Archive for the Elders Q&A Category
Good questions and thoughtful answers are important for healthy relationships, and our relationship as shepherds and flock are no exception. Together we share all of the benefits of salvation as God’s new covenant people: forgiveness, adoption, the Spirit, and on and on. Some are shepherds. But we’re all bothers and sisters. We’re a family. 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 28, at 6:30 PM with dinner together at 5:30 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 on Sunday and drop that in an offering box.
- Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Communicate your question for the Q&A to an elder in person or through email. Click here for faces and emails.
- Show up with your question on the 30th. 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.
Get acquainted with DSC’s elders by reading their biographies on the Leadership Page. Also, audio from previous Elder Q&A evenings is available at our Messages Page under the topic “Elder Q&A.” For a few recaps from previous years, click here, here, here, and here.
At the very tail end of last year’s Elders Q&A we were asked about the morality of smoking pot should it become legal here in New Mexico.
As elders we might handle a question like this a number of ways. We handle it on the spot when we’re ready to be thoughtful enough on the question. We were all agreed as to our answer, but given that it was the last question of the night and given that it requires some careful handling, we said we’d follow-up with a post on the blog. We didn’t expect it would take us this long, but it’s been a full and fruitful year.
We’re glad now to give some attention to this important question.
First, I’ll mention some of the more helpful reads on the topic. For example, at The Gospel Coalition, Joe Carter answers the question, “Is Recreational Marijuana Use a Sin?” Then, at Desiring God, John Piper addresses the issue in his article, “Don’t Let Your Mind Go to Pot.” Ed Welch has a nice piece written from the concern of a biblical counselor. Then, there’s a very important piece at The Heritage Foundation, “Legalizing Marijuana: Why Citizens Should Just Say No.” That piece addresses a slightly different question than the one raised at the Q&A, but one we should consider, and the piece is built on a body of substantial research which shows what Marijuana does to the human body, to a human life, and to society, including especially the urban poor. Then, there are articles like, “Marijuana Is Harmful: Debunking 7 Myths Arguing It’s Fine,” based on a book by a similar title by Kevin Sabet, a former Senior Advisor in President Obama’s drug policy office. All of this is worthy reading for the person who wants a grasp on the matter from several angles.
In the course of all this research it seemed helpful to actually write something on the subject. So, over at Desiring God, you’ll find a piece titled, “Five Questions to Ask Before You Consume Cannabis.” Don’t think of this like a position paper from the elders, or an official statement like the “Statement on Gender, Marriage, and Sexuality” we released about a year ago. Do think of it as the Scriptural counsel we would provide to you in answer to the question, “Is it morally permissible for me to smoke pot?” Do think of it like the kind of reasoning and exhortation you might hear in a sermon where the topic is raised.
Here’s from the beginning and the end of the article.
Recent trends in the direction of the full-scale legalization of marijuana suggest that pot is undergoing a dramatic marketing makeover.
One cannabis branding firm put it this way: “There is a huge untapped market here. It’s about reaching nonconsumers: women, young people, business professionals, grandmothers and soccer moms.” Get ready: if it hasn’t already, your favorite show will probably feature marijuana in a way that makes it feel cool — whether in a joint, a pot-tart, a keefcat, or a pot-brownie.
This means that Christians will need to think more carefully about marijuana than most of us have until now. Not everyone will consume pot, but most everyone will be in a position to advise someone who is considering it.
So, brothers and sisters, don’t be intoxicated with popular culture’s messaging on this issue, and don’t seek the intoxicating artificial peace promised by chemicals like THC. But while life is hard and escapes are tempting, they are not the answer. Thankfully, Christ is our answer, and not only does he fill our hearts with himself but he forgives us for seeking life in the broken cisterns of chemically induced euphoric escapes.
Don’t get drunk with wine, and don’t intoxicate yourself with a plant. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, be sober minded, and stay alert for the coming of Christ — a euphoric experience in deed (Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 1:13).
Read the whole thing here.
On September 30 we hosted this year’s Elders Q&A. Families have weekly, seasonal, and annual rhythms to keep them close. From meals to reunions, families have more and less structured ways of staying a family well.
