom would make cookies, pecan cups and other deserts for the neighbors, friends and family. She would lock them in a freezer in a locked storage room so we would not eat them before they were handed out. She spent days baking dozens and dozens of these treats.

One year, I removed the hinges to both the storage room and freezer in hope of sampling a few of my favorite cookies and pecan cups. They were so delicious. The problem was that I couldn’t stop with one and this activity became a daily obsession over the next few weeks. Needless to say, there was very little left in the freezer when she went out there a few weeks later. We laugh about it now but my mom is in her 80’s and still recalls it with great clarity . . . and emotion.

Any odd talents that we should know about up front?

Not really but I can make the sound of dripping faucet.

That’s excellent and we need to hear it. What’s your favorite animal, and why?

Our dog, Addie. Addie is a Pointer / Brittany mix. She loves to run when she is outside and loves attention when she is inside. She is always happy and especially excited to to see me when returning from being away and she gets along well with our cat, Cassie.

Without going to the internet, do you know what a Lobo is? An Isotope? Carne Adovada?

I believe a Lobo is a dog of some sort. I remember UTEP playing New Mexico and the mascot was a Lobo. I am lost on the Isotope but I think it has something to do w/chemistry. Carne Adovada is Mexican dish of some kind.

And, for one last question, red or green? Green – can’t wait to roast our own!

Sep 26

Interview with Scott Meinema, Part 1

2016 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Announcement

Just a little over one month ago now, we introduced you to Scott Meinema on a Sunday morning. Scott was in town with his wife, Janelle, as Scott was interviewing for a role at DSC over Biblical Counseling and Community Groups. We were pleased, shortly after, to announce that we offered the role to Scott and he accepted. He and Janelle are making arrangements to move to Albuquerque before the year is out, and we’re thrilled.

Scott is quite busy with transition details, but he was kind to take some time out to answer a few questions for us. Here’s Part 1 of a two part interview. In Part 1 we’ll learn a bit about Scott’s background and family. In Part 2 we’ll learn about some of the more profound influences in Scott’s life.

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Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, Scott. How are you and Janelle doing?

We’re doing well. Our home is on the market and we are praying that is sells quickly. As you can imagine, there are a lot of things to do and areas that we are working to transition to others. We both wish this would all move along quicker but recognize God’s good timing in all of it. We are also trying to spend as much time with our children as we can before moving. That is probably the most difficult piece of the transition.

You’re not from Albuquerque, but you do have some roots in the Southwest. Tell us about those.

Janelle grew up in Bolder, CO and I in Tucson, AZ—which is also where we met and married. After six years we moved to EL Paso, TX, and lived there for five years before moving to the Midwest. Janelle’s parents still live in Tucson so were thankful that we will be closer to them once we move. We think of Albuquerque as a combination of Bolder, Tucson, and El Paso, as parts of it remind us of all three.

How did you first find out about DSC and what were your initial thoughts about the ministry job we posted?

We heard about the opportunity through the Ministry Connections portal at Southern Seminary. As you know, there are a lot of positions posted there and we scan it from time to time to keep current. I was drawn to the posting for a number of reasons. First, because DSC was looking for a Counseling and Community Group Pastor—these intuitively seemed to go together. Second because it appeared that DSC had thought through the type of person they wanted and what was of primary importance to them. Once I began to dig deeper by looking at the website, reading the statement of faith, and listening to sermons, I was drawn to the common ground and like-mindedness we appeared to share.

Now for a bit about your background. Much of your life has been spent vocationally as a leader in the business world. What are some lessons that have carry-over into ministry?

There are many lessons. One lesson at the top of the list would be that relationships are key to success in both. We were created for relationships—vertically and horizontally. Where we are in our vertical relationship with our Creator will have a direct and certain impact on our horizontal relationships.

In business, those organizations that are intentional and purposeful about serving and caring for the needs of their associates, customers, and shareholders are, not surprisingly, many of the same companies that are growing, have long term financial stability and where most individuals want to work. At the individual level, individuals who think and act in the best interest of their respective organization will often have a greater over-all impact and be of more value than someone who is mostly living for their own glory and praise.

