Archive for the Administrative Category

Jan 19

Cause for Praise, Available on iTunes

2011 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Administrative

Update: Cause for Praise is now also available on Amazon.


In the month of December, Desert Springs Church (DSC) released Cause for Praise, an album of songs for corporate worship recorded live at DSC in September. Almost all of these songs were written by our own DSC musicians.

Cause for Praise is now available in iTunes.

The lyrics from the first song, “In Christ,” represent the simplicity, focus, and gospel clarity that is the goal:

With all I have and all I am
I cannot add to the work of His hand
Because of Christ I stand here clean
And I will sing because I am redeemed

In Christ, I am made alive
Because He came and was crucified
In Christ, righteous I stand
Washed in the blood of the great I AM

There is therefore now no condemnation
For those who are in Christ Jesus

Of course, if you’d like a hard copy, you can purchase a CD for $10.00 at the Resource Center on Sunday mornings.

Dec 14

2010 Financial Update

2010 | by Ron Giese | Category: Administrative

finances banner

DSC congregation,

I want to give you an update on finances, but can we talk about life first?

“Store up for yourselves treasure in heaven … for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (Matthew 6:20-21)

This reminds me of a sermon by John Piper in 2000, in which he cited a Reader’s Digestarticle about a couple who retired in Florida. In the article the husband only talked about three things: his softball team for seniors, sailing along the coast in his yacht, and seashell collecting. Piper’s comment was, “When this guy gets to heaven, what does he think he will present to God? Look God, my seashell collection?”

Piper contrasted this with a lady, Ruby Eliason. Ruby was almost eighty years old, single, a medical doctor serving the poor in Cameroon, Africa, sent out from Piper’s church. In Piper’s words, her goal was, “to make Jesus known among the unreached, the poor, and the sick.” The brakes on her SUV failed one day and Ruby went over a cliff to her immediate death. What struck Piper was that someone in his church referred to this as a tragedy.

Earlier that same year Piper had read the Reader’s Digest article about the couple in Florida. Piper’s conclusion: come to the end of our life–our one and only life–and it’s all about seashells and a couple other hobbies? Now that’s a tragedy! Ruby’s life … and even death? That is not a tragedy. That is God being glorified.

Someone once said that our giving, whether it be talent, time, or treasure, should be (1) for God’s glory; (2) for others’ good; and (3) for our joy. In short, everybody wins. But this starts with number 1 on the list–God’s glory.

If we put our joy first, we might be tempted to over-invest our time, efforts, and money into our own version of seashells!

With this in mind I’d like to take a minute or two to update you on finances at DSC, as well as remind you of our focus on church planting.

The Tale of The Bulletin

As you’ll notice from the bulletins, through the months of October and November (we started our new fiscal year October 1) we continue to be a little behind. What we do as staff when that happens is fairly simple: we cut back in non-essential areas. Simply put, our goal is to keep expenditures within the monthly giving.

As you know, our country continues to be in an economic downturn that started around 2008. Unemployment continues to be high, and we see the effects of this in our church when people are either unemployed (who were employed a year or two ago), or are in business for themselves and have seen their business drop over 50% in the past two years.

Our response to a congregation that is not able to give quite as much has been to cut over $200,000 of the budget in the past two years. And most of you know that, as a last resort, we laid off two full-time employees in March 2010.

Hunker Down? Just Say No

Presently, with our budget cuts in place, we’re not discussing further cutbacks. And actually the opposite is, as you know, true: the Lord is leading us to plant churches.

How can you help us move toward being active, even pro-active, in this area of spreading the gospel, and not withdraw into a hunker-down, let’s just pay our bills mentality?

Here is a question to consider: Have you taken a recent look at your giving to DSC?

One dynamic here from an administrator’s point of view: It helps a lot to have regular giving, and regular giving spread out evenly over the year. For instance, if it were a choice of one $12.00 check in December, or twelve $1.00 checks each month, I’d take the latter every time. A second dynamic: Please consider setting up your giving using our online service. This saves you the time of writing checks. Also, if you’re like me and can be forgetful at times, it prevents this from happening: “Oh I forgot to make the check out last month, I guess I better do twice the amount this month” (or sometimes you don’t even notice that you forgot last month).

If you would like to change your giving to online giving, click here or fill out a form at the Information Center to have your giving automatically deducted from a bank account.

1 of the 150: Sounds Like a Line from an Ancient Battle!

Here is one more question to consider: Have you considered signing up for the 1 of 150?

That is, those who have signed up have committed to giving an extra dollar a day in 2011 solely for the purpose of church planting. Please keep in mind that if you participate in this, this cannot be just re-allocating your giving. If the past couple years you’ve given $12.00 a year to DSC, it doesn’t help to have you simply say, “OK now we’ll give $10.00 to DSC in general, and $2.00 for church planting.”