The Elders Q&A is one of our annual rhythms as a church to stay a healthy family. This helps us stay a healthy church in a number of ways: it allows us to get feedback from you; it promotes an atmosphere of honesty and vulnerability; and it opens the lines of communication in a way that is symbolic of how it always really is. We’re available to you.
Trent opened the evening with an explanation of why we do this each year. Then, the evening was divided into two parts. In Part 1, Trent moderated pre-submitted questions among the elders. For Part 2, Nathan fielded questions from the floor.
Here’s a list of questions we addressed with time stamps for the audio, which is available here.
- 8:23 How does someone become an elder at Desert Springs Church?
- 9:46 How can we, as a congregation, better practically encourage and love the Staff and Elders?
Update to the Doctrinal Statement on Gender, Marriage, and Sexuality
- 11:16 Explanation and reading of the update to the DSC Doctrinal Statement.
- 14:54 If someone is a member and they disagree with us, what should they do?
- 15:40 This sounds like we’re hiding from conflict and unwilling to suffer consequences for our convictions. Is this a sign of doctrinal sheepishness or courage?
- 17:12 Can what I believe as a Christian on these matters effect how I operate my business?
- 17:51 People have different kinds of jobs where they may have different kinds of relationships with same-sex ceremonies. Does it matter what kind of a job a person has and how can they discern how to faithfully be a Christian?
- 20:39 What resources would you point a family to who has children interacting with other kids and families who embrace a genderless vision of marriage?
- 23:10 What is the change in the wedding policy, and what might it mean for some people who find themselves outside of what that policy would provide for?
Ministry Related Questions
- 28:33 Why don’t we have a college ministry, and why don’t we have a single’s ministry?
- 31:10 Community Groups are dormant during the summer months, which is 25% of the year. That seems to signal that Community Groups, for as much as we talk about their importance, are programmatically not emphasized like some other ministries that run year-round. Why is this so?
- 32:40 Do all Elders do counseling? Each man has a somewhat narrow area of oversight and one is assigned to Biblical Counseling. Is counseling something that all elders are responsible for?
- 34:04 What happens to the finances when the year is over if there’s a surplus in the budget?
DSC’s Next Church Plant
- 38:16 Update on Redemption Church.
- 39:44 I’ve heard rumors that DSC will be planting another church. Is there any substance whatsoever to that rumor?
- 39:56 Why would a church like ours plant more than one church? Isn’t one enough?
- 41:03 Who’s going to lead us in planting this church?
- 42:31 Not every pastor sets out to plant a church. Why would you, Nathan Sherman, want to plant a church?
- 45:25 What is the timeline for this church plant?
- 45:42 Where will this church plant be established?
- 46:43 How will this church plant be funded?
- 48:04 With whom will this new church plant be affiliated?
- 51:28 Some people have different experiences with denominationalism, and different experiences with the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) in particular. What would be some misconceptions that you would address for us?
- 55:26 What are we going to do about Nathan leaving? What happens from here? What will the transition look like?
- 57:33 How can someone learn more about this church plant?
Questions from the Floor
- 59:39 What is the church’s policy now on usage of the facility? Is there a policy about members only, who can use the church for “other” events (other than weddings)?
- 1:02:49 Are there events that cannot be held at the church in the youth department specifically? Are we able to use the church for youth functions? Is there a policy that says that we don’t use the facility for youth functions?
- 1:05:00 Has there been any discussion about growing in our work with Native American communities?
- 1:08:05 Ryan, you recently completed your PhD. Why did you pick John Owen, and how has that helped you personally? How do you think that has helped the church? How does that help the larger church?
- 1:11:07 You said if we had issues with the statement before November 1st, to come and talk with you and we could leave the church without any discipline. Then we talked about employment and career decisions. To me, the implication was if you made that decision to “bake the cake, take the picture etc.” After November 1st, you could be subject to church discipline. I just want to make sure I understand what exactly the policy is on that?
- 1:16:19 If New Mexico legalizes marijuana, should a Christian be able to do that?
For audio from past Elders Q&A gatherings, click here.