In ministry, relationships are a primary tool for our sanctification and joy – I would suggest that these are directly tied to success in the Christian life. In other words, we cannot become like Christ outside the context of relationships. When people live for their own self-love, glory and praise in a family, community or church, conflict arises and things tend to break down and not go so well.

On the other hand, when we live for the glory and praise of our Creator things tend to go better and we experience more of the joy we were created to enjoy. In other words, as we find satisfaction in our relationship with Christ, it brings lasting joy and frees us from the enslavement of self-love and liberates us to love and serve others.

Another example would be the importance of strategic planning. In business, we develop strategies, road maps, SWOT analysis, and action plans that will help us accomplish our particular mission and provide particular value to our particular stakeholders (customer, associates, and shareholders).

It is similar in ministry and the building of the kingdom. We have the mission given to us by our King. We are entrusted with great resources and have the opportunity to accomplish the mission through particular strategies, tactics, and processes to provide eternal value to those we minister to. We prayerfully consider what our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are in accomplishing the mission. We consider various initiatives to help us to grow and change and move the gospel ball forward and have action plans to help us and hold ourselves accountable.

Aside from having a certification in counseling, you’re in the middle of an M.A. in biblical counseling from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. What class have you enjoyed most, and why?

Probably our class on Marriage & Family, for a number of reasons. We enjoyed getting to know Dr. Jeremy Pierre, our professor. The class forced us to think through and articulate our position on divorce and gender which was helpful and timely.

You’ve been a counselor at a nationally-known counseling center at Faith Church in Lafayette, Indiana, for several years. What are some of the most important things you want to teach community group leaders here at DSC, in terms of counseling?

A few things come to mind. First, we are all counselors because counseling takes place in conversations when one person with problems, questions, or issues seeks help from someone they believe has answers that can help them. Sometimes that is in a formal setting, like the counseling room, but mostly that takes place informally on the phone, in the kitchen, during the drive to school, over a cup of coffee, in an email, and over time. We are either good counselors or not-so-good counselors – but were all counselors.

Second, we are all counselees because we are constantly talking to ourselves as we experience the circumstances and relationships of life. We are all counselees because we live in conflict. Our relationships are often marked by conflict because we are marked by sin. We are counselees because we are constantly fighting to trust God in our particular relationships or circumstances. We are counselees because we experience suffering. We are all counselees because we need Jesus just like those we serve.

Third, we have access to the answers. God’s Word is our authority. It is our authority for truth—truth for how we should think, feel, and act in regards to the relationships and circumstances of life. Additionally, it is sufficient. It is sufficient in helping us understand the problems, difficulty, and suffering of others and it is sufficient to help us in assisting them to move towards change and growth.

Now, let’s learn about Janelle. We had a chance to meet Janelle during your visit with us in August. Tell us a funny story from the early stages of your relationship.

When we were dating she had this cat named “Puddins” that would randomly jump up on her outside screen door. One night we were sitting in the living room watching TV and Puddins attacked the screen door in a way that sounded like someone was trying to break in. Instead of demonstrating to her my courage and fearlessness, I yelled like a girl and provided Janelle with some doubt as to my ability to protect her and defend her from imminent threats.

How does she complement and strengthen you as a husband?

In many ways, but I’ll mention two. She loves and knows the Scriptures, is a great sounding board for what I am thinking, and is often helpful in details that I miss. In other words, she has an eye for details that I don’t have. Those details could relate to finances, relationships, or studying for an exam. Additionally, she is a great support. She looks for creative ways to help me be more productive, fruitful, and effective.

How do you like to spend your down time? Any hobbies?

We enjoy traveling together both with and without our children. We like riding our motorcycle and seeing new places together. The view from a bike is arguably better than the view from inside the car – in other words, the journey is as good, if not better than the destination. I also like to BBQ and smoke meat.

Finally, what do you look forward to the most as you look ahead to ministry at DSC?

Another tough question but I suppose the answer is best summed up in the word “relationships.” I am looking forward to meeting everyone, developing relationships, and serving the relationships that God brings our direction.