Why $1.00 per day? That is just a starting point that we can all understand easily and grab hold of.  It’s helpful when trying to tackle a big project to break it up into bite-sized portions so that we can all make sacrifices together and produce, by God’s provision and grace, a huge impact in the world for His glory. Also, keep in mind that this commitment includes prayerfully considering an increase to $2.00 per day in 2012, $3.00 per day in 2013, and so on.

Why $2,500,000 over 10 years? This budget includes establishing four or more families over the next 10 years as global staff at DSC, and sending them to plant churches, Lord willing, in North Africa, among the unreached Muslims there, and sustaining their ministry as long as it takes to establish healthy, indigenously led, sustainable, and reproducing churches. It also includes sending out Carlos and Lauren Griego to plant a church in Rio Rancho in 2012 as well as raising up other church planters to go out after them in years to come.

If just twenty people responded to this email and contacted Clint at clint[at]desertspringschurch[dot]org, our missions director, and said, “Add my name to this list of 150,” that would be a big help in reaching this goal.

In Summary

I don’t know that there’s ever an opportune time to work on planning and rearranging finances.

So if not now, when? If not here (DSC regular giving, and church planting as extra giving), where? I know the answer for my wife and me, in response to the “when?” and “where?” is a clear “now” and “church.” In fact it’s been so, so exhilarating seeing the changes here at DSC. Musical worship is branching out in new areas, community groups are growing (in numbers and intentionality), and we’re more focused as a church on what the mission is and how we carry it out. And our strengths over the past seven or eight years–preaching and teaching, missions, and children’s ministries–have only deepened.

The thought of Matthew 6:21 is this, “Where your treasure is, your heart follows.” So where is our treasure? Let’s take time, today, and visualize this. Do our thoughts, work, and yes, money, get funneled towards seashells? Stuff that will one day end up in a landfill?

Or, like Ruby and the people that sent her, is our treasure in heaven? In relationships. In that part of Christ that we have a literal and tangible interaction with, His body, the church. In the gospel. In all people groups coming to worship Jesus. In the opposite of a landfill:  eternity and our future home, heaven!

Grace and peace,


Ron Giese
Administrative Pastor

Nov 6

Getting Connected with the Body at DSC

2010 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Administrative

As the body of Christ, we mean to be with one another at various times and in various ways to do the kinds of things that “make the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16). But how and when to get connected is not necessarily intuitive. If a family of two has a central calendar and rhythms of communication, how much more important is clear and purposeful communication for the family of God.

What follows is a list of the various channels and contexts for connecting with the body at DSC. Some of these are less obvious than others. For example, the Calendar Card, Prayer Force email, E-Newsletter, and Facebook Page are useful but not as obvious as the Sunday Bulletin or the DSC Website.

Connecting on Sunday:

  • The Sunday Bulletin communicates the church’s vision, a welcome to visitors, the current week’s schedule, and critical information about upcoming ministry opportunities.
  • The Communication Card attached to the bulletin gives you an opportunity to communicate your need for prayer or an interest in getting involved.
  • The Calendar Card helps you plan your month and year around important DSC dates, including Lord’s Suppers, membership classes, conferences, retreats, camps, Saturday Seminars, and mission trips.
  • The Kiosks and Information Center located in the foyer are primary ways to learn about and express interest in the various ministries at DSC.
  • The DSC Directory is available for $5 at the Information Center and helps us connect with one another throughout the week and pray for one another by name.
  • The Newcomers Reception is hosted on the  last Sunday of each month in the West Wing as an opportunity for newcomers to connect with DSC’s leadership and learn more about the church.

Connecting on the Web:

  • The DSC Website is our online home for ministry information, announcements, sermon audio, online giving, recommended web links, and books.
  • The DSC Blog includes follow-up posts to Sunday sermons, ministry spotlights, videos from our annual Clarus conference, quotes, etc.
  • Sign up for the Prayer Force Email list by emailing to submit prayer requests and subscribe to the prayer email.
  • Sign up for the E-Newsletter through the bulletin Communication Card to receive a monthly summary of what’s happening at DSC.
  • DSC’s Facebook Page and Twitter Feed stream DSC announcements and links.
  • Of course, Email is always a good way to connect with staff and leaders and these are available on DSC’s website. Email the church office at

Connecting Face-to-Face:

  • Knowing Christ, Knowing the Church (KCKC) is DSC’s membership class offered three times annually. Sign up for KCKC at the Information Center on Sunday mornings or by emailing
  • Community Groups meet weekly in homes throughout the Albuquerque area and are DSC’s main vehicle for discipleship at DSC outside of our Sunday worship services.
  • Lord’s Supper gatherings take place at 6:30 PM on the last Wednesday of every month. At 5:30 PM the youth ministry hosts a church-wide meal in the youth room.
  • Leadership Seminars are offered twice a year for those interested in serving in leadership roles throughout DSC.
  • Women’s Bible Studies meet for thirteen week sessions in the Fall, Spring and Summer to Study and encourage one another in the Word.
  • Men’s Huddles meet on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings at 6 AM to study Scripture and pray.
  • Paradox Student Ministry is a ministry for students 6-12th grade and their parents every Wednesday night in the youth room, and Sunday mornings during the second service.

