Archive for the Announcement Category
This is the second in a two-part interview with Tom Adams, DSC’s new Minister to Youth and Families. In Part 1 we learned a bit about Tom’s background, how he met Gina, and his love for students. Here in Part 2 we’ll learn a bit about the larger influences on Tom’s life, and some other random things as well.
You recently completed a Master’s of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity Seminary. What role did seminary play in your preparation for your new role at DSC?
Seminary played a vital role as it gave me the tools to do deeper Bible study and helped me to learn to be more gracious when I disagree with someone’s theological viewpoint. I thus strive to present the opposing view in its strongest form before I state the biblical reasons I do not hold to it myself.
What’s your favorite book of the Bible and why?
I don’t have a favorite book, though I come back again and again to Genesis and Revelation, as they are the book-ends of redemptive history, and I find OT and NT narrative to be greatly moving and edifying.
What book has had the most impact on your life, besides the Bible?
The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. It gave me an abiding joy and reverent fear for God’s Holiness. Furthermore, I praise God that He is the perfect, just judge and look forward to when He will fully, rightly judge all evil, wickedness and injustice, until death itself is destroyed and sin is no more for all those in Christ.
Tell us about the most influential sermon you’ve heard?
The most influential sermon I have heard was from R.C. Sproul when Gina and I visited the church where he serves in Florida on our honeymoon. He was preaching on the birth of John the Baptist and the evening prior his daughter-in-law had gone to be with the Lord after battling cancer. It was both moving, and honest, yet he preached the word faithfully and with a Joy and peace that only comes from God. The Lord was magnified and praised in the midst of the family’s grief and I saw how even then his commitment to expository preaching stood firm, yet the situation was not ignored but God was honoured through it.
How do you like to spend your down time? Any hobbies?
I greatly enjoy watching/playing football (England and Aston Villa in particular) as well as Cricket. I also like very much to watch classic 80’s movies from our youth with Gina. I love listening to and playing music, including alternative rock amongst other genres. I play rhythm electric guitar left-handed and enjoy learning music and singing/listening to great hymns as well as modern theologically correct and rich sung worship (such as Dustin Kensrue’s wonderful record ‘The Water & the Blood’).
Okay, now a few left fielders. What is the dumbest thing you did as a kid?
As a 14 year old on a Christian missionary camp in England I tried to retrieve the hat of a girl off another young man (who had playfully stole it from her) and so sprinted after him. Unfortunately, the entire camp (100+ youth) was walking down to the beach this particular evening and the dew had settled on the grass beside the country road we were walking down. Beside the road the grass went down a steep hillside for about 50 feet, so at full sprint I run around a group of girls who wouldn’t move out of the way though I called them to. As I did so my feet went onto the grass and suddenly I saw both my feet up in the air to my left and I proceeded to fall/roll down the steep hill gathering speed as I went until I arrived disheveled at the base covered in grass and dirt. At which point I looked up and the whole camp had stopped to enjoy a laugh at my expense. So yeah that was pretty dumb.
Any odd talents that we should know about up front?
I have a degree of hyper flexibility in my joints and hyper elasticity in my skin – don’t think that is a talent as such (other than at a freak-show I suppose), but there it is.
What’s your favorite animal, and why?
British Stag Beetle, because since a child I have been fascinated by insects and how God has made them to do such specific jobs in nature. This one is very rare (only lives as an adult in late summer), is endangered and I’ve never actually seen one in person.
Without going to the internet, do you know what a Lobo is? An Isotope? Carne Adovada?
Lobo – no idea.
Isotope – Whilst I am not a Chemist I think it is a different type of a Chemical element. Yet also here it is the name of your AAA Baseball team who are so named because of a Simpson’s episode, I believe.
Carne Adovada – I think this is a type of spicy (peppers?/Chilli?) beef.
And, for one last question, red or green?
The church is created and sustained by the Word of God.
There are a variety of ways in which we seek to grow in the Word together as a church. Sunday’s sermon is one way, and Community Groups are another. For the last few years, we’ve also offered a class on Sundays called, Equip. Beginning (or ending!) in August, this class will no longer be offered.
Equip, if you’re newer to the church, is a class we have offered on Sundays during the second service that met each week and rotated through books of the Bible and topics. There’s been some really great fruit from these classes, thanks to hard working and capable teachers. We’ve studied Joshua, Spiritual Disciplines, The Sermon on the Mount, Decision Making and God’s Will, and a variety of other subjects and Bible books. Click here to review notes from previous classes. Right now we’re working through 1 Timothy which concludes at the end of this month and will be our last class.
Equip has been good for our church, but for a variety of reasons we believe now is a good time to discontinue this ministry with plans to try something else later. This fall, we’re going to continue our other normally offered classes: the Parenting class and Baptism class, for example. Then, in the fall of 2017 we’ll try a different way of structuring both class and seminar learning, both on Sundays and outside of Sundays. Over the next year we’ll be preparing for that, so listen out for more specifics in the coming months.
In case this isn’t so obvious, it’s a healthy thing to discontinue a program. We are not wed to our methods. We’re wed to our Lord and to his Word. These are sacred. Our plans are not. Many thanks to all those who helped shepherd this ministry as it started and over the last few years.
Earlier this month, we were pleased to announce that Tom Adams accepted our offer to serve as DSC’s new Minister to Youth and Families.
Tom and Gina were able to move here with time to join Nathan with the students at camp this week. We’re so grateful for the Lord’s answer to our prayers for this kind of timing. Nathan and the rest of those planting Christ Church begin meeting in their core team phase in August.
In the midst of a very busy week in transition from Chicago to Albuquerque, Tom was kind to answer a number of questions for what will be a two-part blog interview.
Part 1, below, explores Tom’s family, marriage to Gina, ministry background, and hopes for his time at DSC. Part 2 will explore some of the influences that have shaped his life. Part 2 will also reveal whether Tom knows what a Lobo is or not.
Before the interview, though, here’s a shot of Tom and Gina they took on the plane as they headed our way only last week.
You’re not from Albuquerque, or even originally from the United States. Where are you from and why did you come to the states?
I come from near Birmingham city in England and I came to the US to attend seminary and learn the biblical languages so I could more faithfully preach God’s word.
Your father and brother are still in England. How are they doing?
My family are doing fine, thanks. My Dad and identical twin brother (whose name is Tim) are back at home in England and though my dad has some health problems and may need a heart operation in the near future, he is still sharing the gospel and ministering the word to many, many people and teaches English to immigrants two days a week. Tim is working for Youth For Christ and is a journalist/writer.
You met your wife, Gina, on a boat. Why were you two on a boat?
We both served as missionaries on the gospel ship called “Logos Hope” with 400 other crew from 50 different nationalities. The ship went round the world, stopping in ports (roughly every 2 weeks we’d move on) and doing gospel ministry with local churches. Gina served as one of the cooks onboard before then becoming a trainer who equipped us crew to share our salvation testimony, do gospel-centered children’s programs, etc. Whereas I joined the ship as a teacher of the four teenage missionary kids onboard, I taught them Science, English, History, Physical Ed, Design and Tech.
We had a chance to meet Gina during your visit with us in May. She’s a marvelous lady. Tell us a funny story from the early stages of your relationship.
When Gina and I were allowed (on the ship one had to wait for 12 months before getting to know someone of the opposite gender better and to be able to spend time talking about marriage) we would sometimes watch a movie/tv show on a portable DVD player in my classroom on the top deck. After a few months of getting to know one another, in the middle of watching a film, with her eyes fixed on the screen, she wiped her mouth and then wiped her hand on my arm. I could scarcely believe this had just happened, and when I said, “What was that?” and explained what she’d just done, she had no recollection of it and proceeded to laugh hysterically for about 20 minutes.
How does she complement and strengthen you as a husband?
Gina complements me well by the fact that she helps me to be less blunt, and be more gracious as I interact with people. She helps me by being a fantastic organizer who finds joy in organizing. She also encourages me to be creative and play music, and to rest when I need to but don’t want to. Added to all this she encourages me to trust the Lord and not fret, she affirms my gifts and encourages me to use them whilst giving me the constructive criticism that I need. Most importantly she strengthens me by her faith in the Lord and how she willingly sits under my teaching in our family and submits to my leading of us, even as we walk together through the issues of life. She is simply a joyful person, who is this way because of what Jesus has done and thus is a joy to be married to.
You’ve worked with students in a variety of contexts over the years. Tell us about about how.