Jul 26

DSC and the ESV

2010 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Administrative

On Sunday, I announced that DSC will now be using the English Standard Version of the Bible in its corporate worship. For many of you, something along the lines of “well, it’s about time!” was what came to mind when you heard that. Others might have wondered why we’d switch from using the NASB after so many years. So let me expound on each of those possible responses.

Why is DSC Switching to the ESV?

1.  The ESV is a very good translation. It’s an “essentially literal Bible translation that combines word-for-word precision and accuracy with literary excellence, beauty, and readability.” It’s in a similar translation vein as the NASB, but is arguably more readable. (You can read more about their translation philosophy here.)

2.  The translation committee, and the 50 or so scholars who reviewed the translation committee’s work, are top-notch evangelical scholars with whom we regularly find ourselves in agreement. It’s also endorsed and used by many pastors and other ministry leaders that we, as a church, already respect.

3.  Crossway, the ESV’s publisher, has been smart and generous with their translation. The ESV is increasingly available in a variety of multimedia formats. For instance, I have a searchable ESV widget on my Mac. Unlike some other publishers (particularly the Lockman Foundation who publishes the NASB), Crossway seems quick and selfless to give the ESV freely for other ministries to use. They also have some great covers on their Bibles, if aesthetics is a factor for you.

4.  The ESV Study Bible is, in my estimation, the best study Bible available. We want our people to be using the ESVSB, so it makes sense for us to be preaching from the same translation. Similarly, the ESV Children’s Bible is the best children’s Bible I know of. We are often pointing parents and children to these Bibles.

5.  Perhaps for all of the above reasons, it already seems to be the translation in the hands of most of DSC-ers. If it has become the most widely used translation in a church that has been using something else, it probably is an indication that we are indeed behind the times!

So Why Did it Take Us So Long to Switch to the ESV?

Well, I’m afraid I have to take the majority of the blame for that, for two reasons:

1.  I have a general suspicion of bandwagons, not because bandwagons are never right, but because I can easily and thoughtlessly go along with them — especially when I already like who’s on the wagon! So when many good, godly, wise, smart people so quickly came out in favor of the ESV, I felt the need to wait, read, wait, study, and let simmer until I was myself convinced that the ESV is not only a good translation, but the best translation. So over the years I have casually used the ESV along side other translations and the originals, and occasionally spent intense times studying it in certain places. No translation is perfect (the French have a saying, “all translation is treason!”), of course, but I do think the ESV is the best overall English option.

2.  I have had one preaching Bible thus far — an NASB which I bought in 1999 in my first week of my first pastorate. It’s been an old friend through over a decade of weekly preaching and teaching. The thought of putting it down has seemed like taking your old dog out for a one way trip to the Mesa. Well, I don’t have to shoot and bury my NASB thankfully, but it is time that its disintegrating pages find some rest on a shelf. The old dog just can’t hunt like it used to. I suspected for years that my next preaching Bible would be an ESV, but I’d been putting it off and limping around with my old familiar NASB. The ESV will take some getting used to, for sure. Perhaps the biggest reason is that beloved passages are in different places on the page in my new ESV, so I’m a little clumsy with it.

But that, in fact, reminds me of something else I appreciate about the ESV. No matter the edition, page layouts are exactly the same. Get a new ESV and 2 Cor. 4 will be in the same place. I like that. That’ll help me when, 30+ years from now, I’m the old dog who’s limping along.

Mar 23

For The Joy of Music and the Glory of God – Program and Pictures

2010 | by Zach Nielsen | Category: Administrative,Music and Singing

Here was the program for the night.  We had a great time.  I’ll be posting some audio and video soon.

Zach Nielsen:
Fugue in C minor – Johann Sebastian Bach
Fugue in E minor – Johann Sebastian Bach

Leslie Peltier:
Traumerei — Robert Schumann
Song Without Words in D Major, Op. 109 (posthumous) — Felix Mendelssohn
The Swan — Camille Saint-Saens
accompanied by Dianne Maier

The Zach Nielsen Trio:
Waiting for Charlie – Alan Broadbent
Nardis – Miles Davis
The Face of Love – Esbjorn Svensson

Leslie Peltier:
Sonata in C Major, Op. 119 for Cello and Piano — Sergei Prokofiev
accompanied by Matthew Stewart

The Zach Nielsen Trio:
Black Nile – Wayne Shorter
Message in a Bottle – The Police