I have worked for a number of years with young people as a leader on a missionary camp in the UK and have at the same time always been involved as a lay leader in youth groups in various congregations where I led bible study, street evangelism and even once led sung worship with a band made up entirely of young people from our youth group. Professionally, I then became a high school Science teacher in the public school system in the UK where I taught young people aged from 11-18 years old. I am a biologist (my degree is in designing materials to be used in implants like hip replacements so the implant would be accepted by the human body) but I also taught Chemistry and Physics. I have taught young people the bible, led evangelism seminars, and with Gina led a talk on biblical marriage in different churches whilst at seminary. Lastly, I once taught for a weekend at a youth conference for a number of Chinese Churches on the Wrath of God.
How did you first find out about DSC?
Whilst we were seeking God’s will for a job since graduating, Gina kept a spreadsheet and searched The Gospel Coalition job list and came across DSC. After reading the job description and looking at the church’s website she was so excited she phoned me straight away from her work, and told me I should apply immediately. So I did just that.
You are coming to DSC as a Minister to Youth and Families. During your interview weekend, there was a real sense of unity among the elders and you on the importance of the church’s ministry to youth and to families. How did you arrive at this approach to youth ministry?
I came to this approach due to my understanding that scripture teaches that leaders in the church are to equip the saints for gospel ministry (Ephesians 4), and also specifically due to the influence and example of my parents who led a youth group at our church, did many VBS weeks (we call them “holiday clubs”) and both worked with young people from many different ethnic and religious backgrounds in many different contexts. They loved them, saw them as young people in need of a Saviour and cared for them as they shared the gospel and also then equipped them to minister to others once they had been born-again. My mom (who went to be with the Lord January this year) and dad saw God use their gospel witness to bring parents of our schoolmates to repentance and faith in Jesus, as well as many young people who came to faith in Christ. Indeed these people are still walking closely with the Lord today. They both saw their youth work as reaching young people with the gospel as well as their parents, and spent their spare time equipping and encouraging young people and their parents to be in God’s word continually and to live for God’s glory due to God’s overwhelming Grace to us in Christ Jesus.
What are you most looking forward to about serving DSC’s youth?
I am most looking forward to looking at and going through books of the Bible verse by verse together and thus delighting in the whole counsel of God.
Check back later for Part 2 of our interview with Tom.
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 is going to be a full week. That is, a week full of Christ and his people. In addition to Wednesday’s Lord’s Supper service, here’s what we have in store:
- Friday, March 25: Good Friday service at 6:30 PM with childcare for children four years old and under
- Sunday, March 27: 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.
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.
In the context of any home there’s a need for redirection from time to time. If a couple needs to get more sleep, they might discuss needing more sleep and then start to go to bed earlier. With a church of 600-700 adults in and out of the building on a Sunday for planned worship services, redirection is not so easy, but it is needed for this family just the same.
So, at the start of our Lord’s Supper service on Wednesday night we shared an announcement, a clarification, and an exhortation related to our Sunday corporate gatherings.
An announcement regarding seating on Sundays
We’ve got a really good problem: DSC is growing.
Our membership classes have been larger by a third for over a year and both services are quite full on Sunday morning. You may have noticed that increasingly we have less seats available on Sunday morning once we’re 10-15 minutes into the service.
This kind of growth in numbers requires a corresponding growth in hospitality.
Given how the room is designed it’s hard to see and sometimes navigate to the seats that are open. In our space, the room can look jammed full even with 250 seats available. This means it’s increasingly difficult for some to find their way to a seat.
In the smaller setting of our home, any of us would naturally get up to make room if someone came in and needed a seat. But with a gathering our size this doesn’t come so naturally. We need to organize for our hospitality a bit.
So, starting in October you’ll begin to see what we’re calling Section Hosts around the room; six of them. These people will be wearing a badge, coming early to mingle and make connections, and helping those looking for a seat to find a seat.
Your Section Host will need your help. You can help this need by doing two things: First, sit in harder to get to seats: the middle of a row instead of the edge, for example. Or sit down in the floor section. Those are the least visible and accessible seats once the service starts. By sitting down there you are freeing up a seat for someone who would come after you. Second, come early or on time to the service. More on that in a moment.
A clarification regarding children on Sundays
You’ll remember that about a year ago we encouraged the participation of children in the worship service.
If children can understand what’s going on in the Sunday worship service they should probably be in here with us. Of course, it’s for you to figure out how to do that, to train your children, and help them. But we wanted to set this as a new and good ideal for most families. And we gave some tips for how to ease your little ones into being with us. Click here for a follow-up blog post, “Families Together with the Family of God on Sunday” and here for Ryan’s sermon “God’s People in God’s Presence.” Also, since that time we’ve made available in print form John Piper’s article, “The Family: Together in God’s Presence.” It’s the little orange pamphlet available around the building. Including children in the worship service is not easy, but it’s important. We all need to be patient with young families.
Our church has grown in this area and we’re thrilled.
By way of clarification, we want to address the question of small babies. There are few things more beautiful to God than parents and their babies. So, we offer this clarification with full admiration for the vocation of motherhood, fatherhood, and recognition of the difficulty of those youngest years with a child. This church family loves babies and esteems parents.
Here’s the clarification: As we’ve said, if a child can understand what is going on in the service they should probably join us in here. But if a child is at an age where they cry when he or she is hungry, they probably can’t understand what’s going on and they should probably be in the nursery or cry room or foyer.
Now, if you and your baby can pull it off, and you are going to attempt to sit in the service (this is not illegal at DSC!), we would still ask that parents with infants aim for a seat near a door so they can exit briskly if the child does activate their noise box.
The reasons for this are simple and they have to do with hearing God’s Word:
- The baby can’t understand God’s Word
- The baby can, however, make it hard for others to hear God’s Word (including you)
- The baby can even make it hard for the service leaders to hear themselves think as they lead us God’s worship through his Word
Here’s the gist: If you think there’s a good chance your baby will cry, we would ask that you consider putting them in the nursery or using the cry room. If they do start crying, even if you think they might stop, head for an exit and take care of that lovely child.
An exhortation to seek God early
There’s a really easy way for us to have happier marriages on Sunday, a better witness, better hospitality, more and better conversations with our brothers and sisters, a better spiritual example for our kids and Sunday memories during their childhood, how we can cheer our Lord’s heart, and how we can honor everyone in the room better when we’re together. Who could resist all of this?
Here’s the exhortation: be on time.
How easy is that?
Not so easy, if we know ourselves and especially our church. We have done quite well at including our little ones in the service, better than we expected in some ways. We addressed the issue of lateness in 2011 but we have not, in the long term, improved as a congregation at being on time. We seem particularly and historically bad at this actually. Ouch! We all know we need to improve here, so hopefully this exhortation actually feels like something of a relief.
If you aren’t aware of how bad the problem is, it might be because you are entering the worship center 5-20 minutes late on a regular basis. There are Sundays in which at the start of either service there are only 50 people in a room that on many Sundays will fill to 300 by the time the sermon starts. Some Sundays are better than others, but this pattern is not owing to many legitimate reasons for being late, but a culture of lateness rooted in a basic lack of preparedness for what we do together each Lord’s Day.
There are some things in life we are regularly on time or early to and there are other things we are regularly late for. It usually had to do with incentives. What we get for being on time or what it cost us for being late.
So, since we are people with motivations, let us offer some compelling incentives to be on time:
- Unity. This is one way to pursue unity in our church. It says, “we want to be together.” It also helps mitigate against unity-harming pride in our body. For those that are on time it can be tempting to condescend toward the body for this cultural problem.
- Witness. It commends the gospel and the God we sing and hear about in our services since it says we really do want to be here, and we really do want to sing and hear these things. We can imagine that there are family members and friends that haven’t been invited to church because of the embarrassment it would bring to have to explain why the room was so empty when the service began.
- Honor. It honors our service leaders who prepare for and lead these services.
- Word. Movement in the room can distract others from what we’re singing, praying, and hearing together.
- Joy. Some are late and it’s no hit to their happiness that morning. For others it’s a point of constant tension or guilt.
- Modeling. The kids in our congregation will remember the empty room. Your kids will remember coming late. Expect they’ll do the same.
- Worship. You are not connecting with God during the first song if you aren’t there for it. The services are designed with a certain logic, including invocation and a call to worship, and alter the confession of sin in song, Scripture, or prayer. We’ll fight not to miss the beginning of a movie and for good reason. The services are structured similarly to move from beginning to end, and every part is needed for sinners like us who need God. If you’ve never discerned the logic then you might be like the person who only knows movies starting 10 minutes in.
Now, a word to married men. Here’s the word: lead.
Leading doesn’t mean merely saying “we’re going to be on time!” Leading is saying “What time do we need to get up to be on time? What do we need to do the night before? What do we need to not stay up late doing the night before?” (like watching a movie). And, gentleman, if you are the one making the family late, you know what to do. And if you have small kids, remember that they are your kids too. If your wife cares for the children in the mornings during the week if you work outside the home it may be tempting to expect her to manage them on Sunday morning as well. But unless you’re leaving early to serve at church apart from your family on Sunday, getting the kids ready is part of getting your family ready. Sundays should be an easier morning for your wife for having you home.
Finally, there’s the danger in this exhortation that some will turn around and go home when they are late. Please know that you are not looked on by the church’s leadership in judgment, even on the Sunday after this exhortation. There are always reasons some are late. We will assume the best of any individual while recognizing that there is a need for growth here as a church.
To hear Ryan’s original exhortation to pursue God’s presence, in part, by being on time to church, listen to his sermon on Psalm 16, “In Hot Pursuit of His Presence.” The exhortation comes at the end and includes reasons to come early, practical suggestions for how to prepare for Sunday, and a vision for what Sundays could look like if we were on time. In that sermon, he closed with these wise, pastoral, loving, and convicting words from Charles Spurgeon:
“There should be some preparation of the heart in coming to the worship of God. Consider who he is and in whose name we gather, and surely we cannot rush together without thought. Consider whom we profess to worship, and we shall not hurry into his presence as men run to a fire. Moses, the man of God, was warned to put off your shoes from his feet when God only revealed himself in a bush. How should we prepare ourselves when we come to him who reveals himself in Christ Jesus, his dear son? There should be no stumbling to the place of worship half-asleep, no roaming here as if it were no more than going to playhouse. We cannot expect to profit much if we bring with us a swarm of idle thoughts and a heart crammed with vanity.”
Lord’s Suppers are great for getting our family on the same page. If you missed hearing this in person at our gathering last Wednesday night, thank you for reading this entire post.
May Sundays speak to the work of God in our lives and in our church through hospitality, attention to the Word, and an apparent eagerness to be together in God’s presence.
Looking forward to growing with you –
Trent, for the elders
Here’s the scoop:
Calling all DSC artists!
We are almost done with This Is Our Song! Now we are ready to start the artwork for the record and we want you to help.
Here’s how it will work:
- We are looking for all types of visual art (paintings, drawings, sketch art, photography, etc.)
- You submit your art to email@example.com
- We pick what we think best captures the theme and vision.
- That’s it!
So, if your are interested or you know a DSC’er who may be qualified, here is the vision:
This Is Our Song. These are our songs and our stories. These songs come from the life and moments of our church. They cover a range of biblical truths – who God is, what He has done, who we are, our need and response. Christ and His work.
If you could lock into one word – story. His story through us. Every song has a story. Every song tells a story.
Now, capture that with pictures, images, and few words.
Please have your submissions in by August 14th
Let the artistic juices flow, and lets make this record beautiful together!
If you haven’t subscribed to the DSC Music Blog, consider doing so here. On most Mondays Drew Hodge posts a Sunday Recap with songs and texts from that Sunday’s service, including links to songs and lyrics. Here’s an example from July 12.
And, of course, if you were with us on Sunday morning, you witnessed the takedown of a volunteer in this year’s VBS volunteer recruiting video. If you missed it, watch it. If you saw it, watch it again. Then, click here to volunteer. If you have a child, click here to register them for VBS.
[RSS and email readers, click here to view this video]
Many of us will have children in VBS, and many of us will serve them as volunteers. Let’s all pray for the conversion of children and the growth of Christ’s church through this week of concentrated engagement with the gospel and God’s people.
- We serve dinner to all of our volunteers and their families each night of VBS. You can help by signing up for one or more items on the meals donation list.
- The set design team is in need of lumber and paint. If you have either of those items lying around the house, we’ll put them to good use.
- We are in need of adult VBS volunteers to serve in the following areas: Meals (prepping and serving dinner each night to our volunteers), Crafts, Nursery (caring for our youngest VBS trekkers, the children 3 and under of our volunteers), and Clean Up (serving in a vital, behind the scenes role).